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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.

Searching for particular formats

The Finding Music Materials-Home guide is divided into several pages. Each one covers a particular topic:

1. Find Books (basic catalog searching video tutorials are included)

2. Find Scores and Recordings

3. Find Scores Online

4. Searching: Beyond the Basics

5. Printed Music Formats

6. Audio and Video Formats


Use course materials and reference tools such as Grove or history texts to identify certain composers or types of music you want to focus on. Then use the tips at right to find more materials about them in the library catalog.

Quick Guide to the University Libraries

> 1st floor: Reference materials, Media (ask at the circ desk)

> 2nd floor: Journals

> 3rd floor: Books and Scores 

 See the "What & Where @ U. Libraries" page for more info on what we have in print/online and their locations.

Accessing Research Resources

  • To access all resources, begin at the library homepage 
  • To find music databases, select the tab entitled “Databases” on the search box located in the middle of the page. From the “Database by Subject” dropdown box, select the “Music” subject limiter.
  • Access is authenticated through a proxy server; users simply login with their USD email account.

Library homepage search widget

Catalog tips

There are several ways to find materials on your piece/topic in the library catalog.

1. By composer

Use the composer name as an author (if you want works by them) or as a subject (if you want writings about them)

 2. Through subject heading searches

By composer name (see above)

By genre--always use plural to find scores and recordings*

Madrigals, English.


By era

Motet - 15th century. (when talking about a genre as a subject, then it's singular)*

Sacred vocal music - 15th century.

Music - 16th century - History and criticism.

*could search with motet* to find all "motet" and "motets" (or motet? in the old catalog)

By topic

Performance practice (Music)-500-1400

Performance practice (Music)-15th Century

3. Keyword searches

"renaissance music"

"16th century music"

"instrumental music" and "15th century"


The Library has materials in many formats, including books, music scores, recordings (CDs, LPs, cassettes), videos (DVDs, VHS), journals, microfilm. These items can all be found in the Library's catalog.

NOTE: What you won't find in the library catalog are individual journal articles--to find those you'll need to use one or more journal databases. Information about journal databases is available here.

A Word about Catalogs

USD's online library catalog contains full information (bibliographic records) for books, scores, recordings, etc. While the new interface (AquaBrowser) is very streamlined and offers new ways to refine your search, some find the Classic interface to be more useful.

Classic Catalog
A catalog containing USD's holdings and other libraries in South Dakota. Advanced search is very useful.

A catalog containing the holdings for most of the academic and many of the public libraries in the country and some from other countries. Also great for direct export of records to EndNote. Direct links to request things we don't own with Interlibrary Loan.

The European Library 
Access to many of the European libraries' catalogs and digital content.

Directory of National Libraries 
Links to National Libraries around the world.

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