The Montanus & Neuber Catalogue of 1560: Prices, Losses, and a New Polyphonic Music Edition of 1556

Royston Gustavson

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Scholars have long known the important role of early catalogues in music bibliography. In 1733, Ernesti referred to a catalogue issued by the publishing firm Montanus & Neuber. Long stated in the musicological literature to have been lost, a single exemplar survives in the Staatsbibliothek in Bamberg. What makes this catalogue of almost 200 editions extremely unusual and important is that it includes a printed price for each edition. A comparison of the price for different categories of books including musica practica and musica theoretica allows us to understand how the firm priced its editions, and to compare pricing strategies for different categories of books. An analysis of which books have survived and which are no longer extant demonstrates the impact of the physical size of an edition on its survival: the bigger the physical object, the more likely it is to have survived. A comparison of the list of the firm's known prints up to 1560 and those in the catalogue also gives information on how long particular titles stayed in print, and expands the list of known editions by its inclusion of a number of previously unknown lost editions. The overall contribution of the catalogue is evaluated by a comparison with other surviving publishers' catalogues. This chapter concludes with a complete transcription of the catalogue including title, format, price, identification (vdm, VD16 or RISM), year of publication, number of leaves, number of sheets and price per sheet; and with a bibliographical description of a previously unknown polyphonic music edition from 1556, an extant copy of which was identified through the catalogue.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEarly Printed Music and Material Culture in Central and Western Europe
    EditorsAndrea Lindmayr-Brandl, Grantley McDonald
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherRoutledge, London
    ISBN (Print)9780429342844
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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