Letters & Documents


The Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation currently holds approximately half of the known letters and documents of the Mozart family, thus possessing the largest collection of this kind worldwide. The majority of the circa 700 documents consist of the handwritten correspondence between Wolfgang Amadé Mozart and his father, Leopold. Also included are numerous letters by Constanze Mozart (most in the hand of her second husband, Georg Nikolaus von Nissen) as well as letters by Mozart’s two sons, Carl Thomas and Franz Xaver Wolfgang. All known and accessible letters by Leopold and Wolfgang Amadé Mozart have been published by Wilhelm A. Bauer and Otto Erich Deutsch in the 1962 Complete Edition: Briefe und Aufzeichnungen.

In addition to those known manuscripts previously published in the Complete Edition, the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation also holds an extensive and fascinating document collection which extends its scope well into the 19th century. This substantial collection includes not only letters but “friendship books” of the Mozart family, various receipts, as well as documentation from the estate of several family members including the sisters of Constanze, Sophie Haibel and Aloysia Lange, and Mozart’s own sister, Maria Anna von Berchtold zu Sonnenburg. The collection retains the so-called Nissen-Kollektaneen, the collection of documents used by Nissen for the preparation of his Mozart biography, which was published posthumously in 1829. Numerous pages concerning the history of the Mozarteum Foundation and the Salzburg Mozart honors (including the erection of the Mozart monument 1842), a part of the Aloys Fuchs estate as well as letters and documents related to Mozart and persons influential in Mozart research complement this extensive collection of over 600 documents in the archive of the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation.

In cooperation with the Packard Humanities Institute, Los Altos/California, the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation has digitized all of these historical letters and documents at the highest technical standard. The goal of this project is the online publication of all letters and documents related to the Mozart family as well as related letters and documents spanning from 1740 (when Leopold Mozart arrived in Salzburg ) to 1880 (the founding of the International Mozarteum Foundation) as both image and text. The collection will be accessible to the public at large.

Beginning with its own resources, the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation hopes to expand this online publication step by step, incorporating all documents, even those which are missing or which only appear partially in the Complete Edition. The long term goal of the project is the publication of a new Complete Edition of letters and documents. Through this ambitious project, the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation hopes to draw interest and encourage owners of additional Mozart manuscripts to share their “treasures” in this online platform.

The website of the Digital Mozart Edition (DME) serves as a platform to present research results from other Mozart projects.


The correspondence of Wolfgang Amadé Mozart and his family, published in print, from 1962 on, in the complete edition by Wilhelm A. Bauer and Otto Erich Deutsch, is continuously revised according to the sources. Gaps have been filled and the publication of the correspondence up to 1858, which Bauer/Deutsch (BD) had only published partially and in excerpts, is systematically continued. In addition more letters and documents of the Mozart family and on the institutional history preserved in the archives of the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation will be published on a large scale.

The texts are presented in diplomatic transcripts (html format). The Editorial Guidelines inform about editorial decisions and how they are displayed. The reproduction in html format differentiates between the original text document (in the case of letters the version the writer prepared for mailing) and annotations in the manuscript by later hands (numberings, signatures, stamps/seals, commentaries about the provenance, the writer, etc.).

A printable version of the text body (in the case of letters including the address) without the annotations by later hands is available to users as a PDF document.

1. Letters of the Mozart Family up to 1791

At the moment, the new edition covers the letters by Leopold Mozart to the publisher Johann Jakob Lotter in Augburg (1755–1756, and 1763), the letters by Leopold Mozart written during the travels of the Mozart family in the years 1762 to 1768, among them the “Great Travel through Western Europe”, the correspondence during the journeys of Wolfgang Amadé Mozart in the years 1769 to 1781, as well as the letters of his Viennese years from 1781 to 1791 including the travels to Prague (1787, 1791), Leipzig and Berlin (1789), as well as Frankfurt (1790). Also available are the letters by Leopold Mozart to his daughter, Maria Anna von Berchtold zu Sonnenburg, in the years 1784 to 1787.

1.1 Letters from Leopold Mozart to Johann Jakob Lotter

In the context of publishing his book A Comprehensive Treatise on the Fundamental Principles of Violin Playing, Leopold Mozart, between 1755 and 1756, had an intensive exchange of letters with the publisher Johann Jakob Lotter in his native town of Augsburg. 29 letters are extant (BD 1–30, 47, deest). The majority of them is preserved in libraries and archives in Augsburg. A letter to the music theorist Meinrad Spieß at Irsee Monastery (BD 9a) complements this part of the correspondence. In this letter, Leopold Mozart discusses the motives for writing his violin treatise.

