Jean and Alexander Heard Library

About MIML | Scope of MIML | Searching MIML | Search Hints | Citing MIML

About MIML

Welcome to MIML, a web-based bibliography on Musical Instruction and Musical Learning from 1450-1650. This bibliography is designed to cover the secondary literature on how music was taught and learned during the two-century period 1450 to 1650, elucidating aspects such as the institutions, traditions, and practices of musical pedagogy in the Early Modern Period.

MIML was funded by a Collaborative Research grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, ?Reading and Writing the Pedagogy of the Renaissance: Students, Teachers, and Materials of Musical Learning, 1520_1650.? Other projects covered by this grant included an international conference, held in June 2005, an exhibition, ?Art, Science, Spirit, Soul: Mastering Music in the Renaissance, ? held at the George Peabody Library, Baltimore from May 23-July 31, 2005, and a collection of essays, currently in preparation.

The bibliographic framework used to index records was designed by Cynthia J. Cyrus, with assistance from Susan Forscher Weiss and Russell E. Murray, Jr.

The technical framework for MIML was prepared by Jason J. Battles, Vanderbilt University Systems Librarian. MIML employs a MySQL database and PHP scripting for interface and interaction.

MIML was prepared by Cynthia J. Cyrus, with Susan Forscher Weiss and Russell E. Murray, Jr.
Technical assistance from Jason J. Battles, Systems Librarian, Vanderbilt University
Research assistance from Stephanie A. Salyer, Carrie B. Stillwell and Ellen McSweeney
Support from the National Endowment for the Humanities
and the Heard Libraries of Vanderbilt University

Scope of MIML

The goal for MIML was to compile a bibliographic starting point for research on how music was taught and learned in the early modern era. The chronological boundaries are set rather loosely at 1450 and 1650, but a number of items pertaining to medieval learning have been included since so many aspects of musical instruction of our period are indebted to earlier practice.

The geographic scope of the bibliography is predominantly that of Western Europe. Local and regional practices are taken into account where possible, and a solid body of scholarship is emerging which traces urban and regional teaching practices through time. Readers should be cautioned, however, that a significant portion of the pre-war research on education, and particularly on musical education, offers generalized views that have little specific grounding in the documentary record.

From a disciplinary point of view, the MIML bibliography borrows generously from scholarship on the history of education and the history of childhood, from urban studies and regional histories, from social history, and from musical biography, music history, the history of music theory, and musicology in general. Some of the studies included here provide little direct information on musical instruction but are useful for the information they provide on institutional history or social milieu. A brief annotation may be found at the end of the citation field if an item is primarily included for contextual reasons.

One of the difficulties of pursuing research on the history of musical instruction lies in the way musical instruction intersects with other aspects of the historical record. Discussions of musical teaching and learning are part of many biographical studies. The training of composers or performers may merit a single paragraph or an extensive discourse, depending on the goals of the study in question. Likewise, courtly or urban studies may allude to the musical prowess of a particular patron or family or may explore the historic place of musical knowledge and musical skill at length. At times, items verge on being better fitted within a history of music theory; at others, they stem from social history. Together, however, these various bibliographic items help to provide an understanding of how people from all walks of life gained their knowledge of music and music making in the early modern era.

The editors have done their best to winnow down the material in the bibliographic to the most broadly applicable references to musical students, teachers, and materials, but they welcome further suggestions for bibliography. Suggestions can be mailed to

Searching MIML

Searching in MIML can be done in several ways. Persons wishing to browse the listing can pull up records in clusters of 10 to a page by clicking on ?Bibliography.? Alternatively, a continuous listing of records is available by pressing ?.?

A special category of materials deemed fundamental to the history of education of the Early Modern Era can be located under the ?Must Read?; the authors note that this category emphasizes articles and books from outside of musicology. There is a pressing need for a scholarly overview of musical educational practices, and it is hoped that this bibliography may help to encourage others to take on a comparative study of musical teaching and musical learning at a variety of social levels. Readers will find, however, that a number of important studies have emerged that elucidate educational expectations regarding music within a particular milieu or institution; a bibliographic overview provides an entre into that largely musicological literature.

Searches covering author, title, and selected keywords can be entered in the standard search box, available at the bottom of every page. Words or names can be truncated. Wildcard characters can be used in such searches:

  • underscore (_) represents a single character
  • percent (%) represents zero or more characters

Finally, a clickable subject index is available by pressing the ?Search Options? button. Terms within a category--such as the terms child and choirboy/girl, for instance? are linked by a Boolean ?OR?; thus, clicking multiple boxes within a field will bring up records having either term. Searches across different categories, however, use the Boolean ?AND? command to delimit a particular subset of records. Thus, a search of ?Instrumental? and ?1570? would generate a list of items which fit both indexing terms, but not those which have only one term but not the other.

Search Hints

On the Search Options page, search terms are grouped in clusters to facilitate navigation. The authors opted for a simplified structure in which each term is found only once, even if it has multiple meanings or belongs to more than one area. The term ?Master,? for instance, is given only once although it is sometimes used in the literature to reference a guild-based master-apprentice relationship and at other times applies to the Maestro di capella. Similarly, specific terms pertaining to musical education are distributed by the authors within subheaders (composition, performance, religious practice, educational structures), but the same term might regularly cross into two areas. The term ?counterpoint? in particular pertains both to composition and to performance. Thus, the reader will want to scan the entire page before deciding which keywords are most likely to produce useable results.

Dates are entered by decade, and are given inclusively. An article discussing the period of 1521-1560 will be listed under the 1520s, 1530s, 1540s, 1550s, and 1560s, and a check of any one of those boxes should retrieve the bibliographic record.

Geographical Areas are, for the most part, inclusive. British Isles?includes England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales; Germany includes Germany, Austria, and German-speaking Switzerland; Iberia includes Spain and Portugal; Low Countries includes Belgium and the Netherlands; Eastern Europe includes Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Yugoslavia; Scandinavia includes Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

Finally, the encoding of illustrations and primary source type is, for now, incomplete. Searches in these areas will bring up a sampling of relevant records. Many other items, however, have primary source material of interest to the researcher, and the a thorough consultation of all appropriate bibliographic sources is recommended. Note as well that the authors have made no attempt to index editions--facsimile or otherwise--of the many relevant theory treatises and instrumental tutors available to the modern scholar. Such research projects, though important, largely fall outside of the scope of this study.

How to Cite MIML

MLA Style:

MIML: Musical Instruction and Musical Learning. Ed. Cynthia J. Cyrus, with Susan Forscher Weiss and Russell E. Murray, Jr. April 2006. Jean and Alexander Heard Library, Vanderbilt University.

Chicago Style:

Cyrus, Cynthia J., with Susan Forscher Weiss and Russell E. Murray, Jr. 2006. MIML: Musical Instruction and Musical Learning. (accessed May 9, 2006).

Jean and Alexander Heard Library  Anne Potter Wilson Music Library
Blair School of Music  Vanderbilt University
Copyright © 2007 Jean and Alexander Heard Library, Vanderbilt University

MIML is funded through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The recommendations provided in this website reflect the judgement of the authors and do not
necessarily represent the opinion of the National Endowment for the Humanities.