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Music: Score Search Tips

Starting points for research in music
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Tips for Finding Scores

Searching for sheet music can sometimes be more complex than searching for books. Here are some tips that will help you to search like a music librarian in UC Library Search:

Use keyword searches! DON'T USE TITLE SEARCHES.

  • Music is published in many different languages. A piece that we might know by an English title might actually be published under its Russian title. A title search needs to be exact or you won't find what you want. Instead use a keyword search which is much broader and has a better chance of finding unofficial titles (like an English translation)
  • Use opus numbers and catalog numbers (like BWV, K, etc.). If you don't know these number they can easily be located in the works listings of Oxford Music Online.
  • Leave out unimportant words that don't add anything to the search (like "for" and "the")

Use a MATERIAL TYPE limiter of "SCORES" in UC Library Search

Use plural forms of generic titles

  • Rather than searching for the singular form of the words symphony, sonata, trio, etc. use the plural form.
    • Symphony = symphonies
    • Sonata = sonatas

For vocal music:

  • Remember, search for song and aria titles as keywords, not titles!
  • You might need to search for the larger work that an aria is from (for example, rather than searching for "Queen of the Night" you might need to search for a score of Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) which will contain this aria.

Tips for Searching in Scholarly Scores (M2 and M3)

How do I find Scholarly Sheet Music in the M3 section(Sets of Complete Works by INDIVIDUAL Composer)?

ProblemThe individual pieces within the scores in the M3 call number section are not individually listed in Library Search.

Solution: Use New Grove!

  • Every individual composer entry in New Grove includes a complete works listing (at the end of the entry). This is where you can find the most authoritative version of the title for a given work.
  • The works listings in New Grove act as an index to the complete works of a composer - those really awesome scholarly scores located in the M3 (call number) section of the library.
    • For example, I'm looking for a scholarly score for J.S. Bach's Toccata and Fugue in d minor (BWV 565). The works listing says this is located in the NBA IV/vi, 31. What does THAT mean?! This means the piece is located in the Neue Bach Ausgabe (M3.B1133) in series 4, volume 6, on page 31.
  • Use either Grove Music Online or the print version in Langson Reference, ML100 .N48 2001

How do I find Scholarly Sheet Music in the M2 section (Sets of Sheet Music by MULTIPLE Composers)?

Problem: The individual pieces within the scores in the M2 call number section are not individually listed in Library Search.

Solution: Two different books are used to locate individual pieces within these sets. Both are located in the Langson Reference Section (1st floor). There is some overlap between the two, but there is also a large amount of unique content in each book. These two books are:

  • Historical sets, collected editions, and monuments of music by Anna Harriet Heyer - ML113.H52 1980
    • Search for the last name of the composer in v.1. Look for the individual pieces under that composer. Once you find your piece determine what set it is in. Search for the title of that set in Library Search.
    • If the composer you're looking for is not listed in v.1, look him or her up in v.2. V.2 indexes the contents of anthologies that contain music by multiple composers; a listing for your composer in v.2 will point you to the correct listing in v.1
  • Collected editions, historical series, & monuments of music by George Hill and Norris Stephens - ML113.H55 1997