Search Tips for Music Resources

Music scores and recordings can sometimes be hard to find in the catalog. Below are some tips to help you search.

If you can’t find what you need, ask for help!

Finding Classical Music

  • If you aren’t sure how the composer’s name might be spelled (e.g. Rachmaninov or Rachmaninoff), you can truncate the name by adding an asterisk after the letters you are sure of (e.g. Rachminino*)
  • Use the original language of a title (e.g. “Nozze di Figaro” instead of “Marriage of Figaro”).
    • If you do not know the full foreign title, limit your title search to words that are the same in either language (e.g. “Figaro”).
    • Leave off initial articles (e.g. “Nozze di Figaro” not “Le Nozze di Figaro”).
    • “Nickname” titles (e.g. “Moonlight” sonata) do not always appear as part of the title information.
  • Use the plural form of a genre word when searching it as a title (e.g. “symphonies,” “concertos,” “sonatas,” “quartets”).
    • If the work has no opus, thematic catalog, or serial number, try adding the key as a Keyword phrase (e.g. “g major”).
    • For works with a specific solo instrument (e.g. piano sonatas, violin concertos) you can add the instrument as a Keyword
    • For chamber works, you can enter the type of work as a Keyword phrase (e.g. “string quartets,” “brass sextets, “wind quintets” or “woodwind quintets).
  • To search for a specific type of score, enter the that term as a Keyword (e.g. “vocal score”, “parts”).
  • If the search retrieves no results, or very few results, broaden your search.

Finding Jazz and Popular Music

Searching for a particular jazz or popular album, or a full musical theater recording or score is usually fairly simple. Searching for a specific song within a larger work can sometimes be difficult.

  • Search all terms as Keywords (not Title or Author, etc.)
  • Enter a song title as a phrase within quotation marks (e.g. “I’ve got you under my skin”).
    • Use the original language of a title (e.g. “Desafinado” instead of “Off-Key” or “Out of Tune”).
  • If you are getting no results, try searching for the larger work that contains the song (e.g. “Wicked” instead of “Defying Gravity”)
  • If the search retrieves no results, or very few results, broaden your search.