The Portuguese Early Music Database allows free and universal access to a large number of manuscripts with musical notation 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. There are many search capabilities that are immediately available to the visitor. A PEM account is required in order to zoom in on the digital images in high resolution. To create an account, click here. 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, notation, etc. Once a manuscript is selected, the researcher is presented with the contents of that source, along with its corresponding images. Under 'Compositions', 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.
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.
The CANTUS Database contributed expertise and shares jointly-developed input tools, allowing selected codices in PEM to also be searched in Cantus. 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.