Integrated Database for Early music
IDEM – Integrated Database for Early Music

IDEM is an interdisciplinary and multifaceted database of manuscripts and printed books that are relevant to the Alamire Foundation's research and activities. It therefore especially focuses on the musical heritage of the Low Countries from the early Middle Ages until 1800.

IDEM contains digital images of manuscripts and prints digitized by the Alamire Digital Lab, the high-technology photography centre of the Alamire Foundation (KU Leuven – Musicology Research Unit). Its state-of-the-art equipment allows musical sources to be photographed following the strictest standards and quality requirements.

The core database is complemented by interrelated sub-databases that enable the consultation and study of manuscript and printed sources from multiple perspectives. IDEM will eventually contain information about every aspect of the manuscripts and books concerned, including their physical characteristics, their content and illumination, as well as recordings, editions and so-called 'fake-similes' (adapted versions of the original images, facilitating performance from the original notation).

IDEM is thus designed to be an online, freely accessible platform and tool for the preservation, study, and valorisation of the music heritage of the Low Countries.

Februari 2024 - In the spotlight: Alamire choirbook for Maximilian I of Austria

Currently preserved in the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna, this choirbook was probably made between 1508 and 1511 under the supervision of Petrus Alamire for Maximilian I of Austria and his second wife Bianca Maria Sforza (1472-1511). The Holy Roman Emperor is depicted in golden armour and coronation robes on the right-hand page, accompanied by his guardian angel and kneeling under a canopy. At the bottom we see the combined Habsburg-Sforza coat of arms; this is the only Alamire manuscript that also refers to Bianca. On the left side, under a beautiful Nativity miniature, we see the coat of arms of Maximilian, surrounded by the chain of the Order of the Golden Fleece, complete with ornately rendered details in the border decorations on a bright green background. In her correspondence with Maximilian on 7 March 1511, Margaret of Austria made mention of a manuscript that Alamire would deliver to him; it is not unlikely that it concerned this choirbook.

The manuscript opens with Jacob Obrecht's Missa Salve diva parens. In the Kyrie of this mass, the tenor part is given a separate text, which survives only in this source and which corresponds to the theme of the miniature, notated in red letters below the music: Salve diva parens prolis amene / Eternis meritis virgo sacrata / Qua lux vera deus fulsit in orbem et subiit carnem subiit rector olimphi ("Hail, divine mother of the lovely offspring, virgin dedicated to the good things of eternity, through whom the true light, God, shone upon the world, and the ruler of Olympus submitted himself to become flesh"). The other six masses in this choirbook are by the Franco-Flemish composers Antoine de Févin, Josquin des Prez, Loyset Compère, Antoine Bruhier, and the lesser-known Pierrequin de Thérache (noted here as "Pierken Theras"), who spent most of his career at the ducal court in Nancy and whose Missa O vos omnes is unique to this manuscript.

View the source:   Ms. Mus.Hs. 15495