DIAMM

Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music

Project Description

General information

These pages primarily provide information about the people and institutions involved with DIAMM. The project has been running since 1998 and has involved researchers, collection-holders, funding bodies and other projects worldwide.

This section also describes the scope of the project and the content that can be searched and accessed here. The project was conceived primarily (and in fact only) as an image archive, for storing images of manuscripts against their loss from natural degradation. At the time researchers were not using the internet as a serious research resource. With the very rapid growth and expansion of the internet the ‘archive’ created an output which resulted in the web resource presented in these pages.

DIAMM is currently the most comprehensive site for a complete list of polyphonic music manuscripts up to c. 1600.

The Resource

DIAMM is a primarily Musicological resource, though we have photographed early documents for other projects such as the Anglo-Saxon Charters project at Cambridge University (Prof Simon Keynes) and Alison Stones’ Arthurian MSS project at the University of Pittsburgh.

The remit of the project is to photograph and archive images of:

  • all fragments of English polyphonic music written before 1550;
  • all complete sources of English polyphonic music before 1500, and as many as practically possible 1500-1550;
  • all fragments of European polyphony 1300-1450;
  • as many complete manuscripts of European polphony 1300-1450, and beyond as is possible and practicable.

The repertory is in manuscript, and almost entirely preserved on parchment, though there are some notable exceptions on paper.

More recently collaborations with new projects have allowed the imaging remit of the project to expand up to c. 1600, which means many partbooks are now available, as well as the metadata for all known MSS up to c. 1600.

Opportunistically we have been able to capitalise on our presence in some libraries and exploit our growing reputation to photograph major complete sources in Italy and elsewhere, thus expanding the boundaries of the project to a much wider repertory and user-base.

One of the original specific exclusions of the project is plainchant. However there have been  exceptions to this policy, when significant chant manuscripts have been disbound for conservation purposes: The ‘Winchester Troper’ from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and the Bangor Pontifical are both available on DIAMM.