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.
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 specific exclusions of the project is plainchant. The repertory is vast, and to some extent repetitive, and is therefore not in danger of being lost to the same extent as the polyphonic repertory. However there have been two exceptions to this policy, when significant chant manuscripts have been disbound for conservation purposes: The ‘Winchester Troper’ from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, was photographed by Cambridge University Library and the images were deposited with DIAMM for safekeeping as at the time CUL had no long-term archiving strategy. Currently disbound for conservation is the Wollaton Antiphonal, kept at Nottingham University Library. We hope that DIAMM will be able to photograph this MS while it is disbound on behalf of Nottingham UL.