Music : Finding Music Scores and Sheet Music

Important Copyright Information
Introduction
Library Catalogue
Specialized Indexes
Websites
Materials from Other Libraries
Writing and Style Guides
Help

Important Copyright Information

CANADIAN COPYRIGHT LAW PROHIBITS THE COPYING OF SCORES FOR PERFORMANCE 

See the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency for more information.

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Introduction

Finding scores to specific musical pieces can be challenging. This guide is intended to help with this process using the resources available to you here at the University of Lethbridge Library.  The ease with which you are able to find a particular score will depend on several factors including the popularity of the composer, the age of the piece and so on.  There are many places to look so you will most likely have to try more than one strategy.

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Library Catalogue

SEARCHING

Because of special challenges inherent in the description of musical scores (variant titles, translations etc.) you may not be sure of what it is exactly you are looking for. Your instructor should be able to clarify this for you.  If that is not an option, using an internet search engine and entering as many keywords as you know about the piece (title, genre, instrument(s), composer etc.) can sometimes help.   

Once you have a fairly good idea of the composer or the title of the score you can use the library catalogue to identify whether or not the item in one of our collections.  Try an advanced keyword search entering as many keywords as you know and limit your search by MATERIAL TYPE --> PRINTED MUSIC.

BROWSING 

You can also use the library catalogue to 'browse' our collection of scores.  For example, in this search I am looking for sonata scores using the Advanced Keyword Search index. You may try any combination of keywords with the term scores to produce similar results.  For example, scores and:

If you are interested in particular instruments try scores and:

Although browsing the physical collection is not normally my first suggestion when researching, it can sometimes be a valuable search technique - especially when you are searching for music scores. The Library of Congress Classification Scheme brings together the literature of music quite nicely. For example, M 3 is the Library of Congress number for collected and complete editions of individual composers. Following is a list of those editions in our MAIN and OVERSIZE collections, in call number order. Scores are shelved in one or the other collection depending on the physical dimensions of the score. Note how the works of individual composers are gathered together under the same letter.

MAIN COLLECTION

OVERSIZE

Follow the CLASS M - MUSIC link for a more detailed breakdown of the Library of Congress call number arrangement of scores in our collections.

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Specialized Indexes

Use specialized indexes to direct you to scores that have been published in other sources.  There are a variety of indexes out there, so you may have to try more than one.

Classical Scores Library contains the full text of over 8,000 music scores.  (For use by University of Lethbridge students, faculty and staff only)

Indexes to Scores in Anthologies

Music in Print Series

OTHER

Once you have found a citation to a score published in another source, you will have to check our library catalogue to see if we own or provide electronic access to the other source.

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Websites

Use the internet wisely. The quality and trustworthiness of information available on the Web varies greatly. Guidelines are available to help you evaluate Web-based sources when you are unsure of their credibility. 

Many universities and other not-for-profit institutions have digitzed and provided access to select scores. There are a few good sites out there that either direct you to those collections or provide access themselves.  For example:

Complete Works

NMA Online: Neue Mozart Ausgabe

Handel Complete Works - Chrysander edition (Munchener DigitalisierungZemtrum)

Mendelssohn Complete Works - Breitkopf und Hartel edition (Munchener DigitalisierungZentrum)

Other sites:

International Music Scores Library

Eda Kuhn Library of Harvard University

Historic American Sheet Music: 1850-1920

Music for the Nation:  American Sheet Music 1820-1885

The University of Washington Libraries - Musical Scores

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Materials from Other Libraries

For those scores not available in or from our library, you may request the item from another library using our Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service .  Submit your request through the ILL function and follow the instructions on the screen. Please indicate the collection or anthology in which your score has been published or the source from which you got your information. Undergraduate students are given 25 free loans per fiscal year (ending in April).

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Writing and Style Guides

Use the links under Writing Guides for general assistance with writing your paper. 

Use the links under Music Resources for assistance with citing music scores and sheet music.

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Help

HELP is available during the hours that the Level 10 Information Desk is staffed - at the desk itself, by email at Ask Us or by phone at 329-2263.

Please feel free to contact me if your question is not answered by any of the above.

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 Maintained by
 Content Revised: February 18, 2014
 Content Created: April 13, 2005


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