The complete edition of Arnold Schönberg’s musical works has the task, to make the compositional œuvre of this composer accessible to the general public. Therefore, not only the final version of the works is published within the framework of this edition but also the early version and revisions of the composer; not only the completed composition but also the fragments; not only the final texts of a work but also all sketches and composition drafts.
70 volumes in 2 series are planned as well as supplementary volumes. The Series A comprises the complete works and the performable unfinished works, sketches, and drafts as well as the critical report. Furthermore, in the volumes of the series B documents concerning the history of the work and explanations to assist in understanding the material are published. In the Schönberg-Gesamtausgabe, differentiated editorial standards are applied to the music of the 20th century for the first time. The presented sheet music varies significantly with regard to their position in the compositional process as well as their validity as work, their nature of the work. Important for that are the editorial principles: On the one hand the edition of the works and on the other hand the source edition.
The issue of the completed compositions is targeted at one authentic text of the work, which after critical sighting of all available sources is based on one or more main sources. In contrast, the imprint of the sketches should reflect the text of the respective source as faithful as possible. The complete edition claims to be scientific as well as serve the musical practice. Next to the general editorial-preparing work, the editorial supervision of the volumes, and the time-consuming corrections, projects accompanying the editorial works are carried out (catalogue of sources, description of sketchbooks, chronology of the musical works and writings, register of types of paper, bibliographic database of the publications from Arnold Schönberg’s oeuvre, archive of correspondence).