Watermark evidence […] is most useful in conjunction with other evidence such as handwriting, type styles and staff rulings. Patterns of change, or indications of date and place, in more than one of these elements have a strong corroborative effect: the imprecision of each is to a large extent negated, and watermarks can then become a most potent research tool. (Stanley Boorman, 'Watermarks' in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2001, Vol. 29, online ed.)

Despite being a recognised powerful and unique research tool, musicological source criticism, particularly paper and handwriting studies, is a much-neglected discipline in Portugal. MARCMUS - Music paper and handwriting studies in Portugal (18th and 19th centuries): the case study of the collection of the Count of Redondo, aims to systematically record and digitally preserve the watermarks and paper-types (the conjunction of the watermark and the number and size of staves drawn by rastra) of the Count of Redondo Collection music manuscripts. It also records the literary and music handwritings of the copyists and composers involved (the collection, housed at Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, possesses a significant number of autographs). This site allows free access to the resulting relational databases (watermarks/paper-types and handwritings). The databases are also available at the Bernstein Project: the Memory of Paper, the largest international project of its kind (in 10 languages) which includes 53 collections and more than 320,000 researchable watermarks.


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