Copyists and papers in Viennese Opera scores, 1771–1774

The open access database offers material collected in the research project between 2014 and 2019. All available opera scores supposed to be written in Vienna by professional copyists between 1771 and 1774 and housed in the music collection of the Austrian National Library were examined systematically. From this period, twenty-seven opera scores are included in the database, as well as two scores that turned out to be from a later period (Mus.Hs. KT 157, Salieri, La Fiera di Venezia; Mus.Hs. 17831, Sacchini, L’Amore Soldato) and two scores that stem from the period but include later additions (Mus.Hs. 17838, Salieri, La Fiera di Venezia; Mus.Hs. 17840, Salieri, La Locandiera).

These scores were written by forty-four copyists who used forty-two types of paper, documented in over 2,500 images.

Excellent bibliographic studies on papers concerning Mozart with—as far as Vienna is concerned—a focus on the 1780s (Tyson 1992, Edge 2001) present rich material which is here extended to an earlier period. In a further project, we want to cover the period from 1760 to 1770 and develop a database that is searchable not only for watermarks, but for scores and copyists too.

The paper codes range from P1 to P56. Thirty-five paper types were used in the period between 1771 and 1774. Further, the database comprises seven paper types that were used in a later period, mostly in the 1780ies, including P14, P17, P27, P29, P45, P46, and P47. Paper types where only a few folios could be identified so that we were not able to reconstruct a whole sheet were not included in the database. These are P4, P6, P13, P15, P16, P18, P24, P28, P30, P32, P34, P36, P53, and P54.

Description of watermarks, staff ruling and method of image production

All the scores under consideration stemming from the Viennese Hofmusikkapelle have a quarto oblong format. A sheet consisting of four quadrants normally was cut lengthwise first, thereafter folded crosswise where it was bound later on. In most cases a sheet shows two watermarks: mark (m) and countermark (c). These marks are often placed in the middle of each half of the sheet, just where it was cut. They therefore appear in the scores in two halves on the upper edge of each folio. Sometimes we find an additional side mark (s) close to the edge of the sheet. The database includes a reconstruction of the whole sheet by combining photographs of the four associated quadrants. Disregarding the narrow stripe where the sheet was cut lengthwise, mark and countermark are almost completely visible.

In the production process two meshes were used, producing a twin of sheets that are labeled here with A and B. As far as available and identifiable, both twins are presented in the databank.

In the description of the watermark, mark and countermark are separated by a semicolon. Initials and words, as, for example, AS or REAL are simply cited, while all motives, such as flowers, crowns, and crescents, are described. If the mark or countermark consists of several parts, the parts will be described from the top down and separated by a slash. “French lily / AS” for instance means: French lily above the initials AS.

The images of watermarks were produced using transmitted light and image subtraction. Two digital photos of single pages were made—one lit from the side of the camera, the other from behind the page. Afterwards, the first image was digitally subtracted from the other, in a way that the writing on the front side of the paper disappears. By scaling up the gray shades the writing on the back side is turned into white, faintly visible, but not interfering with the watermark that appears dark. We used Matlab and for post processing Photoshop CS 5.1, working on a simple PC.

Photos of the twin always stem from the same volume. Every set of four photos is taken from one single sheet, and, of course, from the same side of the paper (e.g. folio 1, 2’, 7, 8’ of a regular quire). In this very refined Italian paper, distinguishing between mold and felt side sometimes leads to controversial results. We therefore principally took the photos from the side where the letters are in regular position (not mirrored).

In order to document different kinds of staff ruling the score sheets show the number of staves and the total span. 

Searching for specific motives in the watermark, including words and initials, please visit Bernstein Portal (, select Catalogue / select Simple search / deselect all / select CTMV / click Search).

Searching for information on scores from our sample, please use the pertinent address from Table 1, go to the bottom of the page “Scores written on paper Px” and click the code for the score you are interested in. You will find a link to the Website of the Austrian National Library where all our scores are available with a complete set of images. Further, you may use a link to a pdf-file that provides detailed information on the structure of the score, the paper used, and the copyists involved.





