Welcome to CHMTL

Giuliano Di Bacco

Director of CHMTL

Established in 1998, the Center for the History of Music Theory and Literature (CHMTL) brings together various research activities and projects in the fields of music theory and historical musicology centered at the Jacobs School of Music, also in collaboration with other institutions in the United States and abroad.

Our aim is to serve the scholarly community by gathering, researching and disseminating documents relevant to the history of musical thought. While primarily focused on music theory, our work also aims to document the deep links between music and the other arts and sciences, which have influenced intellectual life from the medieval era to the present. Our earliest projects, first and foremost the Thesaurus Musicarum Latinarum, made pioneering use of technology and the internet by making freely available hundreds of music treatises in Latin dating from the Late Antiquity. In the twenty-first century CHMTL aims to continue to be at the forefront of research in computer-assisted studies of the music of the past.

CHMTL currently hosts projects managed by scholars based at Indiana University and elsewhere. We welcome suggestions and proposals from institutions and individuals engaged in research on any aspect of the history of music theory and literature, and on applications of digital humanities to musicology and related disciplines.

The launch of our new institutional website (November 2012) coincides with the start of a new phase of expansion of the Center. Current projects are being modernized and redeveloped (access to existing resources is still available via the old website while new sub-sites are under construction) and we anticipate embarking on new research and editorial initiatives, hosting workshops and conferences, and making available occasional fellowships for visiting scholars. As these plans develop, notices will be posted in our News page. Updates are also available via subscription to our mailing list and on Twitter. 

Illustration: Our website features some close-ups of the Due sportelli di libreria by Giuseppe Maria Crespi (1665-1747). Painted on the outer doors of an actual bookshelf, the painting depicts a view of the library of Father Giovanni Battista Martini, Bolognese composer, theorist and music collector (1706-84). Some forty books, mostly music theory titles, are visible arranged on the shelves along with sheet music and writing tools. (Reproduced by courtesy of the Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca della Musica, Bologna.)