Mozart’s Diary Filled With His Famous Compositions Is Available Online For Free

Mozart Manuscript Mozart Compositions British Library Free Online Books Resources

Left photo via Wikimedia Commons Public Domain
Right photo: The British Library via Wikimedia Commons CC0 1.0

With an online collection that features everything from prints to patents, the British Library is at the forefront of today's digitization trend. Through a virtual gallery, the library lets book lovers and history buffs leaf through its one-of-a-kind treasures, including the world's biggest atlas, Leonardo da Vinci's notebook, and, now, Mozart's manuscript.

The classical composer compiled his pieces in this thematic catalogue from February 1784 until his death in December 1791. During this time, he devised some of his most well-known works, including operas like The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni. Additionally, he also composed “several of his most beautiful piano sonatas, and his last three great symphonies, as well as several famous lesser works” throughout this period.

Mozart organized this unique musical diary in chronological order according to each piece's date of completion. On each of the book's left-hand pages, he transcribed the date and title of five compositions. Often, he would also include the instrumentation, the identity of the singer, who it was commissioned by, and the location of its composition. On each corresponding right-hand page, he created “five pairs of staves on which he wrote the opening bars of each work.”

If you're interested in this in-depth look at Mozart's music, the British Library offers the manuscript as a webpage and as an interactive online book. In each case, the text is annotated with contextual information and accompanied by musical excerpts to give you a rare glimpse into the mind of Mozart.

The British Library has digitized Mozart's thematic catalogue. The manuscript features many of his most well-known compositions.

It is now offered on the British Library's website, where you can find a wealth of other free online books!

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h/t: [Open Culture]

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Kelly Richman-Abdou

Kelly Richman-Abdou is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. An art historian living in Paris, Kelly was born and raised in San Francisco and holds a BA in Art History from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University. When she’s not writing, you can find Kelly wandering around Paris, whether she’s leading a tour (as a guide, she has been interviewed by BBC World News America and France 24) or simply taking a stroll with her husband and two tiny daughters.
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