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Classical Music Research Guide: How to Find Music

Find Western Classical Music at Emory - The Basics

When searching DiscoverE or any other library catalog for scores or recordings

  • Use plurals for sonatas, symphonies, and other nondistinctive titles, even when searching for only one piece.
    examples:

    sonatas no. 5
    symphonies no. 3
    ballades no. 2

    Why?  You'll usually miss some holdings when using the singular form: read about uniform titles below.
  • Use the original language for works with distinctive titles:
    examples:

    Matthauspassion for St. Matthew Passion
    Zauberflöte for Magic Flute
    (Drop initial articles in foreign languages—e.g.,  Die Zauberflöte.)

    Why? So you don't get an incomplete list of holdings.  The section below explains how to find the best terminology.
     
  • If you can't find the work, or want more editions
    • Search for collections containing the piece—e.g., all sonatas by the composer.
    • If it's part of a larger work, look for the title of that work.
    • Find out if Emory has the complete works of the composer.
    • Contact Joyce Clinkscales for help.  Finding scores can be tricky.

Searching discoverE

Here's a basic search in discoverE when you don't know the work's uniform title.


Look at one of your hits to find out what the work's uniform title is.

Uniform Titles - A Brief Introduction

Uniform titles provide consistent, standardized ways of identifying individual compositions and groups of compositions. This makes it possible to find works all scores and recordings of a work without having to look up every conceivable title the piece might have been called.  A library catalog record gives both the work's Title—meaning the title used by the publisher—and its Uniform Title.  See the examples in Indiana University's excellent tutorial, Using Uniform Titles.

Works with Distinctive Titles

If the work's title is distinctive, the uniform title consists of the original title (from the manuscript or first edition) in the original language. 

Examples of distinctive titles:

Daphnis et Chlöe

Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time)

Mer (for "La Mer": initial articles omitted)
Symphonie de Psaumes
Messiah
Wohltemperierte Klavier (Well Tempered Clavier)
Missa Solemnis
Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute)

Otello (Italian equivalent of Othello)

Zhar-ptitsa (The Firebird)

 

 

 

 

 

Works with Form or Genre Titles

If the composer's original title is simply a form name or genre (with or without key and number), the title is considered nondistinctive.  The first word of the uniform title is the form or genre, and it's always in the plural except when the composer wrote only one sonata, nocturne, etc. 

Examples of form and genre terms used in uniform titles:

Divertimenti

Quartets

Arias
Duets
Quintets
Lieder
Impromptus
Sonatas
Songs
Nocturnes
Suites
Motets

Pieces (also Stücke, if the title was German)

Symphonies
Masses
 

The instrumentation, number (ordinal, opus, and or catalog number) and key are often added to the form name.

Collections of Works in the Same Medium

This type of uniform title is used when one recording or score consists of various types of pieces that are all for the same medium.

Examples:

Choral music
Guitar music
Violin music
Vocal music


Complete Works of Individual Composers

The uniform title Works is used for a set of the complete works of a composer.  Note that many editions of complete works are still in the process of being published—volume by volume.  Look at Locations/Call Number in the DiscoverE record to see which volumes are actually in the library's collection. 

Find out what else exists

Use WorldCat to identify materials that Emory doesn't own.

For in-depth research, you may also want to use

You can request materials from other libraries through Interlibrary Loan.

Using Composers' Complete Works

Some complete-works editions of composers’ scores are not thoroughly indexed in library catalogs.  Two of the principal ways to find such pieces are

Oxford Music Online

  • In the Grove Music Online article on the composer, go to the "Works" list.
  • Look at the top of the list to see what complete editions exist.  (Note that there may be none for a particular composer.)
  • Within the list, the entry for each composition will usually identify which specific volume of the complete edition contains that piece. 

Index to Printed Music

This is a tool for locating musical scores of compositions published in scholarly editions (such as historical sets and composers’ complete works) and in series.

  • SEARCH TIP.  Separate different types of terms with "and," e.g., Beethoven and string quartets and op. 59; Mozart and k451.
  • IPM provides citations.  After identifying where a piece is published, use discoverE to check on Emory's holdings of the cited collection or edition.
  • For more information on IPM, see http://www.ipmusic.org/index.php.

Find Scores Online

IMSLP / Petrucci Music Library 
"The free public domain sheet music library."  Partifi can be used to create parts from these scores.

Choral Public Domain Library
Scores created by individual contributors and generally available free with attribution.

Free Sheet Music Library
Contains Bach cantatas and more

Online Music Scores (Acadia University, Nova Scotia)

Online Musical Scores from Indiana University's Cook Music Library

Mozart's complete works:  NMA Online
Online version of the scholarly edition of Mozart's complete works, the Neue Ausgabe sämtliche Werke.  The site is sponsored by the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum in cooperation with the Packard Humanities Institute, and includes the critical reports.  The printed edition, published by Bärenreiter-Verlag, is in the Music and Media Library under the call number M3 .M92.

American Viola Project (American Viola Society)
Works by American composers.

Muziekschatten (music from the Netherlands)
A project of the now-defunct Netherlands National Music Library. 

About Call Numbers

Scores and Books have call numbers beginning with

M for scores
ML for music literature
MT for instruction and study.

These numbers follow the Library of Congress Classification System.

Media call numbers at Emory start with

CD for compact disc
DISC for LP (vinyl) phonodiscs
DVD for DVDs

CDs and DVDs in the lending collection check out to students for 3 days.

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