The Beethoven-House in Bonn has recently added to its Digital Archives the sketchbooks of Ludwig van Beethoven. The Archives include digitized first-edition scores, manuscripts, letters, and now sketchbooks. The sketchbooks are particularly important for scholars to understand Beethoven’s creative process. Beethoven had two types of sketchbooks. At his home, he jotted down ideas in large hardbound volumes. But, when he was not at home, he carried smaller, soft-bound books to capture ideas as he was on his way. After his death, many of the sketchbooks were taken apart and pages sold separately. Now, cooperation between many libraries has made possible and accessible a nearly complete collection of all of Beethoven’s extant sketchbooks, not only those kept at the Beethoven-House. Detailed explanations in English of each page of the pieces involved, watermarks, and history of the particular sketchbook enhance this already rich and interesting resource.
At the Beethoven-House Digital Archive, one can search for a specific piece of music and find a digitized first edition, perhaps a manuscript, as well as relevent letters and sketches. Letters are linked with sound files of audio versions. Some sound files of musical examples are also included.
Exploring the Digital Archive of the Beethoven-House is truly exciting, made even moreso by the addition of Beethoven’s sketchbooks.
Beethoven Resources at Temple Libraries
Paley Library has a strong collection of books about Beethoven as well as scoresby him. To listen to music by Beethoven, go to Classical Music Library, a streaming audio service, access provided by Temple University Libraries.