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What does Urtext mean?

The underlying idea is simple and easy to understand: The musician is offered a musical score that solely reflects the composer’s intentions.


In order to be able to produce an Urtext edition, a scholarly editor must first strip away all the distorted layers, by means of source criticism. This evaluates whether, and to what extent, an existing document (for instance a music manuscript or a printed edition) was authorised by the composer or not.


Once the Urtext editor is sure of having identified the primary textual witnesses (sources), so the ones that the composer has authorised, these must be painstakingly compared – note by note, marking by marking. Which source hands down the passage in the “correct” form (the composer’s definitive version), and which is “wrong”? If this cannot be ascertained beyond a doubt, the decision that was reached is explained in the Preface, in the footnotes or in the accompanying Critical commentary.


If you would like to find out more about this topic, please go to the following page: What is Urtext?



Our editions

Why does the shade of blue used for the Henle Urtext cover sometimes differ?

Although the exact same shade of blue is specified for all the Urtext covers and used in the dyeing process, the colour of some copies differs. This is because we source the card for our covers from two different paper manufacturers – one in France and one in Bavaria.


Which music engraving programme does G. Henle Publishers use?

Each of the three digital music notation software programmes that we use (Finale®, Sibelius and Amadeus) uses specially developed fonts to render the appearance of the original historical engraving tools. These fonts are not commercially available and thus make the Henle layout unique.

If you are interested in learning about how we used to engrave music by hand (up to the year 2000), we suggest watching our informative video on YouTube.


Why is there a small letter at the end of the edition?

We indicate the print runs of our editions by letters in alphabetical order: A = 1st print run, B = 2nd print run, C = 3rd print run ... etc.

Several of our early editions (such as the Well-Tempered Piano, HN 14) have been reprinted so many times that we have had to start going through the alphabet a second time:  2A, 2B etc.

For some years now, reprints that have undergone an extensive revision have been given a new HN order number (for example the Chopin Préludes, earlier edition HN 73 => today HN 882). These revised and reprinted editions also start from the beginning again, so with “A”.


What do the brackets represent in the musical scores?

The brackets (for the most part parentheses) indicate additions by the editor. Whenever parentheses and square brackets (such as in Haydn’s String Quartets) occur, these are explained in the accompanying texts. Square brackets can, for example, be used to indicate that markings stem from secondary sources.


Are the footnotes in the editions of the parts identical to those in the score, and why are there fewer footnotes in the parts than in the score?

The individual parts of an edition sometimes contain fewer footnotes than the score, as the ones that apply to a specific part are only provided in that particular one (e.g. the execution of a double stop in the viola part or a questionable note in violin 1 in a string quartet). All the footnotes in the parts are also provided in the score.


Where can I find the comments (“Critical commentary”) in a set of parts (violin I, or oboe I, etc.)?

The accompanying texts (Preface and Comments) are usually found in the main or uppermost part (violin 1 in chamber music for strings, piano in chamber music with piano, flute with wind quintet, etc.).


How do we deal with cautionary accidentals?

New cautionary accidentals are added without any additional marking wherever deemed appropriate from a musical perspective at the discretion of the editor responsible for the edition (but always sparingly). Conversely, superfluous cautionary accidentals in the sources are occasionally removed without further comment. For more detailed information please refer to the section “About this edition” in the Comments in the edition in question.


In my edition there is a note that an extensive Critical commentary/an additional part can be downloaded at Where exactly can I do this?

Additional downloads or audios can be found on the relevant page for the edition in our web shop. For example, here you can find the additional Arpeggione part for Schubert’s Sonata D 821. Tip: Simply enter the HN number of the edition in question in the search field on the Henle web shop page, e.g. “HN611”, to go straight to the relevant work.


With editions for wind instruments such as clarinet, horn or trumpet, Henle sometimes offers several parts for the same instrument. Why is this?

