Musica Britannica was founded in 1951 as an authoritative national collection of British music. It is designed to stand alongside existing library editions, and to explore the vast heritage of material still largely untouched by them, thus making available a representative survey of the British contribution to music in Europe. Although its chief purpose is an accurate and scholarly presentation of the original texts, it is also intended to provide a basis for practical performance. One of its co-founders, Anthony Lewis, served as the publication's first chief editor for many years.
A programme about the project, with musical examples, was broadcast on Radio 3 on July 9, 2011 beginning at 1.00pm, as The Early Music Show.