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Music: Find Scores

Find scores, recordings, class guides and other music resources.

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About Collected Works and Historical Sets

Collected works are complete musical works of a composer and are usually multivolume, well researched collections (e.g., Schumann's complete works--Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke, M3 .S388 1991). The library has the collected works for many of the major composers. To determine which volume contains your piece, check the index or consult Oxford Music Online.

Historical sets and monuments are anthologies illustrating a history or representing a genre, region, or instrument (e.g., Historical Anthology of Music, M2 .D25 H6). To browse collected works and historical sets, visit the M2 and M3 sections of the library.

About Foreign Language Terms and International Characters

In order to find scores, you're going to need to know some foreign language terms (e.g., "klaviersonaten" means "piano sonatas," "lieder" means "songs," "ausgabe" means "works"). For a good list of foreign language terms used in music, see Sourcebook for Research in Music (Reference ML113 .C68 2005), pp8-14.

You'll probably come across some terms, titles, or names that use international characters (e.g., Die schöne Müllerin). When searching the library catalog, leave out international characters. "Die schone Mullerin" will get you the same results as "Die schöne Müllerin." If an alternate spelling is acceptable in place of an international character, use whichever spelling is standard. For example, Arnold Schönberg's last name most often appears as "Schoenberg"; use that to search. If you are unsure which spelling is standard, combine your search terms using "or" (e.g., schonberg or schoenberg).

Find Scores

Browsing for Scores Kept in WSU Library

One of the best ways to find scores in the library is to browse. At Wright State, we use Library of Congress classification. This means that music materials have call numbers that begin with M. You'll find the M section in the Bound Periodicals area on the second floor of Dunbar library.

Music materials are organized as follows:

  • M – Music scores
  • ML – Music literature (books about music, including: dictionaries, books on music history, composer biographies, books on musical instruments, books on vocal music)
  • MT – Music instruction and study (including: music theory, and instrumental and vocal techniques and methods)

If you're looking for a score, look in the materials that have an M followed immediately by numbers:

  • M2 – Collections of scores (historical, regional)
  • M3 – Collected works of composers
  • M6-175 – Music for solo instruments [M23 - Piano sonatas]
  • M180 – Duets
  • M300 – Trios
  • M400 – Quartets
  • M1000 – Orchestra
  • M1495 – Vocal music
  • M1497-1998 – Secular vocal music
  • M1503 – Opera scores
  • M1999-2199 – Sacred vocal music
  • M2000 – Oratorios

For a more thorough overview of how scores and books about music are organized, see the Library of Congress Classification Outline for Music or Sourcebook for Research in Music (Reference ML113 .C68 2005), pp14-19.

Searching in the Catalog

You may need to try several approaches to finding scores in the catalog. As you search, be sure to write down call numbers for all possible sources. You'll then need to locate the books and check to determine if your piece is actually there. If you can't find what you need, Ask A Librarian for help.

As you search, be sure to limit to scores or you'll have tons of recordings in your results. If you try to start a search from the library's main page, you won't have as many options. Choose Advanced Search to be able to limit to "Material Type: Music Score."

Keyword searching
If the piece you want has a unique name, you can try a keyword search for the title combined with the composer's name. For example, if you wanted to find the score for Schubert's "Erlkönig," you could try a search like this:

schubert and erlkonig

That search tells the catalog that you want the records that contain both "schubert" and "erlkonig." It's a good idea to use a composer's name when you search because sometimes different composers use the same titles as other composers.

Author searching
If you do an author search by composer name, be prepared to get lots of results. From the list of results, you can enter a title or genre in the "Locate In Results" box at the bottom of the page.

Searching by set or cycle
If your piece is from a set or cycle, try searching by the set or cycle name. For example, if you wanted Schubert's "Ungeduld," you should probably try searching for Die schöne Müllerin as well.

Searching by instrument, voice, or genre
Keeping in mind that you may need to use foreign language terms, you may be able to find your piece searching by instrument, voice, or genre. For example, you could try looking for books that contain Schubert songs:

schubert and (song* or lieder or gesange)

This search tells the catalog that you want results that contain "schubert" and any one of the three terms in parentheses. The asterisk (*) after "song" tells the catalog that you want it to look for "song" or "songs." You can use the asterisk at the end of the word to replace one or more letters.

Searching by opus numbers
Searching by opus or other catalog numbers may work, but it's a good idea to know all the catalog numbers associated with a piece. For example, if you wanted to find Schubert's Piano Sonata in B Major, D. 575, you won't get any results with the following search:

schubert and 575

However, if you know that Schubert's Piano Sonata in B Major, D. 575, is also cataloged as opus 147, you can get results with this search:

schubert and (575 or 147)

You can usually find all the catalog numbers associated with a composer's works in Oxford Music Online.

Searching for collected works
Individual pieces are not always cataloged individually. If you've tried searching for a title and aren't getting the results you need, you may want to check to see if the library has a composer's collected works. As you search for the collected works, keep in mind that many of these collections have titles in other languages. For example, you may need to use terms like opera omnia, sämtliche werke, gesamtausgabe, or oeuvres complètes. For a good list of foreign language terms used in music, see Sourcebook for Research in Music, (Dunbar Reference ML113 .C68 2005) pp8-14. To find Schubert's collected works, try a search like this:

schubert and (complete works or ausgabe or samtliche)

That search tells the catalog that you want results that contain "schubert" and any one of the three terms in parentheses. Use parentheses with "or" to combine synonyms or closely related terms. The first item in your list of results is Schubert's complete works, Neue Ausgabe sämtliche Werke, M3 .S38. To figure out which volume has the piece you need, try one of the following:

  • Check the index for the collected works.

  • Look up the composer's name in Oxford Music Online. Click the link for the composer's "Works," search the works for your title, and look at the column on the far right to determine which volume you need.

  • Look up your composer's name in Historical sets, collected editions, and monuments of music: a guide to their contents (Dunbar Reference ML113 .H52 1980). Find the collected works associated with your composer, determine which edition we have, and note the pieces listed in each volume.

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Phil Flynn
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