Historical archives are institutions holding historical sources, in particular deeds and files, that is to say records created in the past for administrative and legal purposes. Today, historical archives are responsible for preserving administrative documents that will become sources of history in the future. This paper reviews the connection – and disconnection – between archives of this type and musicology. In the field of music-historical research, it is most common to use music libraries and other special music collections, particularly to examine original manuscripts of musical compositions. Music historians have focused less on archival sources, though these are increasingly valued thanks to the influence of cultural history. On the other hand, historians dealing with general history have been little interested in the history of the arts and, particularly, in music history, instead focusing mainly on political, social and economic issues. Archivists have shared these preferences. By contrast, this article presents examples of the potential of archival sources for music-historical research, and shows that Archival Science contributes to the management of written cultural heritage in the field of music as well.
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