Bibliographie des Musikschrifttums

The Bibliographie des Musikschrifttums (Bibliography of Music Literature, BMS) was created in 1936 by our predecessor institution, the Staatliches Institut für deutsche Musikforschung (State Institute for German Music Research) in Berlin, in order to establish a continuous record of all the music-related literature published throughout the world. It carried on the works of the Jahrbuch der Musikbibliothek Peters (Yearbook of the Peters Music Library), which also created annotated bibliographies.

The Bibliographie des Musikschrifttums was initially edited by Kurt Taut, and later by Georg Karstädt. It was published by Friedrich Hofmeister Verlag in Leipzig (Leipzig: Hofmeister, 1936–1941, vol. 1, 1936, to vol. 4, 1939). As a result of the war, the double volume 5–6 for the period 1940–41 was not published, but an incomplete set of proofs has been preserved. That and the first four volumes are available in the Digital Collections of the Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung Preussischer Kulturbesitz.

Bibliographic work was resumed after the Second World War at the initiative of the musicologist and librarian Wolfgang Schmieder. Working for the reorganized Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung (State Institute for Music Research), he produced a new volume in 1954 that covered the period 1950–51. The last volume to be published in printed form was the one we brought out in 2001 for the year 1988 (Frankfurt am Main: Hofmeister, 1954–1968, vol. 1, 1950–51 to vol. 6, 1960, Mainz: Schott, 1969–2001, vols. 1961 to 1988, not enumerated).

In 2006, we began publishing the Bibliographie des Musikschrifttums online and according to open access principles. All of the sources from the printed versions covering the years 1950 up to and including 1975 are included in the online edition. The bibliography is updated daily. About 44% of the sources for works published in the period 1976–1988 have not yet been included, however.

Since 1968, we have also been serving as the German editors for Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale (RILM). We pass on bibliographic entries for all works published in Germany to the main RILM editorial team in New York.

The sources we list include books, articles and reviews from periodicals, commemorative volumes, conference proceedings, yearbooks, anthologies and critical commentaries on music editions. To identify these sources, we evaluate national bibliographies, professional journals and specialized bibliographies. An alphabetical list of these journals and multivolume series can be found here. We also examine journals from other fields that deal with topics relevant to music in a broader sense. Short summaries are provided for many titles.

Directly to BMS


as of May 2024


BMS - Bibliographic Editorial Office

+49 30 254 81 0


Carsten Schmidt

Head Librarian and Head of the Division for Musicological Documentation

+49 30 254 81 140