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Edition Definitions

Editions: When you are looking for a musical score in the online catalog, you may get many search results for a single piece. This is because the music library holds several different editions of that piece.

An edition is a music score created when an editor makes changes (musical or textual) to a piece that otherwise only exists in manuscript form. 

manuscript is a source that is written by hand. An autograph manuscript is a manuscript written at least in part in the composer's hand (rather than by a copyist or printed). Editions are made for a variety of reasons: wider accessibility and/or legibility, to add annotation/discussion, or to facilitate performance.

There are three major categories of editions:

  • Facsimile Editions = photographic copies of manuscripts, early copies, or early printed editions. May include an introduction and/or other critical commentary.
  • Scholarly or Critical Editions = a scholar’s (or team of scholars’) attempt to produce an edition that shows the composer’s intentions. Includes an introduction, footnotes, and/or other text that explains what sources they used to make the edition (and how they used them). Scholarly editions come in 3 forms: Collected Works Editions; Historical Series, Dankmäler, or Musical Monuments; and Scholarly Editions of a single score, sometimes labeled as Urtext ("original text") Editions
  • Performing Editions = An edition intended for use in performance, created by an individual editor (often a performer rather than a scholar) to meet performers’ needs. The editor often adds markings like fingerings, articulations, stylistic suggestions, etc. that represent the editor’s interpretation and may differ from another’s interpretation.

Learn more about manuscripts, editions, and how to find them by visiting the Editions LibGuide!

Thematic Catalogs

A Thematic Catalog is a list of a particular set of musical works and contains musical incipits for those works to help with identification. An incipit is the opening set of notes of a work. 

Composer Thematic Catalog is a thematic catalog dedicated to the works of one composer. 


Finding Composer Thematic Catalogs

Not all composers will have a thematic catalog. But if they do, it will be shelved in the ML134 section of the Library, on the 3rd floor of Moody Library. How do you find it?

  • In Baylor Library Advanced Search, search for [composer's name] and "Thematic catalogs" - for example, "Bach, Johann Sebastian" and "Thematic catalogs"

Online Thematic Catalogs (A-C)

University Libraries

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