Each piece/record has a separate entry in a computer catalogue. Each record has an ID number and eight information fields.
The catalogue number is that of the Minter Collection catalogue. Each reference begins with the letter ‘A’ and is followed by four digits.
The surname is given as it appears in the source, followed by initial/s. Otherwise the following abbreviations are used:
Anon (anonymous). This usually means that Minter has marked the source ‘anon’, presumably in the knowledge that the identity of the composer is unknown. I have ascribed this term only when I am confident that the composer isn’t known.
N-ID (no identification). I have used this abbreviation when I have been unable to identify a piece of information that I would normally supply. For example, I have used it to signify that a composer is not identified and I am unable to categorise the work as ‘anonymous’.
To facilitate the task of identifying works for which the composer is not known, I have supplied incipits. The incipits are in numerical (catalogue number) order.
This field refers to the date of composition. Some of the facsimiles of manuscripts show the dates, but the majority do not. Dates have been traced for some pieces by reference to secondary sources such as the New Grove work lists. Approximate dates are given, but the allocation of an approximate date does not infer that the exact date of composition is not generally know – it simply means that it is not known to me. I have used the following conventions for indicating approximate dates:
e = early (for example, e18C means early eighteenth century)
m = middle
l = late
c = circa (lower case c)
C = century (upper case C)
Where neither a definite nor an approximate date is given, the abbreviation ‘n.d.’ (not dated) is used.
The title of each work is usually given as it appears in the source, but not always employing the same pattern of upper and lower case letters. Where Minter has annotated a title, I have accepted it without further investigation.
Names of instruments are usually given the nearest modern equivalent. So, for example, clarino is catalogued as trumpet, hautbois as oboe, sackbut as trombone, etc. Occasionally a generic name is give (Str., Wdwd, Brass) for standard groupings. Some labels have been retained as they are given in order to avoid confusion; for example, the word ‘taille’, meaning middle or tenor part – often, but not always, signifying viola – is not changed. In most cases, however, the instruments are described by the following abbreviations. I must insert one important caution here: though I am fairly confident that the instruments cited are correct, there may be more than one part for a given instrument.
Vln. = Violin
Vla. = Viola
Vcl. = Cello
Bass = Bass (incl. violone)
Fl. = Flute (incl. recorder)
Ob. = Oboe
Cl. = Clarinet
Fg. = Bassoon
Trp. = Trumpet
Pos. = Trombone
Corn. = Horn
Ctt. = Cornett
Serp. = Serpent
Cont. = Continuo
Org. = Organ
Klav. = any other keyboard
Timp. = Timpani
Batt. = Percussion
SATB = Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass
The attribution of sources has been a major challenge. I have accepted all Minter’s annotated references and used secondary sources to track down others. I would caution readers not to cite these source references without obtaining some other verification. There are many instances where I have been able to determine the holding collection but not the full reference.
Manuscripts are, where possible, identified by the RISM sigla for the holding institution, followed by that institution’s shelf reference (e.g., I:Bsp D.VII. 5.). Where I do not know the full reference, I have given the known part followed by empty square brackets GB:Lbl [ ]. A complete list of the RISM sigla is given at http://www.iaml.info/links/libraries_sigla. A copy of the complete sigla as they stood in 2000 is also given in the prefatory pages of each volume of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
Printed editions other than very early editions (which are identified in the same way as manuscripts) are identified by the publisher’s catalogue reference or by a standard thematic catalogue reference abbreviation.
I have used the abbreviation ‘Unspec.’ to indicate that the source is unspecified. Readers should not draw the conclusion that because a source is unspecified it is exotic or new. It simply means that I have not been able to identify the primary source from the information at my disposal; it may well be obvious to others.
The genre implied or stated in the title is usually given under this heading. However, in some instances I have provided what I regard as an appropriate descriptive phrase. Consequently the information in this field should be read in conjunction with the title field. So, for example, ‘Sinfonia’ in the title field and ‘Opera’ in the genre field means ‘sinfonia from the opera…’.
This field contains a wide range of additional information, but it does not follow a consistent pattern. Information about keys, movement title, time signature, tempi markings, special instrumental groupings, dedications, etc., are included. No abbreviations other than those explained above are used in this field.