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Anthologies of Musical Works from the 15th-17th Centuries in the Library of Congress Music Division

Published Anthologies of Music

A brief overview of the Music Division’s printed anthologies can be best realized by dividing the collection into two parts, by century.

The spotlight of the 16th-century music publishing industry shines first on Italy, with 43% of our holdings originating from their presses. This is followed by volumes from German-speaking countries (26%), Belgium (17%), and in the final decade of the century, England (8%). These percentages somewhat reflect the trends for all published anthologies during that period - with one puzzling exception: absent from our holdings are any imprints from the presses of the prolific French publisher Pierre Attaingnant (fl. 1525-1552), who issued 174 separate imprints over a twenty-five-year period.

Statistics for the Music Division’s 17th-century holdings present a reverse configuration, where materials produced by the English and French presses account for 81% of all anthologies and the remaining 19% are distributed among other countries.

The chart to the right plots the distribution of the extent and percentage of anthologies held in the Music Division organized by century and the publisher’s country of origin.