Basle Bibliography for Historical Performance Practice

Current status

Publications from 1974–2017 (ca. 30,000 titles)
The entry of more recent and older installments (back to 1974) is ongoing.


  • Index: It is best to begin a search with the Index. Here you will find the classification scheme of the complete bibliography, arranged according to subject area. Mark the subject that interests you. The hits will immediately be shown below the index window.
  • For additional parameters, use the fields in the menu window above the Index (“Simple Search” or “Extended Search”). “100. Not classified titles” have not yet been entered in the classification scheme, and are pending processing.
  • Simple Search (full-text search within the bibliography): Enter a keyword and click on the “Search” button to display hits from the bibliographic database or hits limited to the selected index entries.
  • Extended Search: You can focus your search by means of additional search terms and, for example, specify with “time range” (from: ... to: ...) the year or period of publication, or limit your search to a musical instrument or person. Click on the “Search” button to start the search.
  • Variable terms of the classification scheme (for example, musical instruments and artists/composers) can be entered into the corresponding search fields of the “Extended Search.” When you type the term, a drop-down list appears from which you can select a name/term. Click on the “Search” button to start the search.
  • Reset: This button clears all the entered search terms. You can begin a new search and be certain that none of the previous parameters are still valid.
  • Current Search/Hit List: Your current search and the related hit list are preserved when a new browser window or a new tab is opened. You can access them again by means of your browser’s “Go-back-one-page” button. The hit list changes only when you change the search term and/or the index selection, or click on the “Reset” button.
  • Full-text Search for the entire website (field in the upper right corner): You can search the whole website for any desired keyword, but you will then receive hits from all areas, even those outside the Basle Bibliography.


Display and Export of the Hits

  • List view: the format in which the results are initially listed in short form. You can sort the hits according to author, title, and year. Clicking on the title brings up a separate tab with all the particulars in a standardized format.
  • Citation View: a format in which all the relevant bibliographic information about a title is shown. With copy and paste, you can transfer one or more titles to your work environment. Clicking on the title brings up a separate tab with all the particulars in a standardized format.
  • Export: transfers ALL the hits (unformatted) to a text editor from which you can easily transfer the data, or a selection thereof, to your work environment.


Bibliographical Database

The Basle Bibliography differs from all other music-oriented bibliography databases (e.g., RILM, BMS) above all due to its classification scheme (i.e., Index). With it, the recorded titles are assigned to precisely defined subject areas. This classification scheme was taken over into the digital version and can be used for searches. In this way, subject areas can be circumscribed with unparalleled precision. In contrast to the earlier printed installments, the search can now be carried out digitally among all the recorded titles.



The Basle Bibliography includes titles in a wide range of languages. However, the database itself is set up in German. Musical instruments are currently indexed only in German, and proper names according to their German spellings (for example, “Händel” and not the English “Handel”).
If you enter terms in other languages (particularly, English and French), you will nevertheless receive hits. These, however, refer to the foreign-language titles of individual publications or to data in the project databases of the RIMAB, which is set up in three languages (German, English, and French). We are striving, in particular, for a cross-linking of the instrument names to the trilingual vocabularies.


The History of the “Basle Bibliography”

In the present bibliographical database are to be found publications that have to do with the subject of “historical musical practice” (historical performance practice, history and theory of early music). In terms of content, they range from the beginnings of western music to the period around 1850. The titles were published in printed form starting in 1977 in the Basler Jahrbuch für Historische Musikpraxis, the annual scholarly journal of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis (Amadeus-Verlag, Winterthur), under the title “Bibliographie der Neuerscheinungen zur Historischen Musikpraxis” (“Bibliography of Recent Publications on Historical Musical Practice”). A separate volume devoted exclusively to bibliographical information, and which was not included in the numbering of the Jahrbuch series, appeared already in 1976. The titles compiled there are from 1974–75, and thus mark the chronological starting point of the Bibliography.
The Bibliography came into being through the initiative of Wolf Arlt, the then director of the SCB, and Peter Reidemeister, Arlt’s successor as director and as editor of the Jahrbuch up to the twenty-seventh issue (2003). Starting with Jahrbuch 28 (2004), the publication was edited by Dagmar Hoffmann-Axthelm, as of issue 31 (2007) by Regula Rapp together with Thomas Drescher.
Jahrbuch 31 (2007) marked the end of the publication of the bibliographical titles in printed form. Since then, the Bibliography has been continued as an electronic database that is now accessible in this form on the Internet.
Dagmar Hoffmann-Axthelm was responsible for the printed installments of the Bibliography from 1979 to 2007. Since 2008 the digital version has been maintained by Martina Wohlthat, and the digital compilation of the older installments carried out by Michael Lang.



The “Basle Bibliography” has been implemented in the RIMAB research database of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, which was initially conceived above all for the representation of iconographical sources. Meanwhile, several SCB research projects are accessible on RIMAB. The image and literature collections (primary and secondary literature) compiled specifically for these projects have been integrated into the Basle Bibliography, but are still available directly under the respective research project.
If you are interested in specific image sources and bibliographical references from the research projects, please search in the corresponding areas.
“RIMAB Primary Sources” in the “Extended Search” display all the primary sources of the research projects on this website.
“RIMAB Keywords” of the “Extended Search” filter the keywords of the available research projects.
RIMAB Search: with this tool in the main menu, you have at your disposal alternative possibilities of bibliographical research that are relevant primarily for the research projects. “Secondary Literature” will automatically redirect you to the search mask of the “Basle Bibliography.”



We would like to thank the Maja Sacher Foundation, the Förderverein der Musik Akademie Basel, and the Freiwilligen Akademische Gesellschaft Basel for their generous financial support of the “Basle Bibliography” digitalization project.