Handbook of musical literature or general systematically arranged Catalogue of printed music, also writings on music and illustrations up to the end of the year 1815 also listing publishers and prices.

Leipzig, commissioned by Anton Meysel 1817.

Foreword

The desire to contribute to the promotion and dissemination of music has led us to publish this catalogue, originally intended for private use. We of course hoped then, when we announced it in advance publicly and invited contributions for it from the publishing trade, to list in it all musical items published up to the end of the year 1815 which are still obtainable in the shops. Only because several businesses, despite repeated urgent requests, did not fully support our wish with notices and contributions did we feel compelled to give up our first plan, which was too difficult to realise. Therefore we are providing a 'Handbuch der musikalischen Litteratur' [Handbook of musical literature] for the friends of music here which contains the vast majority and the most noteworthy items from the present-day music trade (partly also up to this year) and primarily intended for use in Germany, but which may also be used by foreigners because of the chosen orthography and Latin alphabet.

The surnames, first names, titles, prices and publishers are given as clearly as the original material and the necessary abbreviations used here permitted. The chosen classification, (which is principally based on the number of instruments,) seemed to us the most appropriate for general use. The overlapping of individual classes could not be entirely avoided here (and indeed probably also couldn't with any other classification system used). With frequent use, one will easily learn to use the classes which are related to others, and, for example, when one searches for solos for one instrument, to search for items under duets for this instrument which have an optional accompaniment. An asterisk (*) at the beginning of the line in the first 64 classes and in 74 and 75 indicate dances, and a dagger (†) indicates variations. For various reasons we only wanted to indicate these genres under Solos for the Pianoforte in particular classes, but nevertheless to make them easily noticeable for enthusiasts. In the 72nd class, a dagger at the beginning of the line indicates those pieces which can also be played on the pianoforte; and which have therefore been omitted in the 65th class. In the 81st class, the asterisks at the beginning of lines indicate those opera excerpts which are incomplete, rather contain just individual arias (sometimes fewer, sometimes more) together with the overture. Finally, in the 83rd class, those songs which can also be accompanied by guitar are indicated with an asterisk before; and those which can be accompanied by harp instead of fortepiano have a dagger before, this being omitted later on to save space. Further, it should be noted, that in the instrumental music, all works which include a guitar part (whether it is the main part or an accompaniment), can only be found in the guitar music class.

The prices are mostly stated in the currency as given on the titles of the printed music. Prices set in guldens [guilders/florins] and kreuzers by a few Austrian publishers should be understood in Viennese currency, and should by no means be regarded as reliable and fixed, as they are frequently changed. The folio size, as the most commonly now used for sheet music, is not unusual, however mostly the other sizes, when they are known to us, are mainly given before the publication place in numbers – 4, 8, 12 or gr. 4, gr. 8 etc. [quarto, octavo, duodecimo or large quarto, large octavo, etc.] (or with books, before the publication date).

In order to avoid increasing the size and price of the publication unnecessarily, we have subjected ourselves to certain restrictions, and also made appropriate brevity a duty. Namely, in the 'Songs for the pianoforte and for the guitar', we have omitted all individual items, those which are too short or too unimportant, likewise those in foreign languages, which have been published abroad and are not of prime interest to Germans. Furthermore, the 86th class does not contain all the best and most important writings, rather just a selection of these, because our main aim was to produce a guide with information about printed music of our time such as does not exist at the present; and because Herr Dr. Forkel's 'Litteratur der Musik' covering the period up to 1792 is excellently suited for information about publications on the theory of music and is already well-known to most people who wish to study this branch thoroughly. – As regards the abbreviations used here, these are principally because 1) we have altered and shortened long and long-winded titles with care. 2) Words which occur extremely frequently (e.g. Alto, Basse, Pianoforte, Oeuvre, Opus, Violon, Orchestre, pour, avec, Begleitung, Thaler, fuer, das und mit) and names of cities and publishers 1 have been abbreviated in an easily understood way already in common use. 3) In some of the classes which contain pieces scored for several parts, the accompanying instruments, if they are the most commonly found in such genres, have not been listed in every entry; users should therefore take into consideration, for example, in the duets for pianoforte the entries without listing the accompaniment for pianoforte and violin, and in the quartets, the entries without listing the accompaniment for violin, viola and violoncello. 4) Entries which have identical titles and are different editions of the same work are often typeset in one or more lines running on, particularly when the opus number varies from one edition to another, whereby we cannot, however, verify whether such editions with identically worded titles are really always the same, and not, perhaps, different from each other. For the benefit of those who are submitting information about artistic items or wish to have entries listed advertising forthcoming publications, most of the opinions contained in the most notable, well-known 'Leipziger musikalische Zeitung' [Leipzig Musical Journal] are included here in notes under the text, with the addition of the year and page number, which readers can refer to, and the asterisks or daggers in the middle or at the end of lines (not those at the beginning of lines) indicate these remarks.

Although we were happy to indicate precisely in every case the original edition under the various editions of the same work in accordance with the wishes of several most respected gentlemen, we very much regret that because of several difficulties, this is now no longer possible. We have, however, mostly placed first those editions which seemed to us to be the most legitimate or earliest, but without guarantee. At the same time, we should like to point out that in the case of several editions of a work, the additional information contained in brackets (e.g. alteration to the opus number or the entire title) relate to the edition by the following publisher and remain in force until a new bracket occurs.

We will publish supplements annually which will contain older entries previously passed over which belong here, and furthermore and indeed principally, newly-published works, and finally notifications of mistakes discovered, and thus the Handbuch will become more complete, more useful and more correct.

While we wish to express our sincere gratitude to all those who have supported us by providing reports and contributions, we humbly also ask all those who are able to play a role in the perfecting of this work to send us reports, contributions, instructions and corrections in future!

Finally, we ask the reader to forgive any omissions when using this incomplete handbook (which – by the way – was compiled in the few leisure hours left after a busy working life). Please make allowances for this work, which is the first of its kind.

Leipzig, March 1817.

The Editor.

Footnotes

1.
In order to avoid an easy misunderstanding relating to the renowned publishing house of Hummel in Amsterdam, we must note here that this firm is also in Berlin, and despatches its publications from there for most of the German lands and the other countries outside Holland. Back to context...