Gathering extensive information on prints of sacred music has been a wish of the musicological community for many decades. Such information is of paramount importance for the bibliography of music in general, especially in the seventeenth century, when the printing press produced its greatest output in the sacred domain. The scope of the present database is to cover all sacred music printed in Europe, 1500-1800. It comprises the data collected in the 'Bibliografia della musica sacra pubblicata in Italia fra il 1500 e il 1725 circa' (Venice, Fondazione Cini). The editions now preserved with Catholic music published in Switzerland up to 1800, and the editions with comparable repertoire circulated in the Alpine region, are inserted in the database in the course of a research project started in 2010 by the Institute of Musicology of Fribourg University and the Swiss RISM Office, with the support of the Swiss National Science Foundation.
The data is compared to existing bibliographical tools, e.g., RISM A/I and B/I. The database is compliant with the RISM cataloguing scheme based on the MARC21 metadata format. It also contains text incipits and music incipits (in DARMS code) of the printed works. In addition to the bibliographical information, it includes preliminary and concluding textual material of the documents (i.e., title pages, dedications, laudatory poems, advice to users, imprimatur, indices, and colophons). The additional information helps to reveal the network of sponsorships and market strategies that connected dedicatees, printers and booksellers, and to cross-check this data with the circulation of the musical repertoire.