Do we have enough instruments to play that work? 

This is a questions that surely must have been spoken any number of times in 18th-19th century Salem.  It is true that members of the Moravian community were tailors, bakers, millers, and other tradesmen, but many were also musicians. Judging from the difficulty of the music, they were accomplished on their instruments or with their voices.

Recently, I cataloged Carl Loewe’s Die Sieben Schlaefer, op. 46.  The Moravian Music Foundation holds a printed score (B. Schott, 1835) and an incomplete set of manuscript parts (copied in Salem between about 1845 and 1855), which were played by the Salem Collegium Musicum (date unknown).  The score calls for a full orchestra, chorus and numerous soloist: S solo (3), A solo, T solo (3), B solo (3), S coro, A coro, T coro, B coro, fl (2), ob (2), cl (2), fag (2), cor (2), trp (2), trb (3), timp, vl (2), vla, vlc, b. Our holdings include printed parts, also published by B. Schott.

In Christian and Islamic tradition, the Seven Sleepers  is the story of a group of youths who hid inside a cave outside the city of Ephesus around 250 AD to escape religious persecution and emerged some 300 years later.  Carl Loewe used Ludwig Giesebrecht’s libretto in his setting of the story, which became a popular work in Europe and the United States.

While we have an incomplete set of manuscript parts, the parts we do have prompt the question that may have been heard — Do we have enough instruments to play that work?

Parts in our holdings include: T Solo (Antipater) ; S (4), A (4), T, B; cl (C) I, II; hn (E♭) I, II; clarino (D & E♭) I, II; clavicor (E♭ alto sax horn); bass sax hn (C); trmb T, B (2); basso.  Of particular interest are the parts for clavicor (alto sax horn) and bass sax horn, neither of which is in the printed score, but were instruments played in Salem at the time.

The clavicor, or alto sax horn, invented by Adolphe Sax in the 1840s is likely an instrument that played with the Salem brass ensembles. In this case the bassoon I part was transposed for clavicor.


The bass sax horn, also invented by Adolphe Sax in the 1840s is likely an instrument that played with the Salem brass ensembles. In this case the bassoon II part was transposed for bass sax horn.





The substitution of sax horns for bassoons is interested because in the earlier days of the Salem Collegium Musicum, pairs of winds (including 2 bassoons) were standard fair in their orchestra.  Or, is the question that there were two extra players who doubled the 2 bassoons (who were playing from printed parts).

Splitting hairs — is it a manuscript copybook or a manuscript tunebook? Or, both?

I’ve been “rearranging” the small collections in the Bethlehem part of our holdings, trying to create collections that make sense of items that do not fit into the the major settlement congregations (Bethlehem Congregation, Nazareth Congregation, Lititz Congregation, Dover Congregation, Lancanster Congregation).  Over the years we have received donations from various congregations in the Northern Province of the Moravian Church in America and from individuals.

With effort to have things make sense fifty years down the road, I’ve been working under the principal of putting “like” things together, such as printed music, manuscript music, tunebooks, bound volumes of printed music, and bound manuscript copybooks. I have encountered some bound manuscript copybooks which have atrributes of Moravian tunebooks.

The model for Moravian tunebooks is Christian Gregor’s Choral-Buch (1784), which used conventional organization of tunes according to metre.  Tunes were labeled by an alpha-numeric order (22H, affectionaly known as Art numbers), had descriptive title identifiers (Wareham) and had a known text incipit associated with the hymn or chorale (Nun danket alle Gott). These conventional were common in the 18th and 19th centuries.

I believe the Moravians, because of their intimate use of hymns and chorales, created personal tunebooks by copying identified tunes for their own use. These personal manuscript copybooks are for individual instruments or for piano.  Some include at least one verse of text, while other include multiple verses or only a textual incipit.  In some copybooks other songs with piano accompaniment are included with the chorales.

Why does this diffientiation matter?  In sorting materials in the Bethlehem collections, putting “like” things together is one of my goals.  So, manuscript copybooks that include only hymn tunes/chorales with Art numbers or tune names,  but which lack underlaid text or have only textual incipits will be gathered with tunebooks.  On the other hand, manuscript copybooks which may include some hymns/chorales identified in this way but also include other music, such as songs with piano and choruses, will be gathered with manuscript copybooks.

