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A Guide to Library Resources for Music

Tips for searching the library's catalog

  • M's - Music or Scores.

The Library of Congress' M classification numbers are used for collections of music by various composers (M1, M2, M5-) and for editions of a composer's complete works (M3). Within these numbers/classifications, the music is arranged further by the medium of the performance (i.e. instrumental or vocal works). Instrumental works - M5 - M1450, and vocal works - M1495 - 2199. 

  • ‚ÄčML's - Music Literature and Music History.

Musical dictionariesencyclopediasbibliographies (especially of repertoire), and bio-bibliographies

  • MT's - Music pedagogy and theory.

Start with a keyword search.

In the Quick Search box, type in the composer and title.

If you have incomplete information, use the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians accessible from Oxford Music to locate more. 

Keyword searching: composer or performer, title, publisher, or instrument

Subject searching: try searching by type of music (jazz, folk, chamber, etc.), type of musician (singers, composers, etc.), geographic region, or time period. 

Use the facets (limiters/filters) on the search results page to narrow your search. 

Search by the preferred title. 

Preferred titles (formerly called Uniform Titles) - a preferred title is used to link editions of the same work. This is helpful since music exists in many formats and is published in multiple languages. 


Facets help to narrow a search.  For example, use the facet for Material Type and select Score, if you are looking for sheet music. 

Other helpful facets for music scholars include the Language facet and Author/Creator facet. 

Screenshot of search results from a keyword search using facets

In the image above, I searched Quick Search using the name of the composer and a keyword from the title. I then used the facets on the left hand side of the results page to limit by Material Type. In this case, I selected Scores. 


 Scores ("M"):
         Mini-scores - for study purposes
         Full scores - for study or conducting
         Scores & parts - for chamber music
         Piano reductions - of ballets, symphonies
         Piano-vocal scores - reductions of operas, oratorios, cantatas
         Vocal scores - for solo voice or voice with piano accompaniment