1.2 Travel Letters

– Journey of the Mozart family to Vienna, October 1762 to January 1763 (BD 32–46)
– Journey of the Mozart family through Europe, Juny 1763 to November 1766 (BD 48–114)
– Journey of the Mozart family to Vienna, September 1767 to December 1768 (BD 116–143)
– Journey of Leopold and Wolfgang Amadé Mozart to Italy, December 1769 to March 1771 (BD 147–238)
– Journey of Leopold and Wolfgang Amadé Mozart to Italy, August to December 1771 (BD 239–260)
– Journey of Leopold and Wolfgang Amadé Mozart to Italy, October 1772 to February 1773 (BD 264–287)
– Journey of Leopold and Wolfgang Amadé Mozart to Vienna, July to September 1773 (BD 288–299)
– Journey of Leopold and Wolfgang Amadé Mozart to Munich, December 1774 to March 1775 (BD 300–318)
– Journey of Wolfgang Amadé and Maria Anna Mozart to Mannheim and Paris, September 1777 to January 1779 (BD 329–521)
– Journey of Wolfgang Amadé Mozart to Munich, November 1780 to February 1781 (BD 535–582)

The Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation holds more than three quarters of the original source material, which can therefore be displayed as a text document as well as digital facsimile. For a small number of letters the autographs are missing; in some cases, however, their texts could be reconstructed using the transcriptions made by Georg Nikolaus Nissen who had access to the originals when preparing the text for his Mozart biography in 1825 (the biography was published posthumously in 1828/1829). For the letters, the originals of which are not in the possession of the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation, for the time being there are usually only transcripts available.

The letters of the early journeys from 1762 to 1768 represent a case of its own. The bulk of the about 70 original letters written by Leopold Mozart to Lorenz Hagenauer between 1762 and 1768 (BD 32–143) during the early travels of the Mozart family are no longer extant today. Therefore, the most important source for them is a contemporary collection of manuscript copies, held today at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz. Since the original letters were kept by the addressee, Leopold Mozart himself commissioned these copies probably with the aim of writing a biography of his son Wolfgang. A total of three unidentified scribes (copyists A, B and C) were involved. Copyist A acted as the main scribe; he copied the bulk of the collection. The hand of Copyist B appears only in the earlier letters (BD 35–50, 64). Copyist C probably had a close personal relationship to Leopold Mozart, because he was commissioned to copy only those letters that were originally marked “For you only” or similar, containing personal information such as financial matters.
Occasionally, Leopold Mozart added some text by himself (pp. 5, 22, and 50), which confirms that the copies were made under his supervision; Leopold Mozart reviewed and thus authorized the copies. Obviously, Leopold Mozart also kept some of the original letters, since in some case no copies have been made. These original letters were once part of the collection; today, most of them are preserved in various libraries.
After the death of Leopold Mozart, the collection of the letter was in the possession of Maria Anna von Berchtold zu Sonnenburg, Leopold’s daughter. In 1824 she made them available to Georg Nikolaus Nissen when the latter worked on his Biographie W. A. Mozart’s. Nissen made numerous, especially orthographic corrections in the transcripts. The bundle was later owned by Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart; around 1840 it can be localized with Aloys Fuchs, who organized the library and later the estate of the younger of the Mozart sons. Fuchs also wrote a title page: “Abschrift | von den Original=Briefen des | Leopold Mozart | (Fürstl. Erzbischöfl. Caplmstr.) | in Salzburg | an den Kaufmann Lorenz Hagenauer | (in Salzburg.) | Die Reisen nach WienMünchenFrankreich | HollandEngland u. s. w. betreffend” – “Copies of the original letters by Leopold Mozart (Kapellmeister to the Prince-Archbishop) in Salzburg to the merchant Lorenz Hagenauer (in Salzburg.) Regarding the travels to Vienna – Munich – France – The Netherlands – England etc.”
As a part of the partial estate of Aloys Fuchs, then in the collection of Friedrich August Grasnick, in 1879, the whole bundle with 468 pages passed on to the Royal Library in Berlin and is now kept in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz (call number: Mus. ep. Mozart, L. Varia 1).

