The Complete Edition of the Musical Works of Arnold Schönberg has the task of making the compositional work of this composer accessible to the public in its entirety. Within the framework of this edition, therefore, not only the works in their final version will be published, but also the composer's early versions and arrangements; not only the completed compositions, but also the fragments; not only the final text of a work, but also all sketches or compositional drafts. About 70 volumes in two series are planned, as well as supplementary volumes. Series A contains the completed works and the performable unfinished works, Series B the early versions of completed works, unfinished works, sketches and drafts as well as the Critical Report. In addition, the volumes of Series B publish documents on the history of the works and explanations for understanding the material.
In the Schönberg Complete Edition, differentiated editorial standards are applied to the music of the 20th century for the first time. The musical texts presented differ considerably from one another both in terms of their place in the compositional process and in their validity as a work, in their work nature. The editing principles must take this into account: the work edition on the one hand is contrasted with the source edition on the other. The edition of the completed compositions aims at an authentic text of the work, which is based on one or more main sources after a critical examination of all available sources; the edition of the sketches, on the other hand, should reproduce the text of the respective source as faithfully as possible. The complete edition claims to be a scholarly one and yet at the same time to serve musical practice. In addition to the general preparatory work for the edition, the editorial supervision of volumes and the time-consuming correction work, projects accompanying the edition are also being carried out (catalogue of sources, description of the sketchbooks, chronology of musical works and writings, index of paper types, bibliographical database of publications on Arnold Schönberg's work, correspondence archive).