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The copyist is a scribe whose primary job is to copy (copy) texts that others have written. The term is also used in painting and visual arts to refer to a painter who copies another artist's painting.

On the role of copyists

While copyists were often at work in the scriptories of monasteries and monasteries in the Middle Ages to reproduce ecclesiastical or scientific works, this profession almost completely disappeared with the invention of printing .

In music

Copyists for music, e.g. B. from court orchestras, were mostly employed musicians there. Often they remained anonymous, but can be recognized by their writing, something for musicology, for example in Joseph Haydn research. is meaningful. Music copyists who copy the orchestral parts from the composer's handwritten scores still exist today. A good sheet music copyist can estimate how systems , bars and notes should be arranged on a page in order to enable the musician to read and leaf through as pleasantly as possible. In the past, the copyists were also entrusted with simpler compositional activities such as adding accompanying voices or instrumentation . Although the notation with the computer always achieves better results, it can happen again and again that the parts of a new composition or transpositions are needed at short notice , or the notation of a work is too complex for the notation programs . In such cases a copyist may be necessary.

In the fine arts

Original and copy in the fine arts
The marriage of Tobias and Sarah, by Jan Steen.jpg
The wedding of Tobias and Sara ,
painting by Jan Steen , around 1667
Schroeder The marriage prescription.jpg
The marriage certificate ,
etching by Karl Schröder , before 1844

Duke Anton Ulrich Museum , Braunschweig

Printing forms created by copyists, such as copperplate engravings , steel engravings , etchings and lithographs, served to disseminate works of art from private and manorial collections to a wide audience before the development of photographic reproduction techniques .


Web links

Commons : Schreiber  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : Copyist  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Copyist  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Detailed description in the Austrian Music Lexicon
  2. Ilka Voermann: The copy as an element of princely painting collections in the 19th century . Lukas, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-86732-135-8