Pro Tips


The default sort is by number of instruments, to find you the ensemble closest to the one you selected. You can also sort by catalogue (BWV 1, BWV 2, BWV 3, …), title (movement title), or relevancy (with solo or textual matches first).

Search by key & meter

In the search box, you can type keys like a major or b flat minor — handy for planning key relationships in concerts or finding things with a desired Affekt. You can also filter by meter, e.g. 4/4 or 3/2. VMII has keys and meters for JS Bach, CPE Bach, Jacquet de La Guerre, and a few others.

Search by instrument counts

The search box also lets you specify how many of each instrument you need: 2 sopranos or 2 oboes 1 flute.

Search by text

When you type text into the search box, VMII searches across movement titles, occasions, composers, and movement and work types, as well as texts and translations. To give the best matches, VMII understands inflected forms (e.g., sleeps = sleeping). This currently works best in English.

Editorial vs original

We’re very precise about what is editorial vs original when cataloguing titles, instrumentation, character names, capitalization, etc. Italic type means something was added by the editor of a critical edition. Grey italic type means that a VMII contributor added something.

Instrument names

When you view an aria, we show the exact instrumentation from the critical edition or manuscript, in its original language. When you search, VMII “rolls up” some very specific instruments (e.g., clarino) to create more general categories (e.g., trumpet). If you prefer to search by the most precise names, use the search box (e.g., here are the clarino arias).

Searching for continuo instruments

When you search for a continuo instrument like harpsichord, you’ll only see movements that call explicitly for harpsichord, either as continuo or solo. If you’re looking especially for solo harpsichord, sort by relevancy to see these matches first.

Finding French dessus lines

When you search for a dessus instrument like flute, you’ll see movements that call explicitly for flute, as well as movements that call for any dessus instrument.

Try your own searches now!

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