Straight from the Source


B-Br-ms-15076 f. 1v © Alamire Digital Lab, KBR

Musical Life in the Low Countries
started January 2009

Straight from the Source. The late medieval music manuscript as gateway to the musical culture of the Low Countries

In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Low Countries had become an important centre within the European musical world. The singers and composers trained in the many choir schools were in demand all over Europe. The production of music manuscripts also belonged to the European top, with richly illuminated sources as carriers of an equally rich polyphonic repertoire. The corpus of manuscripts produced at the beginning of the 16th century in the workshop of Petrus Alamire represents the pinnacle of this tradition. These manuscripts are also our most important written sources for the (mainly religious) music itself.

Straight from the Source is one of the most important digitization projects of the Alamire Foundation. The core of the project involves the digitization of the 51 manuscripts produced in the workshop of Petrus Alamire, an objective that was reached in 2012. The project, carried out in collaboration with DIAMM (Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music), based at the University of Oxford, has the dual objective of archiving these sources and making them available to a wide audience of musicologists, musicians and the general public through web-based applications. The aim is to enhance the musical religious heritage of the Low Countries and give it the place it deserves. The project therefore consists of several facets.

Digital access

A collaboration between DIAMM and the Alamire Foundation will result in research and valorization through digital access to all Petrus Alamire manuscripts. The aim of this cooperation is multiple:

(1) photographing all 51 manuscripts and the few fragments with the most advanced equipment, which will give full digital value to the more than 15,000 recordings of the corpus;

(2) making the corpus integrally available online;

(3) provide each source with metadata on the web.