These instruments are played in different keys, some of which are only widespread among specialists. As a publisher of Urtext editions we naturally offer the original parts (e.g. clarinet in C or horn in E flat), but at the same time we also take performance practice into account. Thus, with works for clarinet there is also a part in B-flat if the piece can also be played on the clarinet in B-flat, the one that is most played today. As far as the horn is concerned, there are also regional differences. In the US the modern notation for horn in F is widespread, which is why we also offer horn parts in F.


Why does G. Henle Publishers not have any orchestral material?

We publish large-scale orchestral works as part of our scholarly complete editions or in the form of piano reductions. We have cooperation and licence agreements with music publishing houses that have specialised in the production and sales of orchestral material. G. Henle Publishers only sells music editions for solo use or chamber music ensembles.


Why does G. Henle Publishers not publish any contemporary music?

Since our publishing house was founded by Günter Henle, we have almost exclusively focused on the scholarly publication of Urtext editions from the Baroque period onwards. For copyright reasons we have thus only concentrated on works that are not bound by copyright (in Germany from 70 years after the death of the composer). Thus, we are unable to offer contemporary music works (for the time being) in our catalogue. Our one exception is the compositions of Evgeny Kissin, for whom we are the exclusive global publisher.

Please also read our blog entry on this topic.



Ordering, payment and shipping


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Working with G. Henle Publishers

I would like to publish my compositions with G. Henle Publishers.

Unlike most other music publishing houses, since our publishing house was founded by Günter Henle we have more or less exclusively focused on the scholarly publication of Urtext editions from the Baroque period onwards. We only publish the “classics” not contemporary compositions. Our one exception is the compositions by Evgeny Kissin, for whom we are the exclusive global publisher.


I would like to work with G. Henle Publishers as an editor or external content editor/proof-reader.

We already work with a large number of experts. Vacancies at the publishing house can be found on our website or our social media channels.


I would be interested in an advertising/marketing cooperation. What should I do?

Please write a brief outline of your musical and professional background and relevant experience in this field (partnerships to date, follower numbers, etc.), outlining as clearly as possible what form this advertising cooperation could take. Then send this information to:



The Henle Library app

What is the Henle Library app?

The Henle Library app provides you with G. Henle Publishers trusted Urtext editions on your tablet. You can download the app from the App Store or Google Play Store and use it free of charge. You only have to purchase the digital editions of music that you want, which are then your property.

The app offers many advantages over the printed editions of the music, including numerous possibilities to individualise the appearance of the music, fingering suggestions from a variety of artists, an integrated metronome as well as a recording tool. You can read about the different digital features of our Henle music on our website



Permission to reproduce/Licensing

I need to make photocopies of Henle music for the jury at a competition or for an examination. How can I get permission to do so?

As a rule, we allow people to make photocopies of our music for examinations, competitions or similar purposes free of charge. We expect the copies to be destroyed afterwards. To obtain permission to do so, please write a short email to Include your name, the reason (examination or competition) and the name of the work that you would like to reproduce. We will send you a prompt reply.


I am writing a scholarly publication or dissertation and would like to include excerpts from Henle music in the printed/online publication. How can I obtain permission to do so?

If the excerpts in question are only short musical examples, so a few measures, you do not need any prior written permission. Just please remember to include the copyright line in the credits or in a footnote, e.g. “Copyright 2018 G. Henle Publishers, Munich”. You will find the copyright year on the first page of music of each Henle edition.


I am the author of a musicological publication and would like to include parts of a work or a whole movement in it. How can I obtain permission to do so?

Depending on the work and the length of the piece you would like to reproduce, we will either grant you permission free of charge or ask you to pay a licensing fee. Please send an email to It should include information such as the planned publication and a list of pages that you would like to include.  


I would like to publish a recording of myself playing on YouTube and would like to show the Henle music in the film so that the viewers can read along. Is this permitted?

Without prior permission from the copyright holder, you are not allowed to publish a complete view of the music in a film. If you do not have permission from the copyright holder, you can be told to remove the film. So, please contact us at Send us details of the exact version you would like to use and a link to the Henle web shop. If you have our written permission, you may publish your film on YouTube.