Welcome to PEM

The Portuguese Early Music Database allows free and universal access to a large number of manuscripts with musical notation mostly written before c. 1650 preserved in many different libraries and archives in Portugal and surrounding Spanish locations. Every manuscript is given in full-colour reproduction and entered with a general description. Fragments are indexed in full. Selected codices with monophonic or polyphonic music are also fully indexed. In a few cases sources without notation were included for comparative purposes. There are many search capabilities that are immediately available to the visitor. Under Sources, the visitor is able to search for manuscripts according to location, type and century (single or multiple choice), in addition to more detailed information such as shelf-mark, provenance, type of notation and other available criteria. Once a manuscript is selected, the researcher is presented with the contents of that source, along with its corresponding images. Under Musical items, the visitor is able to locate specific chants or polyphonic items in the indexed manuscripts, and to search by composer. Under Archives, a list of Iberian collections and libraries are listed using RISM sigla and can be searched.

PEM Team

Manuel Pedro Ferreira | Director

Elsa De Luca | Coordinator of Monophonic Sources

Bernadette Nelson | Coordinator of Polyphonic Sources

Alberto Medina de Seiça | Andrew Woolley | João Pedro d'Alvarenga Zuelma Chaves | Editors

Leandra Scappaticci †Dario Personeni |  Paleography Advisors

David Burn | Debra Lacoste | Maricarmen Gómez Muntané | Owen Rees | Saul António Gomes | Susan L. Boynton | Consultative Board

Main Contributors: Alberto Medina de Seiça | Ana Sá Carvalho | Andrew Woolley | Bernadette Nelson | Carla CrespoDiogo Alte da Veiga | Elsa De Luca | Giulio Minniti | Kathleen Nelson | Nuno Raimundo | Océane Boudeau | Zuelma Chaves

» Full list of contributors with links to the sources

Jan Koláček | Web / Database Developer

Rui Araújo | IT Assistant


The PEM database was established as part of the FCT-funded project "Musical exchanges, 1100-1650: The circulation of early music in Europe and overseas in Iberian and Iberian-related sources" / «Intercâmbios musicais, 1100-1650: A circulação de música antiga na Europa e além-mar em fontes ibéricas ou conexas» (PTDC/EAT-MMU/105624/2008), directed by Manuel Pedro Ferreira at CESEM, FCSH-Universidade Nova de Lisboa, between 2010 and 2013.

PEM is a continuation of an earlier project led by M. P. Ferreira entitled "Digital survey of pre-1600 musical sources" / «Levantamento digital de património musical manuscrito (antes de 1600)» (POCTI/EAT/46895/2002), 2005-2008.

PEM is part of the Cantus Index Network and is connected to other international medieval music databases by means of unique Cantus ID numbers. PEM’s instructions for indexing plainchant are based on the rules originally established by the CANTUS Database (now Cantus Manuscript Database), which was the forerunner of online medieval music databases for plainchant sources. However, PEM's instructions expand these rules by integrating other descriptive fields that allow to further specify the codicological features of musical manuscripts. Furthermore, PEM is the first online chant database that started to systematically catalogue and create musical indexes of chants for the Proper of the Mass. PEM contents are published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) licence.