Mattias Lundberg

SweLiMuS (Swedish Liturgical Music Sources): An online portal for liturgical music manuscripts in Sweden c.1520-c.1820

SweLiMuS (Swedish Liturgical Music Sources) aims at identification, scholarly cataloguing and description, digitization, and online publication of liturgical music manuscripts in Sweden from c.1520-c.1820. Inventory projects in recent years have left us with a corpus of about 160 known sources, scattered all over the country, and to a large extent owned and stored locally on parish level of the Church of Sweden. They have therefore never received systematic scholarly treatment, and many sources have until recently been completely unknown to research, and will certainly have a great impact on the understanding of music, liturgy and early modern history in future years. It is likely that a smaller number of furher sources will be identified within the SweLiMuS project. The Swedish Reformation reveal in these sources a number of peculiarities, and in some respects a remarkable synthesis of consistency from late-mediaeval circumstances, and later local adaptations in the dioceses. The material is often a hybrid between print and manuscript, since Swedish music prints for a long time printed only texts and staff systems, while note heads were entered in manuscript. This gives the sources a unique descriptive, and not mererly prescriptive value - they testify to what was actually sung on different places, not just what was centrally intended or desired. Their historical importance is considerable on a number of fields in the humanities, besides musicology.
Final report

The project SweLiMuS (Swedish Liturgical Music Sources) was realised between 2019-2021. The project entailed localisation, scholarly catalogisation and description, digitizing and online publication of liturgical music manuscripts and prints from Sweden c.1520-c.1820.

Three persons have worked in the project; Mattias Lundberg (PI) professor of musicology at Uppsala University; Fanny Stenback (photographer and book conservator) and Juliane Peetz-Ullman (cataloger). The project group has worked in liaison with a reference group consisting of Kia Hedell (Ph.D. in musicology and music librarian, Uppsala University Library), Otfried Czaika (professor of church history, MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society, Oslo), Martin Berntson (professor of church history, Gothenburg University), Martin Kjellgren (Ph.D. in history and responsible for a book inventory project in the diocese of Linköping), and Sanna Raninen (Ph.D. in musiocology and research fellow at Uppsala University and Koneen Säätiö).

At the outset of the project around 160 sources as defined above were known (liturgical manuscripts and prints between c.1520-c.1820). The material type is in many cases a hybrid form between print and manuscript, as Swedish music prints for a long time printed only texts and staffs, while the note heads were entered by hand. The cultural significance of the material is considerable in several humanistic disciplines, alongside musicology. During the course of the project a number of further sources have been identified and localised in the field. The aim is that also these will be made accessible in the SweLiMuS portal in the future. The number of private owners and owning institutions is high, which means that the project staff has been collaborating with more than 100 different owners, ranging from the large public archival institutions to church parishes and private owners.


The project has collected and systemized its results in the form of digitized, catalogued and analysed manuscripts and prints in a web portal, available here:

The portal is the starting point for use, exploration, search and identification of sources that have been made available in the project. The images and catalogue entries are accessed through the ALVIN library system ( The portal can be operated by free text search in the metadata for all SweLiMuS entries, and browsed according to chronological dating, to provenance accoring to diocese, or by SweLiMuS (SLMS) number. The portal also presents the working process, the reference group, and gives contact details to the project and the PI. It also comprises a bibliography to literature relating to the SweLiMuS sources, consisting presently of c:a 480 publications (updated regularly). This enables short title quotations for detailed references to the bibliography in the individual Alvin entries.


The three most important results may be summed up as (1) the visibility and accessibility of sources that have previously been missing entirely from the historical understanding of the Swedish reformation; (2) the internationalisation of the Swedish empirical material to the study of Early-Modern liturgical music history, as treated scholarly in the field of musicology; (3) the advances in infrastructure methodology that has enabled (and continue to enable) work with a source situation entirely new to musicology, with over hundred localities with different states of ownership, now gathered in one digital and freely accessible online locality.

The sources are scattered all over the country, for which reason the value of the SweLiMuS portal makes visible material that previously has been unknown also to the most specialized research, and previously very hard to access, due to the fragmented ownership situation. For the same reasons the project makes possible for the first time a focused and systematic treatment in the future.


A number of new research questions have been raised within the project. These pertain to the development of the Swedish language in interplay with liturgy, music and ritual, perspectives from book history, relating to the production and dissemination of liturgical manuscripts, and the emergence and transformation of melodic traditions during long time periods. These perspectives have already had an international and multidisciplinary impact (see list of publications), and laid foundations for extensive further research.


Lundberg, Peetz-Ullman and Stenback held a panel on the project at the scholarly conference "Musikforskning idag", University of Gothenburg, June 12, 2019. The project has presented in a seminar series for the International Association for Music Librarians and Archivists (IAML) in December 2021: Within the framework of Forum for Research about Church Cultural Heritage at Uppsala, Lundberg presented SweLiMuS in the seminar "Sources to Liturgical Music in the Reformation Period: A Scattered and Extensive Cultural Heritage". SweLiMuS has also been presented at a number of scholarly conferences, such as at the Med-Ren in Basel 2019 and the Med-Ren in Lissabon 2021.

During the inventory and local research process the project has garnered considerable attention in radio, newspaper and among local historians, e.g. in Skara (the city council culture blog, November 2020: and in Örebro, where e.g. newspaper Nerikes Allehanda had a four-page coverage of work on the Örebro plenary in February 2021. The project has also been covered by Kyrkans tidning in its earliest phase (October 2018):

SweLiMuS has had a presence at the social media platform Facebook, where the inventory, photography and cataloguing processes have been followed by a wider public. ( According to statistics provided by the platform, around thousand individuals have interacted with the SweLiMuS account, discussed and shared links to catalogue entries.

SweLiMuS has also been integrated in teaching both on bachelor and master levels at the department of musicology at Uppsala University. Workshops concerning work with the sources has been held with students, and master students have begun dissertations on material that has for the first time been made available in the SweLiMuS portal.
Grant administrator
Uppsala University
Reference number
SEK 2,133,000
RJ Infrastructure for research