Sources of instrumental music and of non-dramatic vocal music are generally understood to include preliminary sketches and drafts, manuscript and printed scores, performing parts, and, in the latter case, materials related to the choice or development of the vocal text. Letters, diaries, administrative papers, and even journalistic reviews can also be considered sources. Opera, as a collaborative fusion of music and drama, expands this list to include such materials as set and costume designs, staging manuals, lighting plots, and prop lists. Technology has further augmented the inventory, first with still photographs, and later with audio and video recordings. This chapter will concentrate on documents as sources.

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2014 Oxford University Press. This chapter first appeared in The Oxford University Handbook of Opera.

Please note that downloads of the book chapter are for private/personal use only.

Purchase online at Oxford University Press.