“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. | 7.th March. 1800.
Material: • score: 16f.
Manuscript: 1800 (1800); 17,5 x 24 cm
https://opac.rism.info/search?id=000115011
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.

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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.

 

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.

Moravian Music Collections

The collections of the Moravian Music Foundation include over 20,000 manuscripts and early imprints of vocal and instrumental music, sacred and secular music, from the sixteenth through twenty first centuries. Not all music was written by Moravian composers, but it is all music which the Moravians used and enjoyed. These collections represent congregational collections, collegium musicum collections, and personal collections from Moravian settlements and individuals in America.

The collections have been “hidden” to most of the world for about 275 years. With the exception of the Johannes Herbst Collection, scholars and church musicians had to visit the Archives in Bethlehem and Winston-Salem to discover the collections. The story of the collections can be divided into six phases: Sources (1735 to 1850s), Storage (1850s to 1950s), Discovery (1930s to 1970s), Cataloging (1970s), Preservation (1990s) and Online (2004-). It is a story with a host of players – church musicians, composers, copyists, church elders, librarians, archivists, musicologists, and hymnologists.