Répertoire International des Sources Musicales

„Know what's available and where it's stored“


In accordance with this motto, the Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM) has been documenting all written musical sources available worldwide since its foundation in 1952, including music manuscripts, printed sheet music, writings on music theory and libretti. The international, non-profit organization has set itself the goal of creating as complete a catalog as possible, which is also free of charge, freely accessible and usable worldwide.

Through a cooperation between the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz and the Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM)-Association, RISM-OPAC, RISM's online publication, was launched in 2010. Nearly 1.3 million records contain the entire Series A/I (single prints before 1800), Series A/II (music manuscripts after 1600) and the period 1500 to 1550 and 1600 to 1610 of Series B/I (printed collections of the 16th and 17th centuries).

The development, implementation and further development of RISM-OPAC is located at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. The design, functionality, and usability of the system are constantly being improved in order to further enhance the search options. Thus, a large number of innovations have been integrated so far - including, among others, new languages for the search interface (French, Spanish, Italian), an enlarged ambit of the incipit search, the optimization of the website for mobile devices, and the integration of the norm data of corporate bodies, persons, and secondary literature.

An overview of the Répertoire International des Sources Musicales and its online catalog can be found in the following video of the Tübingen Tutorials on Musicology. There, the Institute of Musicology at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen presents, among other things, basic functions and search options of the RISM-OPAC and thus facilitates the introduction to the extensive source catalog.

Tübingen Tutorials on Musicology: The Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM):

Further Information:

The RISM database is the world's most comprehensive documentation in the field of music manuscripts and printed music editions from the period between 1600 and 1800.
Through the collaboration of numerous national working groups around the world, the corpus of sources is constantly growing.

Working Groups:

  • France
  • Poland
  • Spain
  • Ukraine
  • Venezuela
  • Greece
  • South Korea
  • and many more...


Picture credits