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Music Research Starter

Helpful search tips!

The most efficient way to find musical scores in the library is to search in the catalog, which is the main search box on the library main page.

Follow these tips to be the most successful in your search:

  • Use KEYWORD searching initially to ID relevant records (using the Library catalog search box).
  • Use the LIMITERS on the left-hand side of the results page to narrow your results.  Note the "Music" heading under which you can select a recorded medium and the "Musical score" heading which enables you to locate scores. (You may need to select "Show more" to see all of these formats.)
  • Use the links under "Subjects" when you click on the arrow for "View Description" in the item's full description (These are Library of Congress SUBJECT headings) to find additional resources on the same or similar topics.
  • Use TRUNCATION (i.e., shortening a word to its root or base form using a designated symbol, such as ?, * !, $) for words that might:

*Have more than one significant form, e.g., symphon* = finds symphony, symphonie, symphonien, symphonic, symphonies

*Have alternative spellings (type as much as you KNOW is correct!)., e.g. Stravinsky or Stravinski


Hints for finding music resources in the library

To find a score or other music resources in the Doane Library -- using the main search box on the Library's homepage -- the following pieces of information about the work can be helpful:

Composer's full name and alternate spellings

For example, if there are multiple composers with the same last name, such as Johann Strauss, Johann Strauss II, and Richard Strauss. In a case such as this, knowing first and middle names can be helpful.

Alternate spellings occur when names are derived from a language that doesn't use the Roman alphabet, such as Russian, Hebrew or Chinese. For example, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky may be spelled Chaikovsky, Chaikovskii or Tschaikowsky, or fully Anglicized to Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky.


Title of the work in its original language

For example: Prélude à l'près-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun) by Debussy, or Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville) by Rossini


Alternative titles or nicknames of the work

For example: "Air on the G String" (Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D Major, BWV 1068 6 II. Air) by Bach and arranged by Wilhelmj


Numbers associated with a work

This may be a thematic catalog number, opus or sequence. For example: "BWV" (Bach Werke Verseichnis) for J.S. Bach works, or "KV" (Köchel-Verseichnis) for W.A. Mozart works, or "L" (François Lesure) for C. Debussy works 


Key signature

For example: B-flat Minor, F Major, or C-sharp Minor



This may be the original instrumentation of the work or another arrangement or transcription. For example: violin (solo), string quartet, mezzo-soprano, SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass voices), etc.


More information about works and composers can be found in Grove Music Online (also known as Oxford Music Online).