1.3 Letters of the Viennese Years of Wolfgang Amadé Mozart

– Residence in Vienna, March 1781 to December 1791 (BD 583–1200)

From this period, approximately 210 letters and documents by Mozart are preserved. The majority of about 100 letters from the moment of his arrival in Vienna in March 1781 (BD 583) to May 1783 (BD 747) are in the possession of the Foundation, thus enabling their display as text and image. Libraries and archives around the world and some private collectors hold the remainder of about 110 letters, running from June 1783 to Mozart’s death in 1791. Only transcripts can be provided for those letters not in possession of the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation, but links are set to digital reproductions hosted on websites of libraries and archives whenever possible. Since the publication of the complete edition (1962–1975), several letters have been offered on the antiquarian market. A total number of 54 letters is still missing at the moment. These letters are presented according to the first edition (39) or on the basis of transcriptions (15) mostly from the 19th century.

The corpus of letters from the Vienna years can be subdivided in several groups:
– Letters from Mozart to his father Leopold Mozart (103)
– Letters from Mozart to his sister Maria Anna (Nannerl) Mozart, since 23 August 1784 married Freifrau von Berchtold zu Sonnenburg (10)
– Letters from Mozart to his wife Constanze Mozart (39)
– Letters from Mozart to the merchant and Masonic brother Michael Puchberg (21)
– Letters from Mozart to friends, colleagues, and publishers (22)
– Miscellaneous (official applications, leafs from “friendship books”, poems) (8)
– Letter from Robert May O’Reilly to Mozart (1)
– Letters from Leopold Mozart to friends, publishers, and colleagues (11)

For the majority of Mozart’s letters to his wife Constanze and to Michael Puchberg no originals exist. The texts can be presented only based on their first publication, Mozartiana: Nach aufgefundenen Handschriften herausgegeben von Gustav Nottebohm (Leipzig, 1880). This publication too is based on transcriptions; they were made by the publisher Breitkopf & Härtel using the autograph letters Constanze Mozart had sent around 1800 for a planned biography on Mozart. In the 1870-ies, Nottebohm discovered the booklet, now lost, with the transcriptions titled “Materials for the Life of Mozart, communicated by Mozart’s widow”, which he subsequently published. One has to take into account that Nottebohm intervened into the text, eliminating in particular some passages he deemed scandalous. He transcribed them, though, in his personal copy, which is preserved today at the library of the Society of Friends of the Music in Vienna.

1.4 Letters from Leopold Mozart to Maria Anna von Berchtold zu Sonnenburg from 1784 to 1787

On 23 August 1784, Maria Anna Mozart married Johann Baptist Franz von Berchtold zu Sonnenburg, Highprincely-Salzburg Councillor and Guardian of St. Gilgen. Hence, she moved to that small village, 6 hours away from Salzburg. From this moment, Leopold Mozart wrote about 130 letters to her, full of highly interesting information on Salzburg musical life, politics, daily routine, health of Maria Anna’s little son Leopold, born on 15 July 1785, and details from currently lost letters by Wolfgang Amadé Mozart. These letters by Leopold Mozart are almost for their entirety in possession of the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation.

2. Letters and Documents of the Mozart Family from 1792 to 1858

In this section, letters and documents from the Mozart family held by the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation are published. Some 250 documents are currently available. These date primarily from the period after 1800; most have been only published separately or in excerpt form.

The main body consists of the letters of the Mozart family (Constanze Mozart, Georg Nikolaus Nissen, Carl Thomas Mozart, Franz Xavier Wolfgang Mozart, Sophie Haibel) dating from 1791, Wolfgang Amadé Mozart’s death year, and 1858, the death year of his son, Carl Thomas Mozart. Recipients of the letters were family members, publishers, musicians and friends.

Another group of documents consists of third-party letters and documents relating to Mozart’s legacy (his works, the biography of Georg Nikolaus Nissen, etc.). There is a smaller part in the collection of the Foundation containing official documents (including original documents from Wolfgang Amadé Mozart), as well as poems, and other material.

3. Letters and Documents related to the history of institutions from 1841 until 1880

In this part of the project, letters and documents in possession of the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation related to the history of our institution and its predecessors (Dommusikverein und Mozarteum, Internationale Mozartstiftung) until the year of foundation of the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum in 1880 are published. The material comprises letters by musicians such as Clara Schumann, Anton Bruckner, Julius Benedict, or artists such as Anton Romako, a painter who created a Mozart painting for the so-called Magic Flute Summer-House.

4. The “Friendship Book” of Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart (1801–1812)

The Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation preserves the youth album of Franz Xaver Wolfgang Mozart. He received it as a gift in 1801 when he was 10 years old. He used it until 1812, when he already lived in Galicia for four years. The album contains 80 leafs, some with occasional drawings and one piece of notated music by his teacher Johann Georg Albrechtsberger. The Viennese entries give an interesting survey over the guests who attended the musical salon of Constanze Mozart at this time.

At the moment, 1243 documents are available online.

