Welcome to PEM

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. 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 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.

PEM Team

Manuel Pedro Ferreira | Director

Elsa De Luca | Coordinator of Monodic Sources

Bernadette Nelson | Coordinator of Polyphonic Sources

Elsa De Luca | Zuelma Chaves | Esperanza Rodríguez-García | Development Coordinators

Leandra Scappaticci † | Consultant

Contributors: Elsa De Luca | Kate Helsen | Bernadette Nelson | Diogo Alte da Veiga | Zuelma Chaves | Ana Sá Carvalho | Carla Crespo | Mara Fortu | Kathleen Nelson | João Pedro d'Alvarenga | Océane Boudeau | Alberto Medina de Seiça | Nuno Raimundo | Francisco Vilaça Lopes | Esperanza Rodríguez-García

» Full list of contributors with links to the sources

Jan Koláček | Web / Database Developer



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.