Here are two examples

The first is in tunebook style — close score, textual incipit, tune name, and indication of metre (L.M.). Four tunes are given in this example.

The second is in copybook style, which includes not only chorales with text, but this arrangement of “The heavens are telling” from Haydn’s Creation.

A woman composer in a Moravian music Collection?

Today for the first time, I encountered a composition by a woman composer.  In the collection of the Philharmonic Society of Bethlehem I found the cataloging for Johanna Kinkel’s Vogelkantate.  It was published by T. Trautwein in 1838.  It is a cantata for 5 voices and piano.  We have the printed score and parts. She labeled the work “Musikalischer Scherz” or a musical joke.  It is filled with bird immitations.

Johanna Kinkel (1810-1858) was a composer, pianist, choral director, poet, journalist, novelist, music teacher and historian. She was born Johanna Mockel in Bonn. Her father was a teacher at the French Gymnasium and her mother encouraged her musical talents. She studied with Franz Anton Ries and with his support she began a career as a coach, accompanist and choral directory while still in her teens.

Vogelkantate, her op. 1,  was published while teaching piano and studying with Karl Böhmer and Wilhelm Taubert in Berlin. The orginal owner of the score and parts was Timothy Weiss (b. 1800), whose name is inscribed on the cover. Timothy Weiss was a noted tenor; he also played clarinet and trombone with the Philharmonic Society of Bethlehem

You can look at the description of Vogelkantata in GemeinKat.



Moravian Archives Portal

A new link appears under “Links to Related Sites” — Moravian Archives Portal.

Tom McCullough, Bethlehem Archives says: With archival facilities around the world, our employees collect and preserve the records of the Moravian Church and make them available to the public. This site serves as a central hub to guide patrons in locating, contacting, and visiting the facilities that hold records pertinent to their research.other page.

Moravian Festivals Days Included in Records

Some of the manuscript sources designate a special festival day at which an anthem or series of anthems were sung. For example, at the top of the score of an anthem by Johannes Herbst the inscription reads:

Lobet den Herrn alle seine Heerscharen No. 333
Zur Einweyhung des neuen Kirchensaales in Litiz am 13.ten Aug. 1787 

This attribution merits subject headings for consecration of the new church Saal and for the Moravian August 13th Festival.  The list below provides the searchable subject headings used in records these Moravian collections. A full list of festivals of the Moravian Church Year includes these festivals as well as other festivals (Christmas, Easter, etc.). These phrases can be search in GemeinKat as a subject (su: Widows Covenant Day (Moravian Church)).

April 30           Widows Covenant Day (Moravian Church)

May 4              Single Sisters Covenant Day (Moravian Church)

May 12            Adoption of the Brotherly Agreement and Statutes (Moravian Church)

June 4              Older Girls Covenant (Moravian Church)

June 24            Little Boys Covenant Day (Moravian Church)

August 13       August 13th Festival (Moravian Church) [Spiritual Renewal]

August 17       Children’s Festival (Moravian Church)

August 19       Mission Festival [or other days]

August 29       Single Brothers Covenant Day (Moravian Church)

September 7    Married Choir Covenant Day (Moravian Church)

November 13  November 13th Festival (Moravian Church) [Chief Elder celebration]

“Singstücke beym Clavier zu Singen” leads to Newberry Library

Dave Blum: I’m currently working through the Lititz Manuscript Book Collection. Presently I am working through a set of 48 tunes many of which were copied by J.F. Peter in a manuscript book owned by Christian  Schropp (1756-1826).

The first entries are patriotic songs, but the collection soon turns to sacred songs in the same vein as Herbst’s songs to be sung at the pianoforte. In fact the title of the collection is “Singstücke beym Clavier zu Singen,” and there have already been a few tunes in common with the Herbst German collection. Several of these texts have been verses of hymns I’ve been able to identify in the Gregor Gesangbuch. When the composer is not known I’ve been searching RISM to see if I can find a match.

