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Collection of sonatas for two violins, bass and basso continuo

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Part-books in which several hands working together copied 60 sonatas for two violins, bass and basso continuo. Ascriptions were added by an owner, c 1700. Another hand corrected MS. Mus. Sch. e. 401, pp. 56-57.

The instrumental parts are: i, violin 1; ii, violin 2; iii, bass; iv, basso continuo.

1-9. Leli Colista. 9 sonatas, of which 8 are found also in MS. Mus. Sch. d. 256. i lacks first page. i-iii, pp. 1-19; iv, fols. 1v-11.

10-21. [Arcangelo] Corelli. [Op. 1]. i, ii, pp. 20-45; iii, pp. 20-45; iv, fols. 11v-23.

22-23. Nicola Matteis. Sonatas in A major and a set of Divisions in D minor. i, ii, pp. 46-49; iii, pp. 44-47; iv, fols. 23v-25.

24-35. [Arcangelo] Corelli. [Op. 2] 'his last sonatas in 1685'. i, ii, pp. 50-73; iii, pp. 48-71; iv, fols. 25v-37.

36-47: 12 sonatas, all but one of which are found in MS. Mus. Sch. d. 254. See also British Library MS. Add. 33236.

36. Carolo Ruggiero. i, ii, pp. 74-75; iii, pp. 72-73; iv, fols. 37v-38.

37. Dr. [John] Blow. i, ii, pp. 76-77; iii, pp. 74-75; iv, fols. 38v-39.

38. Unidentified English sonata in G major (published as Blow's by W. Gillies Whittaker, Oiseau Lyre, 1933). i, ii, pp. 78-79; iii, pp. 76-77; iv, fols. 39v-40.

39-40. [Arcangelo] Corelli. In A major. i, ii, pp. 80-83; iii, pp. 78-81; iv, fols. 40v-42.

41-43. Henry Purcell. 3 sonatas [Z. 803, 802, 804]. Basso continuo of 43 incomplete. i, ii, pp. 84-89; iii, pp. 82-87; iv, fols. 42v-44v.

44-47. Anonymous sonatas in D major, B flat major, A major and B flat major. i, ii, pp. 90-97; iii, pp. 88-95; iv, fols. 45v-49.

48-59. Giovanni Battista Bassani. [Op. 5]. The basso continuo of sonatas 3-12 missing. i, ii, pp. 98-121; iii, pp. 96-119; iv, fols. 49v-51.

60. Sonata 'I' in F sharp minor. Violin 1 only. i, pp. 122-123.

61. Antonio Biffi. Sonata in A major. i, pp. 124-125; ii, pp. 124-127; iii, pp. 122-124; iv, fols. 52v-53v.

In i, scales are on p. 51 and musical examples in 14 keys in another hand on pp. 126-127.


  • Creation: Date not recorded at time of cataloguing


1 box (4 volumes)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. Mus. Sch. e. 400, fols. 1-2].

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MS. Mus. Sch. e. 400-403 (Former reference: Music School A. 4. 2-5)

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 17436


Part-books in which several hands working together copied 60 sonatas for two violins, bass and basso continuo, [date].

Other Finding Aids

Robert Hake, [Catalogue of the Music School Collection], c 1850-1855. No. XCII.

Falconer Madan, et al., A summary catalogue of western manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford which have not hitherto been catalogued in the Quarto series (7 vols. in 8 [vol. II in 2 parts], Oxford, 1895-1953; reprinted, with corrections in vols. I and VII, Munich, 1980), vol. V, nos. 26898-26901.

Custodial History

This item is part of the Music School collection of printed and manuscript music, which was originally bequeathed to the University of Oxford by William Heather (c 1563-1627), and gradually added to until the end of the 18th century. The present manuscript was once owned by R. Rawlinson (bookplate).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was transferred to the Bodleian in 1885.


  • Min-Jung Kang, 'The sonata in Restoration England: from fantasia suites to early English trio sonatas', Journal of Musicological Research, 39:4 (2020), 276-300.

Physical Facet

Four instrumental parts, 128, 130, 126 pages and 66 leaves, respectively. Watermark of i, Bend and Lily; ii-iv, Fleur de Lys, countermark IP. Quiring various. Ruled with 8 5-lines staves, red marginal ruling. Rough calf binding, blind tooling. Bookplate of Richard Rawlinson.


Large oblong quarto

Collection of sonatas for two violins, bass and basso continuo
EAD version 2019
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom