Research guide

The database contains records relating to manuscript and printed cantatas and arias composed in a period ranging from c. 1620 to the early nineteenth century.

The bibliographic units are catalogued in their entirety; therefore the possible presence of other types of compositions has  also been taken into account: sacred music, instrumental music, polyphonic compositions.


If the "exact search" option is not selected, the system performs a search by single word or by a string of words, "by root" - that is, it is insensitive to the endings of verbs and nouns - for all the terms required, regardless of the order in which they are inserted, with the exclusion of elements that are too common to be useful in the search such as articles and prepositions.

For example: if I try try to search the term “mortali” the  results will be “mortali”, “mortale”, “mortal”; if we try to search “partir” the issues will be “partir”, “parti”, “parte”, “partite”, “parto”, “partia”, “partirai” “parta”.

In the case of two nouns joined by an apostrophe, the system is able to find them even if the two words are searched separately.

For example, if I try to search “rigid’orme” o “rigide orme” the search results will be in both cases the record n. 153, a cantata by Giovanni Legrenzi titled “Aureo serto real sei pur pesante” in whose text we find the verses “Poiché con rigid’orme / Le calpesta i pensier sogno tremante”.

The field Search in title leads to the fields:

  • title and indication of responsibility
  • appellative title
  • uniform title: in the genre of the cantata it corresponds to the textual incipit; any specific title can be found in the field “Appellativo”; the uniform title may contain the title of an opera followed by the title of an aria (separated by a space point), in the case of anthologies, both handwritten and printed,  when they contain, in addition to cantatas, compositions of other musical genres (further information on operas as the place and date of the first performance, the indication of the act and the scene in which the aria is located, the character, are reported in the Notes)
    If, for example, we look up “Gli orologi di Achille” the result of the search will be record no. 181, a cantata by Giovanni Legrenzi entitled "O grandezze reali" with the uniform title "Orologio siete voi" and the appellative title "Achille in Sciro".
    If we try to search for "Vinco" the outcome will be the records of the cantatas by Leonardo Vinci, where the name of the composer is indicated in the field "title and indication of responsibility" and the card n. 4208, a cantata by Paolo Biego entitled “Amerò, pugnerò, vincerò”.

It is therefore possible to search for:

  • a cantata both through its incipit or title
  • an opera aria both through its incipit and through the title of the opera it belongs to

The field Search in text searches the field:

  • transcription of the poetic text through a thesaurus of variant forms, currently being implemented; the search engine is able to identify the desired terms even if they are searched (with modern handwriting and in the transcription of the text they instead have an obsolete handwriting)
    The result will therefore be the same:  for example for "opra" as for "opera"; “pietade” or “pietà”; “piè” or “piede”; “core” or “cuore”; “medesmo” or “medesimo”; “irruginite” or “arrugginite”; “rota” or “ruota”; “honore” or “onore”; “hoggi“ or “oggi”; “usignuol” or “usignolo” etc.

The field Linked Name searches the field:

  • responsibility ties: it can  concern any type of responsibility (composer, author of the text, dedicatee, possessor, performer, etc.). You can enter name and surname, or surname and name, or only the surname of the person you are looking for, but you can look for only one person at a time.

Additional search fields

However, the following can also be used independently, i.e. without having specified anything in the search by title or in the search in the text:

  • document type (with drop-down menu)
  • bibliographic level (with drop-down menu)
  • date from / to: enter the year or years of reference for the research. It refers to the year of publication of a document or of the preparation of a manuscript (it is not the date of composition)
  • dating (with drop-down menu): refers to the year of edition of a publication or of the drafting of a manuscript (not the date of composition)
  • publisher / handwriter
  • place of publication/manufacturing
  • notes
  • music presentation (with drop-down menu)
  • musical form (with drop-down menu)
  • organic (synthetic or analytical): insert for example "1V,1str" "2V,Coro (3V), 8str" or "S,bc" "S,2fl, 2ob, 2cor, 2tr, 2vl,vla,bc" For initials see:
  • hue (with drop-down menu)
  • RISM library abbreviation (with drop-down menu)
  • name of the fund or collection
  • placement of the document