About the project

A rich celebration of our musical heritage, Discovering Music: early 20th century is a free online learning resource that provides unprecedented access to the British Library’s music collections.

This phase of the project features over 100 treasures from the Library’s collections including manuscripts, first editions, letters, concert programmes, sound recordings and photographs. 

Reflecting a period of intense musical activity, the site reveals the ways in which key composers of the period experimented with new forms and genres, and responded to the social, political and cultural environment of their time. The site includes fascinating manuscripts by, among others, Benjamin Britten, Edward Elgar, Frederick Delius, Maurice Ravel, Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern. Users can also browse articles, information on specific musical works, and teachers’ notes designed to support the study of music at GCSE and A Level.

In addition to the article authors we would like to thank the following project advisors, partners, and contributors:

Roger Buckley

Joanna Bullivant

Lionel Carley

Rebecca Clarey

Helen Faulkner

Daniel Grimley

Sarah Kirby

David Lewis

Kevin Page

Barry Smith

The Delius Trust

The Harrison Sisters' Trust

The University of Oxford

The Villiers String Quartet

With thanks to all the individuals and estates who have so generously allowed us to put this archival material online. 

Discovering Music has been supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Delius Trust.


Access and Reuse Guidance Notes for Discovering Music: early 20th century

The British Library asks that anyone reusing digital images from this collection applies the following principles:

  • Please respect the creators – ensure traditional cultural expressions and all ethical concerns in the use of the material are considered, and any information relating to the creator is clear and accurate. 
  • Please credit the source of the material – providing a link back to the image on the British Library’s website will encourage others to explore and use the collections.

This usage guide for images is based on goodwill. It is not a legal contract. We ask that you respect it.

For any further questions please contact copyright@bl.uk.