The British Library is making available via the web more than 1,000 classical music recordings, many of which are interpretations of well-known movements that have not been generally available before. Recordings made available via the Archival Sound Recordings project include concertos and sinfoniettas from masters such as Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms and Haydn.

The British Library's sound archive project, undertaken in partnership with the Joint Information Systems Committee, is described "a vital new resource for the exploration of western classical music heritage".

As well as providing access to a repository of classical music via the web, the Archival Sound Recordings for the first time brings together recordings previously stored in disparate locations and makes them available for comparison.

Richard Ranft, head of the British Library's Sound Archive, describes the collection as "absolutely crucial tool for academic research".

The intention is that recordings can be compared and melodies compared and the contents of the archive of western classical music used as primary academic source.

The recordings are available to visitors to the British Library reading rooms and can also be freely accessed by licensed UK academic institutions.