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Watermarks in the early music prints of the Bavarian State Library up to 1550

With more than 300 early music prints up to the year 1550, the Bavarian State Library owns an extraordinarily valuable collection that is important for musicological research. These early publications also provide insights into the early days of music printing and an emerging music publishing industry. The main centres of production are Venice, Paris, Lyon, Nuremberg, Augsburg, Wittenberg and Antwerp.

Most of the music of this period was printed in part books, but the collection also includes choir books, tablatures, broadsheets, treatises and textbooks containing music.

As part of a project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) the papers in this collection are being systematically examined with regard to the watermarks they contain. The marks are digitized using thermographic technology and are provided free of charge via the Bavarian State Library's online services.

In addition to digitisation, the watermarks are recorded and integrated into the Watermark Information System (WZIS) and made available via the database of Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM).