Creating Music Albums as Originals Made of Originals
Ludwig van Beethoven presents an album to his friend Johann Friedrich Naue, opening with canon by his own hand, and Fanny Mendelssohn devotes a blank album to music thanks to a first entry by her brother Felix. These are just two early examples of creating a new type of manuscript, which has become popular in the nineteenth century: the music album. Its purpose is the collection of originals, that is, of various composers' autographs of music. Every album is unique as the result of creating an original that is made of originals – as a personal signature of the networks, tastes, and the abilities of its owners. The project will set up a repertory of such albums, including contributions by all major composers of the nineteenth century. Looking at music albums as an important part of the cultural heritage of that time, it will deliver the first comparative study regarding their materiality, production and use.