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Music - Guide to Research

The purpose of this guide is to organize the most relevant USD Library resources for students, staff and faculty within the discipline of Music.

Printed Music Formats

Scores come in different types or formats. The online library catalog record for an item will give you clues as to what format the item is. All score formats listed in this guide are shelved together on the third floor of University Libraries.

A word about terminology: "printed music" is here used to refer to contemporary printed editions of music scores.

"Sheet music" usually refers to historic printed music (generally popular, but sometimes "classical") from the 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Full score

shows all instruments/voices in a work of music.



Miniature score (or study or pocket score)

Shows all instruments/voices in a work of music, but produced in a small size. Call numbers start with "MM" and are shelved separately from the other scores in our collection.

 Catalog image

Vocal score (or piano-vocal score)

for operas or other choral/orchestral works; provides the vocal parts and presents the instrumental parts in a piano reduction or accompaniment.



Score and parts (or just parts)

For chamber music (2 or more players/singers) the printed music may be a score, showing all parts together, and/or include separate parts, one for each performer and their voice/instrument.

Just the parts and no score:



Or, a quartet with score and parts included:


Piano reduction or arrangement

Usually for concertos, presents the soloist's part and and presents the orchestral parts in a piano reduction or accompaniment.




when a work is originally written for one instrument or instruments and is arranged for another instrument or instruments.


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