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Subdivision of sketches by Beethoven in the digital archive



Beethoven mainly worked with hardback sketchbooks and not single sheets. In general there are two formats:

  • Large-format hardback books which he used at his desk at home, the so-called "sketchbooks".

  • Small and thin booklets which he kept in his pockets when going out, the so-called "pocket sketchbooks".

The system of classification - that much is known - does not follow the actual status quo but the degree of use. The books are therefore classified by complete sketchbooks. Many of the composer's sketchbooks were auctioned off after his death and separated in parts and even single sheets. If permitted by research findings, single sheets are filed under the name of the book they once belonged to, even though the book itself does not exist anymore or its remains are not kept at the Beethoven-Haus.
Examples:
  • The "Sauer" sketchbook was separated into single sheets by its previous owner, antique dealer Sauer, and spread around the whole world. Still, the sheets are filed under "Sketchbooks" and not "Single Sheets".

  • "Grasnick 2" is a sketchbook kept at the Berlin State Library - Prussian Cultural Heritage. The Beethoven-Haus owns a single sheet, BH 115, taken out of this book. Still, BH 115 is filed under "Sketchbooks", "Grasnick 2".

  • The "Petter" sketchbook, owned by the Beethoven-Haus, is quite complete but still lost many pages now kept by various owners. Many of these single sheets have returned to the Beethoven-Haus. Therefore, both the book as well as its single sheets are filed under "Sketchbooks", "Petter".

The category "Single Sheets" contains all sheets (single and double) that were real single sheets when created or for which it is not yet clear to which book they belong. These sheets were filed by decades in a chronological order according to their dating in research and independent from Beethoven's life or work periods. An exception is the year 1792 when Beethoven moved from Bonn to Vienna. The classification system is based on the book "The Beethoven Sketchbooks. History - Reconstruction - Inventory" by D. Johnson, A. Tyson and R. Winter (with contributions by S. Brandenburg), Oxford 1985, as well as facsimiles and copies published in the first publication series of the publications by the Beethoven-Haus Publishers.