A music collection of European stature

In addition to extensive holdings of printed music and audio media that are available for loan, the Music Department holds one of the world’s largest collections of Wagneriana and is now an important location for the preservation of Swiss music manuscripts from the last 200 years. We exploit our materials in a wide variety of ways. CDs containing music from the holdings are released at irregular intervals under the label “Music from the Zentralbibliothek Zürich”. Each programme in the “Mittagsmusik im Predigerchor” concert series also contains at least one work that can be found in the Zentralbibliothek as a manuscript, first or early edition.


  • 100,000 music scores, predominantly of “classical” music
  • 45,000 audio media
  • DVDs (Turicensia)
  • Some 200 estates of composers, musicians and musicologists
  • Around 15 archives of music publishers, choirs and orchestras
  • Music manuscripts
  • Reference works and catalogues raisonnés
  • Music journals
  • E-piano
  • Listening station of the Swiss National Sound Archives and Memobase from Memoriav

Secondary literature and databases on music can be found in the general holdings. Music manuscripts and documents from estates and archives should be ordered at least one day before required by e-mail to:

Music Department



Sheet music, audio media and DVDs can be found in the Rechercheportal. For research tips see the concise catalogue instructions for music research.

Estates and archive holdings are listed in ZBcollections.ch. For an overview of the estates and collections see the overview of personal estates, collections and documents on individuals.

Individual manuscripts and letters can be found in the Rechercheportal / manuscripts. We have compiled an information sheet on finding and requesting manuscripts and archive materials.

We have digitised our Zurich printed sheet music from the 16th–18th centuries. It can be accessed on the e-rara.ch platform. All digitised printed sheet music at the ZB can be accessed via the Rechercheportal. A selection of music and text manuscripts can be found on the e-manuscripta.ch platform.

Published finding aids:

  • Catalogue of the printed and manuscript sheet music from the 17th to the 19th centuries held by the Allgemeine Musikgesellschaft Zürich, edited by Georg Walter, Zurich 1960: link
  • Erwin R. Jacobi music library, rare issues and manuscripts, compiled by Regula Puskás, Zurich 1973
  • Sheet music library of the Opera House Zurich, holdings in the Zentralbibliothek Zürich, catalogue compiled by Mireille Geering, Winterthur 1995

History of the holdings

The Music Department was set up in 1971 and originally contained the holdings of the old city and cantonal library as well as the library of the Allgemeine Musik-Gesellschaft Zürich (AMG) which was deposited at the ZB. Since then we have systematically acquired sheet music, audio media and secondary literature and expanded our archives to include the estates of composers, musicians and musicologists as well as the archives of local music publishers, choirs and orchestras.