Paper number



Il geloso




La Methilde




Il maestro








La casa




I rovinati




Le pescatrici




Il filosofo




Il filosofo




La locanda








Il tamburo
















Le finte




Il finto




Il finto




Il finto








La fiera




La fiera




La fiera




La fiera

KT 157



Il barone




Il barone




La locandiera




La locandiera




La secchia




La secchia








Table 1: Opera scores from the Imperial collection, now at the Austrian National Library Vienna, Music Collection, call number, paper types used, and link to Bernstein Portal ‘The Memory of Paper’. With some exceptions the scores were produced between 1771 and 1774.



a) Viennese copyists

  • Theodore Albrecht, “Benjamin Gebauer (ca. 1758–1846): The life and death of Beethoven's Copyist C—With speculation concerning Joseph Arthofer, ca. 1752–1807,“ in: Bonner Beethoven-Studien 3 (2003), 7–22
  • Dénes Bartha / László Somfai, Haydn als Opernkapellmeister. Die Haydn-Dokumente der Esterházy-Opernsammlung (Budapest: Verlag der ungarischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1960)
  • A. Peter Brown, “Notes on some eighteenth-century Viennese copyists,” in: Journal of the American Musicological Society June 34/2 (1981), 325–38 (Haschke, Lausch, Eberl, Harold(t))
  • Bruce Alan Brown, Gluck and the French Theatre in Vienna (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991) (Champée, Th. Ziss)
  • Bruce Alan Brown, „Wiener Ballette im Schwarzenbergischen Archiv zu Cesky Krumlov,“ in: Gabriele Buschmeier / Klaus Hortschansky (eds.), Tanzdramen, Opéra-comique: Kolloquiumsbericht der Gluck-GA (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2000), 9–34 (Champée, Th. Ziss).
  • Thomas A. Denny, „Wiener Quellen zu Glucks ‘Reform’-Opern: Datierung und Bewertung,“ in: Irene Brandenburg / Gerhard Croll (eds.), Beiträge zur Wiener Gluck-Überlieferung (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2001), 9–72 (Th. Ziss)
  • Dexter Edge, “Recent discoveries in Viennese copies of Mozart's concertos,” in: Mozart’s piano concertos: Text, context, interpretation (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1996), 51–65 (Arthofer)
  • Dexter Edge, “Viennese music copyists and the transmission of music in the eighteenth century,” in: Revue de Musicologie 84 (1998), 298–304 (Riersch, J. A. and Th. Ziss, Champée)
  • Dexter Edge, Mozart’s Viennese copyists (PhD. Diss.: Univ. of Southern California, 2001) (Arthofer, Sukowaty, Traeg)
  • Stephen Fisher, Haydn's overtures and their adaptions as concert orchestral works: symphonies, operas, oratorios, manuscripts, copyists (PhD. Diss.: Univ. of Pennsylvania, 1985; Ann Arbor: UMI, 2005) (Riersch, Weiss, Schmutzer)
  • Hannelore Gericke, Der Wiener Musikalienhandel von 1700 bis 1778 (Graz: Böhlau, 1960)
  • Josef-Horst Lederer, “‘[…] von denen eingangs benannten Supplicanten unter eines jeden eigenen Hand:Unterschrift Copiaturen anbegehret.’: Vier Eingaben zur Nachbesetzung einer Kopistenstelle am Wiener Hof aus dem Jahre 1755,” in: Irene Brandenburg / Gerhard Croll (eds.), Beiträge zur Wiener Gluck-Überlieferung (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2001), 73–94 (Ullmann, Keibl, Keusch, Riersch)
  • László Somfai, “Die Wiener Gluck-Kopisten – ein Forschungsdesiderat,“ in: Gerhard Croll / Monika Woitas (eds.), Gluck in Wien (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1989), 178–82

