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Music 233: Introduction to Historical Musicology

Primary Sources in Music

Music Primary Sources include:

  • Scores 
  • Sound recordings
  • Films of performances
  • Interviews
  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts, including facsimiles of original manuscripts
  • Original research


Although any score can potentially be a primary source, the term is most often used in connection with manuscripts.  Reproductions of composers' handwritten sketches, scores, and the like can be found in Primo by adding the keywords music manuscripts facsimiles to your search. 

Countless music manuscripts have been digitized and made freely available on the web, and several libraries have consolidated their links on a single portal called the Music Treasures Consortium.  National library sites like Gallica (France), Internet Culturale (Italy), and Patrimonio Iberoaméricano (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Panama and Portugal) have millions of images of manuscripts in their collections.  Other music manuscript sites include DIAMM (the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music).

Facsimile Finder is a website for libraries and collectors interested in purchasing medieval manuscript facsimiles, but it gives very useful information about the original manuscripts as well.

It's important to remember that while more and more music manuscripts are being digitized, the majority are still available only in libraries and archives, and in many cases access is limited to scholars with research credentials.

Search Primo

To find primary sources in music, search Primo. Try the following terms:

Music Manuscripts Facsimiles. or search a composer and manuscripts,  ex. Stravinsky, Igor Manuscripts

Musicals Librettos

Interviews, ex.Pianists Interviews

Autobiography, memoirs, ex. Music is My Life: Louis Armstrong, autobiography, and American Jazz or Just Kids by Patti Smith

Correspondance, ex. Mozart speaks : views on music, musicians, and the world : drawn from the letters of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and other early accounts

Sound Recordings, see the tab "recordings" in this guide

Films of Performances can be found by searching the artist and limiting the format to video, Jimi Hendrix : Live at Woodstock

Sources, ex.Music 18th century History and criticism Sources.

Puget Sound Archives & Special Collections, Music

The Archives & Special Collections collects, preserves, and makes available primary source material documenting life at the University as well as collections representing regional, national and international issues.

A small selection of material is listed below, for additional sources, please contact

The Leroy Ostransky papers, 1939-1993, include correspondence, audio recordings, manuscripts, class notes, musical scores and compositions by this composer, author, and professor of music at the University of Puget Sound.  An expert on jazz, he was widely recognized for his contributions to education and the arts.

The University of Puget Sound Ephemera Collection contains many music programs for concerts performed at the University over the years. A selection of digitized material from this collection is available online, with content being added often.