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MUS 252: Music History II: Scores and Recordings

This guide is an introduction to using library resources for research in music.

Building a Catalog Search

Step 1: Navigate to the Advanced Search

screenshot of libraries catalog showing location of advanced search tab

Step 2: Enter the composer's name

  • Start by entering the composer's name (Last, First Middle)
  • Note: Including the composer's first name (and middle name, if commonly used) will yield the most accurate search results
  • Once you have entered the composer's name, select "Author (Last Name First)" from the drop-down menu

screenshot of advanced search, showing author search for "mozart wolfgang amadeus"

Step 3: Enter the title of the work

For works with generic titles (i.e. Concerto, Symphony, Sonata):

  • Search using the subject heading, which is generally the plural form of the work (i.e. symphonies, operas, concertos, suites, etc.)
  • Select "Subject Heading" from the drop-down menu
  • If applicable, use the opus number or another standard number assigned to the work to narrow your search results (i.e. for Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in G Minor, K. 550, try adding "40" or "550" as a keyword)
  • If you don't know the subject heading, just do a keyword search for the title instead

screenshot of advanced search, showing subject heading search for "symphonies" and keyword search for "40"

For works with unique titles:

  • Enter the title as a keyword search
  • Select search "as a phrase" for multi-word titles
  • Do not include initial articles (A, An, The, Le, La, etc.)
  • If the title is in a foreign language, try searching for the title both in it's original language and in English (i.e. "nozze di Figaro" and "Marriage of Figaro")

screenshot of advanced search, showing search for "nozze di figaro" as a phrase

Step 4: Select the type of resource

For Scores:

  • Select "Music Scores" from the drop-down menu

For Recordings

  • Select "Musical Recordings" from the drop-down menu

screenshot of advanced search, showing selection of "Music Score" under type


More Search Tips

Formatting Names:

  • Use full names for composers with common surnames 
  • Use standard English-language spellings (i.e. "Rachmaninoff" instead of "Rachmaninov")
  • Avoid abbreviating names (i.e. J.S. Bach)

Searching for Vocal Music:

  • To specify vocal range in your search, indicate high, medium, or low voice 
High voice Medium voice Low voice
Soprano Mezzo Soprano Alto
Tenor Baritone Bass
  • You can add vocal range to some subject headings, like "Songs (High voice)" OR you can simply search "high voice" as a keyword

screenshot of advanced search, showing subject heading search for "songs (high voice)"


  • Avoid using keys in your search terms (such as "C" or "G minor")

Finding recordings by format:

  • For CDs, add a keyword search for "compact" or "CD"
  • For LPs, add a keyword search for "LP"
  • For streaming media, add a keyword search for "electronic"


Digital Scores

Streaming Media