Last Update: March 2020


1. Transcription Policy

The texts will be rendered in a diplomatic transcription taking into account the original line breaks. Customary spellings of the day, errors and peculiarities unique to the scribe will be consistently retained. Obvious misspellings will be indicated with a dotted line, words with an indeterminate reading will be underlined using a dashed line.
Autograph corrections or cross outs by the author will be overlooked implicitly and the “final hand version” will be reproduced. Additional hand-written entries will be highlighted in gray.
When capitalization cannot be positively determined, the editor will make the decisions according to the normal use of the scribe.

The edition differentiates between Kurrent (“Kurrentschrift” or “German cursive”) and Latin-script. Latin letters will be rendered in italics. Georg Nikolaus Nissen used a mixed form between both writing styles. He did not distinguish, for example, between the different form of the letter “a” in Kurrent or in Latin-script. Therefore, only words or letters obviously written in Latin-script (discernible, e.g. in the letters “h” or “e”) will thus be marked in his texts.

2. Standardization

Quotation marks
Quotation marks will be uniformly rendered (“…”). Their contemporary appearance at the beginning of each line will be omitted.

If a hyphen separating the syllables of a compound word appears at the beginning of a line, it will be automatically entered at the end of the previous line of text. When two hyphens appear in use for the same word, then the hyphen which appears before the new line of text will be omitted. Missing hyphens will appear in square brackets. The colon which often occurs in Italian texts of the 18th century will be interpreted and rendered as an equal sign.

The varying markings of abbreviations will be uniformly indicated by the symbol “ç” (e.g. Hç = Herr). If the shorthand notation is used to represent the letter “l”, then the “l” will be used (e.g. “kaiserl. = kaiserlich”). The manu-propria abbreviation (written by hand) will be standardized with the abbreviation “mp”.

Slanted brackets will consistently appear as | : : | or | |. Parentheses will appear as they are (…). Only the square brackets which appear in addenda will be rendered as parentheses.

3. Layout Features

No difference will be made if underlining occurs as a straight line or if it occurs in some other manner. Multiple underlining will be rendered as such.

Indentations in the main text will be standardized to a large extent. Other manners of indentation (e.g. flush-and-hang style) will be interpreted and rendered by indentation.

Date, Salutation and Signature
The date, salutation and signature will be reproduced in position as close to the original as possible.

Unusual Positioning of Text Passages
Passages of text deviating from the main flow of text (e.g. on the left or right edge of the page, upside down, etc.) will appear in gray typeface at the bottom of the same page following the main text passage in a sensible order.

Postscripts will be offset in light gray print.

Addresses: Sender and Recipient
The addresses of sender and recipient will be normalized flush left with no blank lines.

4. Seals, Stamps

Owner’s seals, tax stamps and suchlike, will be reproduced on the same page in chronological order. When several identical seals appear on the same page, only one will be transcribed. Postage stamps will be reproduced in an order according to their value and not to their placement on the page. Verification of unreadable postmarks or handwritten postal comments has not been undertaken.

5. Third party additions

Additions in the hand of a third party will be depicted by small gray typeface, underlining by the hand of a third party is neglected.

6. Additions and Omissions by the Editor

Additions have been reduced to a minimum and are denoted by square brackets.

Loss of text as well as omissions will be denoted by the editor also using square brackets; the reason for the omission or the loss of text will be identified within a parentheses: […(calculations| illegible)].

7. PDF-Print format

The print version in PDF format offers users a printable reading edition and contains the main text and address without additions in the hand of a third party. Color highlights indicating autograph insertions has been omitted. Original line endings have been retained only at the ends of paragraphs. Dates, salutations, and signatures have been standardized and will appear either flush left or flush right. Questionable transcriptions will be identified by a wavy line under the corresponding word.


Project Team DME :: Letters & Documents
Published by the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum, Salzburg, within the Digital Mozart Edition (DME)

Program Director DME: Dr. Ulrich Leisinger
Project Manager: Dr. Anja Morgenstern
IT Development: Mag. Franz Kelnreiter
Editorial Staff: Agnes Amminger (encoding)
Dr. Till Reininghaus (German documents)
Dr. Iacopo Cividini (Italian documents)
Geneviève Geffray (French documents)
Norbert Dubowy, Urs Liska (music examples)

Packard Humanities Institute (PHI), Los Altos/California

Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum (ISM), Salzburg


How to quote
Mozart Letters and Documents – Online Edition, published by the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum, Salzburg (https://dme.mozarteum.at/en/letter-documents/, [date]).

The contents of this project are licensed under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 International License.