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COLLECTION Identifier: Ms. Coll. 136

Otto Gombosi Papers, 1925-1955.


Music and text transcriptions, notes, and drafts documenting thirty years of research in historical musicology.


  • Creation: 1925-1955.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to the collection is unrestricted, apart from university records.


1 collection (14 file boxes, 12 linear feet)

The collection contains notes and transcriptions organized by subject area, for example fifteenth century basse danse, ground bass patterns, lute sources, or particular composers such as Bakfark and Capirola; other folders are assigned to specific print or manuscript sources, and contain Gombosi’s inventories, incipits and transcriptions.

Biographical and Historical Note

Otto Gombosi (1902-1955) was an American musicologist of Hungarian birth. After settling in the United States in 1939, Gombosi held positions at the University of Washington at Seattle (1940-46), Chicago (1949-51) and Harvard University (1951-55). Following his 1925 dissertation on Obrecht, Gombosi did extensive work on Renaissance vocal polyphony, transcribing for the first time the works of many of Obrecht’s contemporaries. He also explored lute music of the Renaissance, culminating in a monograph on Bálint Bakfark and an edition of the Vincenzo Capirola Lutebook. Perhaps his greatest contribution to scholarship was his concern with musical structure, evident in the notes, diagrams and annotations that pervade the transcriptions found in this collection. Adapted from F.W. Sternfeld. "Gombosi, Otto." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.

Processing Information

Processed by: Sarah Adams and Douglas Freundlich

Finding aid encoded by Christina Linklater

Otto Gombosi Papers, 1925-1955.
Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library Repository

The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library is the primary repository of musical materials at Harvard. The Music Library’s collecting mission is to serve music teaching and research programs in the Music Department and throughout the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In addition, it supports the musical needs of the broader Harvard community as well as an international scholarly constituency. We collect books, musical scores, serial titles, sound recordings and video formats, microforms, and rare and archival materials that support research in a wide variety of musical disciplines including historical musicology, music theory, ethnomusicology, composition, and historically informed performance practice, as well as interdisciplinary areas related to music. The special collections include archival collections from the 19th, 20th and 21st century.

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