This morning I searched for information for the text “Ich find’ in meines Heilands Leiden,” but could not find the text either in the Gesangbuch or in HYMNARY.ORG. I then searched RISM to see if I could find the tune. I found a single match which shared the title in this collection:

Title on source: [cover title:] Charlotte L. | Schropp’s | Music Book. | March. 1800.
Material: • score: 16f.
Manuscript: 1800 (1800); 17,5 x 24 cm
This collection is at the Newberry Library in Chicago!

The aforementioned music collection at the Newberry Library names Charlotte L. Schropp. I don’t know if this is the same person. Could the L stand for Loskiel, her adoptive parents?

I found the following in: Schultze, Augustus. “The Old Moravian Cemetery of Bethlehem, Pa., 1742-1897.”  Transactions of the Moravian Historical Society, v. 5 (1899), 1899.

“Charlotte Sabina Schropp, 1787-1833, born at Nazareth, a daughter of John Schropp. She taught in the boarding school. After her father’s death she was adopted by Bishop Loskiel and wife, and showed them the loving attention of a daughter.”

Now, there was a bumper crop of Schropps. The name appears in the graveyard listings of Nazareth and Lititz, but this was the only Charlotte I could find. This may not be the right person, but it cannot be mere coincidence that the only other occurrence of this text and tune has someone with the same last name.

Diving into musical incipits (so to speak)

Musical incipits — how does one do this? We followed the leaders.  Since we wanted the musical incipits available to scholars where they work,  we selected OCLC’s WorldCat Discovery for bibliographic access; however, the WorldCat lacks software to display musical incipits.  The other place where music scholars work is RISM (Répertoire International des Sources Musicales), which does display musical incipits. So, it was a matter of making our bibliographic records with incipits in WorldCat and migrating our records to RISM so that the music incipits display.  Another huge factor in this decision was that the Moravian Music Foundation looked for a hosted IT solution that would not require servers and customization at the local level. So, it was not a matter of finding software that could use Finale or Sibelius files, we needed a whole solution.

Musical incipits were baked into the RISM cake from the beginning in the 1970s. An encoding system called, Plaine and Easie Code, is the international standard used for musical incipits in RISM records. It is suited for use without technology, but is made much easier to use with modern tools.  It is said that Plaine and Easie Code is neither plain, nor easy; but using online software Verovio makes creating the code almost as easy as playing the incipit on the piano. The RISM staff and programmers maintain the Plaine and Easie Editor for making  musical incipits.

Our project has a group of three music encoders, who add incipits into bibliographic records for each collection. Here is an example of musical incipits from the source catalog card transformed into an encoded musical incipit in our bibliographic record.

The source information:

Musical incipit encoded into the  bibliographic record:

The display of encoded information in RISM:


The incipit coders apply the codes from the Plaine and Easie Code standard using the Verovio Plaine and Easie Editor, then copy information into field 031 using the MARC 21 Standard for Bibliographic Information.  After the bibliographic record is loaded into the RISM database, it can be displayed to users.

Finding an aria within an oratorio and other such dilemmas

Moravian music collections are a mixed bag of printed editions, manuscript copies of printed editions, manuscripts of original music, manuscripts of excerpts and contrafactum.  By contrafactum I mean the substitution of one text for another without substantial change to the music. So these collections require access to all music down to the lowest movement level. This is essential for vocal music and slightly less essential for instrumental music.

For example, it is not uncommon to identify a favorite chorus from a Johann Heinrich Rolle oratorio, which has been copied as an anthem, perhaps the text has changed and maybe even the choral voicings (such as, SATB to SSTB). Some of these excerpts or contrafactum were copied and appear in multiple collections among the settlement congregations, including Bethlehem, Nazareth, Lititz and Lancaster in Pennsylvania, Dover in Ohio and Salem in North Carolina. The anthems were used during worship services, Singstunden or Love Feasts.

The question for catalogers is how to provide access to all the music, including sub-units such as movements of a larger work.  The answer leads to a complicated, multi-pronged solution.  First, all movements music be cataloged to gain access to the smaller sub-units; secondly, all movements must include musical incipits.  Matching musical incipits is the best way to identify musical works — independent from the texts. Musical  incipits are printed in standard music notation. They typically feature the first few bars of a piece, often with the most prominent musical material written on a single staff.  Here is an example from RISM.  In another post we will dive into musical incipits.

