Music and Performing Arts Library Special Collections

The Special Collections area of the Music and Performing Arts Library at the University of Illinois is home to a unique collection of scores, rare books, recordings, pedagogical materials, and other archival materials. Included in the collection are first edition scores of works by, among others, Francesco Geminiani and Robert Schumann, numerous facsimile editions of original manuscripts, extensive runs of 19th-century music periodicals, and primary reference resources such as the Histoire génerale de la musique of François-Joseph Fétis.

Troyens 1Troyens 2Mavra 1Mavra 2Partch 1Partch 2

Notable holdings in the Special Collections include:

  • the Harry Partch archives: scores, recorded interviews, correspondence, and photographs

  • Igor Stravinsky’s original manuscript score to the opera Mavra

  • a first-edition piano-vocal score of Les Troyens with notes and corrections in Berlioz’s hand

  • the Morris and Barnard Young collection of 19th- and early 20th-century popular music

  • the WGN Radio Station studio orchestra collection of scores and parts

  • the Lawrence S. King Collection of opera recordings and memorabilia

  • original scores by the film music composer and Illinois native Frank Skinner

  • autograph manuscripts and correspondence by the English composer Henry R. Bishop

  • the personal collection of concert pianist, composer, and editor Rafael Joseffy

  • artifacts, photographs, and recordings of Illinois-born violinist Maud Powell

  • the personal library (scores and recordings) of violinist Joseph Szigeti

  • the signed holograph of Béla Bartók’s orchestration of Beethoven’s “Erlkönig” setting (based upon Rheinhold Becker’s completion of Beethoven’s sketches)

Robert E. Brown Center for World Music

The Robert E. Brown Center for World Music promotes understanding and appreciation of world traditions of music and dance, primarily through active study of performance with tradition-bearing artists. It engages visiting and local artists to teach and perform; offers instruction in world music and dance traditions to University students, faculty, and staff, and to the general community; maintains ongoing performance ensembles; arranges concerts, lectures, workshops, and other performance opportunities; sends its visiting artists and artist-associates into public schools to teach for extended periods (a semester or a year); and maintains a website calendar to publicize world music and dance performances in Champaign-Urbana and the surrounding region.

For more information visit the Center’s website.


The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music


The Sousa Archives and Center for American Music acquires and preserves significant archival records and historical artifacts in multiple media formats that document America’s local and national music history and its diverse cultures. The Center houses the John Philip Sousa and Herbert L. Clarke personal papers and other related special collections from University of Illinois Bands program. Its holdings feature the world’s single largest archive of original compositions and arrangements by John Philip Sousa.


Renaissance Music Archive


Established in 1966, this archive offers a collection of over 2,000 microfilms of music manuscripts from the period ca. 1400–1550 collected from archives, libraries, and churches all across Europe. In total, it is the largest and most comprehensive collection of Renaissance polyphonic music microfilms anywhere in the world. The archive holds microfilms of many of the items included in a complementary indexing project, the Census-Catalogue of Manuscript Sources of Polyphonic Music, 1400–1550, originally compiled by the University of Illinois Musicological Archives for Renaissance Manuscript Studies and published in five volumes between 1978 and 1988.

Ethnomusicology Archive

The Ethnomusicology Archive holds the musicology division’s collection of world music recordings. The holdings amount to hundreds of hours of music collected from all over the world. These originate from the fieldwork of both faculty and graduate students but also include material from older archives, some dating to the late nineteenth century. This rich trove of musical material is primarily contained on magnetic tapes which are stored in specially designed cabinets. The collection has been fully cataloged and classified along with detailed research notes. Material is available to the faculty and, under special permission, to graduate students and individual researchers.


Hymn Tune Index

The Hymn Tune Index is a searchable, online, comprehensive census of English-language hymn tunes in printed sources from 1535 to 1820. This index enables users to identify an array of useful information related to hymn tunes, including a tune’s earliest publication, any texts used with a tune, names given to tunes, keys and voicings in which a tune was published, and a tune’s complete publication history up to 1820. The index also provides full bibliographic details for the various hymnals and other sources which make up the Hymn Tune Index.


History of Ethnomusicology Bibliography Project

The History of Ethnomusicology Bibliography Project is a sortable online bibliographic table of sources that discuss some aspect of the history of ethnomusicology. It was compiled by Jessica Hajek in her capacity as research assistant for a Mellon Emeritus Fellowship held in 2010 and 2011 by Professor Bruno Nettl. The bibliography is an excellent resource for scholars interested in the history of ethnomusicology.