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In this guide, you'll find ways to get started on academic research in music, as well as sources for scores and online audio. There are also tools to help with music theory, both aural and written, and writing guides. Enjoy! ♫

Finding music scores in the library

8/30/2021: This section will be revised to reflect Brown's new library catalog; stay tuned for updates!

Preferred titles tutorial

One of the biggest problems in searching for pieces of music is that the titles are tricky.  A distinctive title such as Lincoln Portrait is easy enough—but how many works are called Symphony?  Thousands!  How about variations such as SinfoniaSymphonie, Sinfonie?  What about arrangements of that work for piano four-hands or for wind band?

The uniform title was developed to help with this problem.  (Also, always remember to use the Author/Title search as shown above!)  If you want to know more, please see this tutorial on using preferred titles:

Finding works for specific combinations of instruments

An important point of reference for finding scores for specific combinations of instruments is subject headings.  The names of the instruments will be entered as a subject heading, as will particular groupings.

For example, look at this record for Jimmy Giuffre's Clarinet Quintet and make particular note of the subject heading:

Quintets (Clarinet, violins (2), viola, cello)

You can then click on this subject heading to find other materials we own that are for the combination clarinet, two violins, viola, and cello, then use the filters on the left side of the page to limit to scores.  Try this with other combinations of instruments!

Browsing the Stacks

Music scores in the Orwig Music Library are (mostly) organized by instrumentation.  So, once you have the call number of a work for the combination of instruments you want, you can find more works for that combination simply by looking at the scores that are next to it in the stacks.

Indexes to Music

Song Indexes

There are a number of indexes to songs in collections (many can be found at Orwig Ref. ML128.S3). Here are two frequently-used ones plus a website:

  • The Song Index of the Enoch Pratt Free Library (Orwig Ref. ML128.S3 L665 1998)
  • Song Index by Minnie Sears (Orwig Ref. ML128.S3 S31 1926)
  • Index to Arias and Art Songs in Collections (University of Washington Music Library)

Another way to find a particular opera aria is to find it in the vocal score for the opera of which it is a part.

Piano works in collections can often be found by using Piano Music in Collections: an Index by Rita M. Fuszek (Orwig Ref ML128.P3 F87 1982).


Repertoire lists (or bibliographies): In general these are available in the Orwig Reference Collection in the call number range ML128. Examples include:

ML128. C4 H5 1978 The Piano in Chamber Ensemble
ML128. G8 J36 1989 Classical Guitar Music in Print
ML128. S3 E8 1977 Repertoire for solo voice (bibliography of songs)
ML128. W5 P8 1997 Woodwind Music in Print