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Africa: Music

The British Library's Music Collections hold the national reference collections of manuscript and printed music. The collections are strong in primary sources for the history of music in Britain, but also contain a small number of African items.

The collections include African music published in the United Kingdom as well as music, hymn books, folk songs and national anthems from a number of African countries and in several African languages. There are also works published by UK, North American and European music publishers or composers of African descent such as the Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1739-99), Ignatius Sancho (1729-80) and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912). The catalogues of the music collections are described here.

Letters of the late Ignatius Sancho

Frontispiece from Letters of the late Ignatius Sancho, an African, British Library 1607/1717. Copyright © The British Library Board



African suite

'African suite' op. 35c by Samuel Coleridge Taylor, August, 1898. British Library Additional MS. 54371, f.10 [Galliard Collection] Copyright © 1997, The British Library Board


Music Collections
The British Library
96 Euston Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7772
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7751

E-mail: Ask the Music Reference Team