So, if the catalogers are providing complete access to all the music, what cataloging guidelines have been used?

  • Since we wanted to convert all information on the paper cards to online records, we chose OCLC and RISM as the two bibliographic utilities which are the best sources for discovery (bibliographic and musical).
  • Instrumental works are cataloged on one bibliographic record, with the movements noted in the table of content field (field 505) and the musical incipits encoded for each movement in separate fields (field 031).
  • Vocal works are cataloged on multiple bibliographic records, with one “parent” record for the entire work and separate “child” bibliographic records for each movement.  We include all movement titles in the “parent” table of contents (field 505), while the musical incipits are included in the “child” bibliographic record for each movement. The child record also includes additional subject access depending on the item. For example, subject headings, such as “sacred songs” or “choruses, sacred” or “canons, fugues, etc. (chorus), are added to child records.
  • The parent and child records need to be linked together, showing the relationship and providing access to each.
  • Sometimes, the manuscripts include hand-written notes with an alternate text, which is noted on the bibliographic records.  Sometimes, only the alternate text is given on the manuscript; in this case the musical incipit is the way to identify and bring together like works.
  • Use the parent/child bibliographic records model for collections of unrelated works too.

In our online catalog, GemeinKat/WorldCat Discovery, the feature of linking the parent and child records for display is still under construction.  In the RISM catalog the linking of parent and child records is an important feature (and is very cool).

An example of parent/child bibliographic records for a collection is illustrated well with the collection Zum großen Sabbath, 1768.  Johannes Herbst (a collection of 9 sacred songs). At the bottom of the page there is a list of the 9 sacred songs, each linked to an individual record for each song. Each individual song is, in turn, linked to the parent record.


Definition of Terms

GemeinKat: GemeinKat is the name of the online catalog for the Moravian Music Foundation. It is the catalog of the “Gemeinde” or the community; the 18th and 19th century communities include Salem, NC, Bethlehem, PA, Nazareth, PA, Lititz PA, Lancaster, PA, Dover OH.  The online catalog uses OCLC’s WorldCat Discovery customized for our use, but connected to the entire WorldCat.

Musical incipit: Musical incipits are printed in standard music notation. They typically feature the first few bars of a piece, often with the most prominent musical material written on a single staff.



RISM: The International Inventory of Musical Sources – Répertoire International des Sources Musicales (RISM) – is an international, non-profit organization which aims for comprehensive documentation of extant musical sources worldwide. These primary sources are manuscripts or printed music, writings on music theory, and libretti. They are housed in libraries, archives, monasteries, schools and private collections. A copy of the records from GemeinKat are being loaded into the RISM online catalog.

Moving data from paper records to online records

There are many decision that need to be made when transferring information from paper records to online records.  In this case, we are moving the information to MARC records that are readable in library catalogs.

  1. What does the paper record respresent? Moravian music cataloged during the NEH cataloging project in the 1970s have compact descriptions.  That is, all the manifestations of an entity are represented in one descriptive record.

For example, Christian Ignatius Latrobe’s cantata The Dawn of Glory has three manifestations: one printed organ-vocal score, one manuscript organ-vocal score and 16 manuscript parts.  See the description here: Dawn of Glory.

A conceptual decision was made for these instances that the printed music have spearate records from the manuscript music.  In this case, there was a record for Latrobe’s printed vocal score, plus a record for the manuscript vocal score with manuscript parts.

2. How does the catalog handle multi-part works (like a cantata), so that a single movement can be discovered? The catalogers made separate records for each movement of a work and included a musical incipit, so that the specific passage can be identified. These records were linked together by call number.  In the online catalog records are linked together with linking fields.

In the case of the Latrobe cantatas, using the manuscript vocal score and parts as an example, there is a parent record for the whole cantata plus 16 records for individual movements. I call them the children records.  So there is a parent record, plus 16 child records for the vocal score and parts.