Music Printing in the Renaissance

This is a small video that, in a very clear and resumed way, shows how music books were printed in the sixteenth century and afterwards. It features the process using movable pieces of type, very similar to that of traditional printing of the time.

Most of the video takes place in the Plantin workshop in Antwerp, one of the most important music printing houses of Europe during the sixteenth century and where Portuguese composer Duarte Lobo printed four polyphony books in 1602, 1607, 1621 and 1639 respectively. The video is provided by The Open University.



14 Comments Add yours

  1. Steve Smith says:

    Great video! Thanks for sharing this


  2. What a fascinating video. I was pleased to have come across it via your site as it is not a subject I would normally seek out, yet it is of great interest to me from both the musical and printing aspects.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I think it’s been one of my blog’s most popular posts. The video is, in my opinion, very clear and reachable in terms of explaining the various stages of the music printing process using pieces of type. In most aspects it is quite similar to the general principles of printing in those times.


  3. Yes, an excellent video, and “those times” when “the general principles of printing” applied are not so long ago. There will still be many redundant Typesetters around today (albeit, old) whose work applied the very same principles and materials.


  4. Jan Jakob Mooij says:

    very nice. Where to find the next step in printing, the fast instrumental music referred to at the end of the video?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jan, thanks for your comment and question. I believe the new process referred in the video is that of music engraving in copper plates developed by Walsh and Estienne Roger. What he means by “fast instrumental music” is that too many notes for bar or staff, i.e. a violin work (as you can hear in the soundtrack). I think there are videos explaining the process on youtube.
      all best,


  5. A wonderful video! Many thanks for sharing :)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am so happy you liked that post on the new museum in Pueblo because it lead me to your blog. :) I can’t wait to share it with my friends here at the University of North Texas who do Renaissance studies. _/|\_

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Keith.
      all best


  7. d.a.r.g. says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It gives one ideas for possibilities in creative projects…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hans Krol says:

    Interesting! Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A N T S says:


    Liked by 1 person

  10. James Gray says:

    Reblogged this on jamesgray2 and commented:
    A very nice example and explanation of music printing.

    Liked by 1 person

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