The scores and libretti in this Virtual Collection include first and early editions and manuscript copies of music from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries by J.S. Bach and Bach family members, Mozart, Schubert and other composers, as well as multiple versions of nineteenth century opera scores, seminal works of musical modernism, and music of the Second Viennese School. Many, such as variant editions of nineteenth century operas and related libretti, fall into intellectually related sets that are meant to be seen and used together. As a group, they give scholars a window into the study of historical performance practice that cannot be duplicated using the holdings of any one other library.
In the study of primary sources, detail matters: marginal notations or a copyist's handwriting can be just as important as the simple fact of the notes on a page of music. By providing digital versions of historical editions from its holdings, the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library seeks to make available primary source materials that scholars have found important for their research.
The Loeb Music Library's initial digitization projects were made possible by grants from the Harvard University Library's Library Digital Initiative and focused on scores and libretti selected for their rare and unique natures and their popularity as objects of research and teaching. The library's digitization program is ongoing; as additional items are digitized, they will be added to this Collection.