The NEEMF Music Library

Our library contains around 700 items, mostly items of music in performing editions but also some non-performing editions and some books related to early music.

The holdings include music for varying numbers of voices; for recorders; for unspecified instruments; and for violin, flute, and other specified instruments. There are small scale chamber music pieces, such as trio sonatas, and larger scale pieces, up to the famous 40-part Spem in Alium. We also hold a number of pieces for lute. There is good coverage of publications by London Pro Musica, and a number of smaller publishers are represented. There are also many items that are not commercially produced, particularly music assembled for NEEMF workshops, either downloaded from CPDL or specially edited, for which there will often be 20 or 30 copies.

Besides the music items, we also hold a number of books devoted to early music, its history and performance, etc.

Much of our holdings are housed by the National Centre for Early Music, to whom we extend our grateful thanks. Other holdings, especially the workshop copies, are housed elsewhere, in peoples’ houses (and we thank them, as well). Physical browsing is not feasible, but we have provided what we hope are effective search routes to find suitable music, and where we have received permission there is a downloadable pdf of a sample page, to help to decide whether an item is suitable.

Items may be borrowed by members of NEEMF and other early music forums, or by special arrangement with the Librarian (see under ‘Borrowing procedure’). There is (or rather, will be, when it’s been set up) a PayPal button allowing visitors to make a contribution to NEEMF funds. Borrowers from outside NEEMF are particularly encouraged to make a small donation to help defray the costs of cataloguing the collection and maintaining the website.

Apart from the workshop copies, the library holdings are based on donations and bequests, and we are very grateful to all the donors, without whom this library would not exist.

About copyright

Many publishers have allowed us to display sample pages of their music, in fact some of them even sent us the files to use. We are extremely grateful to them: these images will greatly help online browsers choose the most suitable music.

In return, we ask borrowers not to reproduce music from the NEEMF library (except items from IMSLP and CPDL, which typically allow copying). If you need another copy, do please buy it, if at all possible. Music might look expensive at first glance, but in reality it’s very cheap; for less than the price of a meal in a restaurant you get something that can be played again and again and will last your lifetime or more. The editors and publishers of early music deserve their royalties!


NEEMF, the North East Early Music Forum, is an association of people who enjoy early music (medieval, renaissance, baroque and early classical). If you like it too, we would be delighted if you became a member, especially if you live in our area - Yorkshire, Humberside, Durham and Northumberland. Visit the NEEMF website for more information