Music Collection

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Although the stock of National Széchényi Library had contained music documents since its foundation, the idea of setting up a separate Music Collection came up only at the beginning of the 20th century. Following the purchase of Ferenc Erkel’s heritage, which ended in the 1910s, first the so-called “Musica” division was formed within NSZL’s Manuscripts Archive, and then, in February 1924, Chief Librarian Kálmán Isoz, PhD was assigned to organize a proper Music Collection for Hungary’s National Library.

NSZL’s current Music Collection comprises as many as 170,000 items of printed sheet music, while the number of manuscript sheet music items registered under code Ms. mus. is approximately 18,000. In addition to that, National Széchényi Library keeps a great number of manuscript- and printed sheet music in its repositories and its opera and stage music collection of the size of roughly 550 running meters of shelves. As accessory materials, Music Collection also keeps music-related photos, text manuscripts on the history and theory of music as well as several heritage collections of composers. It is important to know that items of manuscript sheet music written before the 16th century are stored by NSZL’s Manuscripts Archive, while printed sheet music made before the 18th century are kept by the Early Printed Books Archive.