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MUS 781 Introduction to Music Bibliography

The purpose of this guide is to organize the most relevant USD Library resources for participants in MUS 781.

Scores and Recordings

> Title searching works well when searching for books and journals; however, 'Keyword' searching is recommended when looking for musical scores and recordings because it can be difficult to predict how a title will appear on a score or CD.

> If you know the composer and title, combine terms from both for your search. For example brahms "string quartets"

> If you want to find scores or parts, you can include terms in your keyword search to help narrow it down, like "vocal scores" or parts.

> If you specifically want a CD and not an LP, include digital in your keyword search. This elminates most, but not all, of the LPs.

You will find the library catalog linked from the library home page (select the link to "Advanced Search"), pictured below to search for local holdings.

See the screen shots below which illustrate several of the collection and format limiters to try for Music items.

  • To find scores, in the library catalog, do a search using the last name of the composer on the first line in the search, set the limit to Author, and the name of the musical or song you are looking for, and set the limit to title on the second line.
  • To find librettos in the library catalog, do a search for the name of the show on the first line in the search, and the word libretto on the second line
  • To find video, audio, or other media such as LPs you can search by Resource Type and set it to Audio Visual.  


  • M 1-3 Anthologies, including Composers Collected Works 
  • M 6-1400  Instrumental Music
  • M 6-175 Music for one instrument
    • M 20-39  Piano
    • M 40-44  Violin
    • M 60-64  Flute
    • M 80-84  Horn
    • etc.
  • M 177-990 Music for two or more solo instruments
  • M 180-298.5 Duets
  • M 300-386 Trios
  • M 400-486 Quartets ...etc.
  • M 900-990 Nonets and larger combinations of solo instruments
  • M 1000-1075  Orchestral music
    • M 1001 Symphonies
    • M 1010-1011  Piano concertos
  • M 1100-1160  String orchestra
  • M 1200-1366  Other ensembles
  • M 1500-1527.8  Dramatic music
  • M 1500  Operas, full scores
  • M 1503  Opera vocal scores
  • M 1520  Ballets,  scores
  • M 1528-1529.5 Duets, trios, etc. for solo voices
  • M 1547-1610 Choruses
  • M 1611-1624.8  Songs for one voice 
    • M 1621.4  Song cycles with piano
    • M 1621.5  Songs, high voice, with piano
  • M 1627-1853 National music, folksongs, popular music 
  • M 2000-2007  Oratorios
  • M 2010-2017.7  Services
  • M 2018-2019.5  Duets, trios, etc. for solo voices
  • M 2020-2101.5  Choruses, cantatas
  • M 2102-2114.8  Sacred songs for one voice

Finding Scores with Preferred Titles

In library catalogs, pieces of music are given added, preferred titles, so that one search finds every version of a piece.

Preferred titles (aka uniform titles) are especially useful because pieces could have:

  • titles in multiple languages (Brandenburg Concertos vs. Brandenburgische Konzerte);
  • form titles and numbers (Sonata no. 3); well-known but unofficial descriptive titles (Moonlight Sonata);
  • collective titles (Songs; Works).

This tutorial from the Indiana University Music Library is a good introduction to preferred titles for music.

Need to check a title or opus number? Oxford Music Online/Grove Music Online is a good place to start: many articles about composers include works lists.

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