The collection

César Franck, Ruth, drame biblique en trois partiesThe Music Department is the country’s most important scientific centre for the preservation of musical documents. Its collection consists of:

  • Handwritten and printed scores

  • Letters
  • Printed works
  • Concert programmes and posters

  • Photographs and other iconographic documents

  • Sound archives (78 rpm, 45 rpm and 33 rpm gramophone records, CDs, cassette tapes and magnetic tapes)

  • Varied items (paintings, sculptures, music instruments,…)

The musical heritage of the Royal Library is almost entirely kept in the Music Department. These documents can be consulted in the Reading Room located on the 4th floor.

However, some musical documents are kept in the Manuscript Department, the Rare Books Department and the Prints Department. If you are not sure where a document is located, don’t hesitate to consult the online catalogue.


Musicological reference library

The Music Department was founded in 1965 with works from the Fétis Collection, but its collection has grown since then with the addition of numerous other collections. Scores acquired through the Legal Deposit are also kept in the Music Department.

The Department also purchases items: monographs, the complete works of composers, scores, journals and magazines about music and musicology, dictionaries, encyclopaedias, CDs, CD-ROMs and DVDs and has consequently accumulated a library of musical and musicological reference works that is unique in Belgium.


Henry Vieuxtemps (1820-1881)Internationally renowned musical and musicological expertise

The Music Department’s plays an active part in international organisations such as RILM (the International Repertory of Music Literature) and RISM (the International Inventory of Musical Sources). Since 2002 the Department has been home to the non-profit organisation "Archives Béla Bartók de Belgique. Fonds Denijs Dille".

Every year, Marie Cornaz, the curator of the Music Department, teaches "Patrimoine musical belge" at Université libre de Bruxelles (Brussels University).


Noon concerts

The Music Department organises noon concerts, which highlight repertoire from the Royal Library’s music collection. A journey to the very heart of the scores held by the Library. Concerts are held in the Arthur De Greef Auditorium (capacity 134) or in the circular hall, the Rotunda, at the Palace of Charles of Lorraine.

View the schedule of events



Tel.: +32 (0)2 519 57 51

Contact the department using the contact form