The copying of musical works by handwriting was one of the most frequent reproduction techniques until the last century. In the 19th century it was practiced as a craft by both professional and semi-professional copyists. Copies served for dedication purposes (with a fair copy of the autograph handed over to the dedicatee) as well as for the production of parts or conducting scores (to be actually used in performance).  

In the case of Anton Bruckner, known as a composer primarily for his eleven symphonies and three large masses, numerous copies have survived besides the autograph scores. Except for the masses and some of the symphonies, most of his works were only published posthumously. Hence copies were of great importance for their dissemination in the concert repertoire and thus for the composer's popularity. 

Another peculiarity of copies arises with respect to Bruckner’s symphonies and the problem of versions, insofar as the copies document a work status that can sometimes only be partially reconstructed via the ‘original’ manuscripts. Also the parts play a crucial role in these revisions, when changes were made to the musical text for practical performance reasons. Not least in the printing process of the few works printed during Bruckner’s lifetime, the copies were used as engraver’s copies. Thus they represent crucial evidence for the genesis and transmission of works and versions. 

The main goal of the project is to compile a complete list of Bruckner copyists on the basis of the approximately 700 manuscript sources that have been indexed so far. Whereas a list of scribes’ hands has already been established for the Linz period (until 1868) by Paul Hawkshaw, similar research has not yet been undertaken for the later years. This desideratum is all the more important since the majority of Bruckner’s oeuvre was composed during the Viennese period.

A list of scribes, characteristic samples for each copyist by means of image excerpts, and links to the digital copies of the respective sources will be made available via Both the copyists themselves and the listed copies are linked to the corresponding work and person records in the Digital Work Catalogue Anton Bruckner (dWAB) or the Anton-Bruckner-Lexicon online (ABLO).

Project Duration

1 October 2020 ­– 31 October 2021



Clemens Gubsch


Project Partner:

Paul Hawkshaw (Yale University)



Musicology Department Project Website (German)