Finding classical music can be difficult, this page provides you resources and techniques to help you find both known, and unknown works.
Tips for finding known works:
Finding other works
It can be difficult to search for themes, styles, or by subject, see the techniques to the right:
A Uniform Title brings like-items together in the catalogue and on the shelf. In music, this is especially important as the same musical score or recording can have very different published titles. For example, look at the following titles for the same Bach piece:
6 sonatas and partitas for violin solo
Preludium (Partita III - Violino solo), E dur = E major = Mi majeur : Pianoforte
Partita, no. 1. Tempo di borea; arranged
How would you find all forms of Beethoven's work when the titles are so different? By use of the Uniform Title. The Uniform Title is included in such works so the user can find all versions of that work. The titles above represent what is printed on either the score or recording which can vary depending on where it is published. Instead, each publication is also matched with the same Uniform Title:
Uniform Title: Sonaten und Partiten
Each individual title has the same Uniform Title which identifies each entry as being the same work. In addition, the Uniform Title in the library catalogue is a clickable link which will bring you to all of the versions of that work that the library owns.
Finding Uniform Titles
Works with Distinctive Titles
If the work's title is distinctive, the uniform title consists of the original title (from the manuscript or first edition) in the original language.
NOTE: This only applies if the distinctive title was given by the composer themselves, not merely a popularly understood name for the work.
Single Movements from Larger Works
Sometimes a single movement or section of a larger work is published or recorded separately from the whole composition. For example, the "Hallelujah chorus" from Handel's oratorio Messiah may be published separately for performance by a church choir; or the movement "Claire de lune" from Debussy's Suite bergamasque for piano is sometimes performed separately. In a preferred title for such separately published or recorded movements, the entire work is named first, and then the part is named.
Handel, George Frederic, 1685-1759.
The Hallelujah chorus, from Messiah …
Debussy, Claude, 1862-1918.
Clair de lune : from the Suite bergamasque for piano …
Suite bergamasque. Clair de lune
Works with Form or Genre Titles
If the composer's original title is simply a form name or genre (with or without key and number), the title is considered non-distinctive. The first word of the uniform title is the form or genre, and it's always in the plural except when the composer wrote only one sonata, nocturne, etc. The instrumentation, number (ordinal, opus, and or catalogue number) and key are often added to the form name.
For example: Sonatas, flute, A minor (include AND Bach to return Partita in A minor (BWV 1013) for solo flute)
If you remember the order of the elements of a form-type preferred title, you should not go wrong.
Form name, followed by
Instrument(s) and/or voice(s), followed by
Number(s) (Opus or other number), followed by
Tonality (Name of the key signature is omitted if the tonality of the work is ambiguous)
Here are a couple of examples:
Beethoven, Ludwig van, 1770-1827. Quartets, violins (2), viola, cello, no. 16, op. 135, F major
Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750. Masses, BWV 232, B minor
"Extra Information" can be used for a variety of useful bits of information. For example, any kind of preferred title (form, distinctive, or collective) may have qualifiers added at the end in order to distinguish one kind of edition from another. Five qualifiers are encountered frequently in the catalogue:
"Vocal score" or "Chorus score"
"Libretto" or "Text"
Language(s) of translation(s) from the original language
Palestrina, Giovanni Pierluigi da, 1525?-1594. Masses, book 3. English and Latin
A thematic catalogue systematically organizes and lists the entire output of a composer's works (sometimes the works of an institution or school), including information such as the original title, date and place of composition, an incipit (first few bars of the music) for each piece, the provenance of manuscript copies, early published editions, and other details to aid scholarly research.
Note: Look in ECU Worldsearch under Subject: Thematic Catalogues to identify thematic catalogs in our Library.
International inventory of musical sources.
Established in 1952, RISM is an ongoing inventory of the universe of musical literature created prior to 1800.
Citations include a complete description of the material, and the library/archival location at which these unique resource materials can be found.
Collected works (or Gesamtausgabe) are of a particular composer, whereas Monumental works (Denkmaler) are collections of music from a particular time, or place.
Our Catalogue lists many individual works in Collected and Monumental editions (as well as in Anthology editions), however, not all catalogue entries include the full works listed. To locate a piece in the collected works of a composer:
Note: Some Collected Editions can also be found online, such as the Neue Mozart-Ausgabe
Or use Heyer's work on Historical sets, collected editions, and monuments of music: A guide to their contents. Find it at Mount Lawley Main Collection Call Number 780.263 HEY. The book includes a list of complete editions of the music of individual composers and the major collections of music that have been published or are in the process of publication.
You can find a free (non-printable) copy online at the Hathi Trust Digital Library: Historical sets, collected editions, and monuments of music: A guide to their contents
Whilst most of our databases are text-based, some of them have downloadable scores, or help you to find sheet music in print by composer, title, part(s), etc.
Tools and services that promote access to and use of online sheet music collections by scholars, students, and the general public. An Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting.
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