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.

November 2023 - New on IDEM: Two Birgittine antiphoners

B-Br Mss. II 3833 and II 3834 are two antiphoners from ca. 1500 used in the Birgittine abbey Mariëntroon in Dendermonde, founded in 1466 and closed in 1784. This Order was founded by St. Birgitta of Vadstena (ca. 1303-1373) and gained big popularity in the Low Countries during the 15th century. The antiphoners are typical in content and decoration for Birgittine liturgical manuscripts form this time and region and were possibly written in Mariënwater, which is the mother abbey of which at this time had a scriptorium that produced several manuscripts of this type. Mss. II 3833 and II 3834 contain the Office liturgy Cantus sororum, which is the liturgy for the sisters of the Birgittine Order. This is a Marian focused liturgy consisting of seven Offices to be performed during one week. The Cantus sororum is the only office liturgy that has been compiled to be performed uniquely by women, and it was in use until the Second Vatican Council when it was adapted into the vernacular. It consists of ca. 200 chants in a mix of newly composed chants for the Birgittines and chants from the standard chant repertoire, i.e. Marian antiphons.

View the sources:   Ms. II 3833 - Ms. II 3834