b) Paper and Watermarks

  • Roger D. Boyle / Hiary Hazem, “Watermark Location via Back-Lighting and Recto Removal,” in: International Journal on Document Analysis and Recognition 12 (2009), 33–46
  • Thomas A. Denny, „Wiener Quellen zu Glucks ‘Reform’-Opern: Datierung und Bewertung,“ in: Irene Brandenburg / Gerhard Croll (eds.), Beiträge zur Wiener Gluck-Überlieferung (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2001), 9–72
  • Georg Dietz, Arbeitsanleitung zur Isolation von Papierstrukturen: Wasserzeichen aus Zeichnungen und Graphiken mittels Bildsubtraktion (November 2004) (Florence: Istituto Universitario Olandese di Storia dell'Arte, 2004), available at: (access April 3, 2018)
  • Erich Duda, “Wie wurden Notenblätter im 18. Jahrhundert liniert?,” in: Mozart Studien 16, ed. Manfred Hermann Schmid (Tutzing: H. Schneider, 2007), 301–22
  • Wolfgang Eckhardt, “Digitale Dokumentation von Wasserzeichen in Musikhandschriften im Rahmen des Projekts KoFIM,” in: Wolfgang Eckhardt / Julia Neumann / Tobias Schwinger / Alexander Staub (eds.), Wasserzeichen – Schreiber – Provenienzen. Neue Methoden der Erforschung und Erschließung von Kulturgut im digitalen Zeitalter: zwischen wissenschaftlicher Spezialdisziplin und Catalog enrichment (Frankfurt a. M.: Vittorio Klostermann, 2016), 167–95
  • Dexter Edge, “The digital imaging of watermarks,” in: Computing in musicology 12 (1999/2000), 261–74
  • Georg Eineder, The ancient paper-mills of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire and their watermarks (Hilversum: Paper publ. soc., 1960)
  • Martin Eybl, “From Court to Public: The Uses of Keyboard Concertos in Austria 1750–1770,” in: Ad Parnassum VI/2 (April 2008), 19–40
  • Antonio Fedrigoni, L’industria veneta della carta dalla seconda dominazione Austriaca all’unità d’Italia (Turino: Industria Libraria Tipografica Editrice, 1966)
  • Ulrich Konrad, “The Use of Watermarks in Musicology,” in: Daniel W. Mosser / Michael Saffle / Ernest W. Sullivan, II (eds.), Puzzles in Paper: Concepts in Historical Watermarks (Newcastle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2000), 93–106
  • Theo Laurentius / Frans Laurentius, Italian Watermarks 1750–1860 (Leiden: Brill, 2016)
  • Ivo Mattozzi, Produzione e commercio della carta nello stato veneziano settecentesco. Lineamenti e problemi (Bologna: Università degli studi di Bologna, 1975) 
  • Ivo Mattozzi, “I Galvani, Fabbricanti di Carta (1744–1855). Un Modello di Formazione dell’Imprenditorialitá?,” in: Gilberto Ganzer (ed.), Andrea Galvani, 1797–1855: cultura e industria nell'Ottocento a Pordenone (Pordenone: Edizioni Studio Tesi, 1994), 17–39
  • Ivo Mattozzi, “Il distretto cartario dello stato veneziano. Lavoro e produzione nella Valle del Toscolano dal XIV al XVIII secolo,” in: Carlo Simoni (ed.), Cartai e stampatori a Toscolano. Vicende, uomini, paessagi di una tradizione produttiva (Brescia: Gravo, 1995), 1–41
  • Ivo Mattozzi, “Le filigrane e la questione della qualità della carta nella Repubblica Veneta della fine del ’700. Con un catalogo di marchi di filigrane dal 1767 al 1797,” in: Giancarlo Castagnari (ed.), Produzione e uso delle carte filigranate in Europa (secoli XIII–XX) (Fabriano: Pia Università dei Cartai, 1996), 309–39
  • Peter Meinschmidt / Hagen Immel, “Digitale Dokumentation von Wasserzeichen mittels Thermographie,” in: Wolfgang Eckhardt / Julia Neumann / Tobias Schwinger / Alexander Staub (eds.), Wasserzeichen – Schreiber – Provenienzen. Neue Methoden der Erforschung und Erschließung von Kulturgut im digitalen Zeitalter: zwischen wissenschaftlicher Spezialdisziplin und Catalog enrichment (Frankfurt a. M.: Vittorio Klostermann, 2016), 197–217
  • Alan Tyson, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke. Serie 10, Supplement, Werkgruppe 33, Dokumentation der autographen Überlieferung:  Wasserzeichen-Katalog (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1992)
  • Jean K. Wolf / Eugene K. Wolf, “Rastrology and Its Use in Eighteenth-Century Manuscript Studies,” in: Eugene K. Wolf / Edward H. Roesner (eds.), Studies in Musical Sources and Style: Essays in Honor of Jan LaRue (Madison: A-R Editions, 1990), 237–91