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Music History

Resources for music history library research

Find Scores

Finding Scores in OneSearch

Use OneSearch to find printed music in the Music Collection:

Printed music and books are located in the "Music Collection," which is part of Education, Music and Media on the Lower Level West. Use OneSearch on the Libraries' main page to find scores. Start with keywords including a composer, title, or number:

From the preliminary results, you can check facets like "Library Catalog" to narrow results. You can then select formats under Content Types including "Music Score":

Classification and Call Numbers

The Music Collection at University Libraries uses Library of Congress Classification, or LCC, for organizing scores on the shelves. This system, maintained by the national library of the United States and utilized by libraries across the country and around the world, groups together scores by genre, form, and instrumentation. Each item is then assigned a unique call number which combines alphabetical and numerical characters. These features are designed to make browsing library collections easier for users and librarians alike. Tip: Enter the first part of a call number into OneSearch to see all items in a given section.

Call Numbers for Music Scores:

M1 - 3.3   Collections

M1   Miscellaneous collections

M2 - 2.3   Musical sources

M3 - 3.3   Collected works of individual composers

M3   Complete editions

M3.1   Selections of collected works

M5 - 1480   Instrumental music

M6 - 175.5   One solo instrument

M177 - 990   Two or more solo instruments

M1000 - 1075   Orchestra

M1001   Symphonies

M1003   Suites. Variation forms

M1004.5 - 1041   Solo instrument(s) with orchestra

M1100 - 1160   String orchestra

M1200 - 1270   Band

M1495 - 2199   Vocal music

M1497 - 1998   Secular vocal music

M1500 - 1527.8   Dramatic music --> Opera, musical theatre

M1530 - 1609   Choruses

M1611 - 1624.8   One solo voice

M1627 - 1853   Folk, national, and ethnic music

M1999 - 2199   Sacred vocal music

M2000 - 2007   Dramatic music --> Oratorio

M2010 - 2017.6   Choral services, etc.

M2020 - 2101.5   Choruses

M2115 - 2146   Hymnals. Hymn collections

M2147 - 2188   Liturgy and ritual

About Scholarly Editions

Oxford Music Online defines a scholarly edition as one which is "prepared on the basis of a critical evaluation of all known primary sources [and] designed to present the most authoritative, authentic version of its contents." While the terms "scholarly" edition and "critical" edition are essentially synonymous, they are distinguished from a "practical" or "performance" edition which is meant primarily for the use of the performing musician and might make interpretive adjustments to assist in its usage. In musicological research, it is important to understand which edition you are studying and to seek the scholarly edition when possible.

In the print Music Collection, many scholarly editions can be found in M2 and M3, although these are far from the only places you will find them. According to Library of Congress Classification, M2 corresponds to Musical Sources, including Monuments and various facsimile series, while M3 consists of Collected Works such as the Complete Editions of a single composer. Most M2s and M3s are shelved in Ranges 1 through 5 toward the back of the Music Collection; oversize volumes and miniscores are in Ranges 15 and 16. To learn more about these types of publications and view lists of Music Collection holdings, see the Musical Sources (M2) and Complete Editions (M3) pages elsewhere on this guide.

Online Scores

Most of the following websites offer sheet music in .pdf format. For additional websites containing digitized manuscripts, see the Musical Sources (M2) page.

Interlibrary Loan

Users are encouraged to search for items beyond University Libraries' catalog via RILM Abstracts of Music Literature and WorldCat. Materials not available in print or online may be requested through Interlibrary Loan. Please allow up to seven days for electronic delivery and up to fourteen days for delivery of physical items.