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Music Research Guide: Scores

Created for DBU's music students, this guide will help you discover the best library resources for many types of assignments.

Finding Scores in the Library

Circulating musical scores are located on the 2nd floor of the library, to the right as you come in from the coffee shop.  The call numbers begin with M.  The easiest way to find a specific piece of music is to use the online catalog.  But if you like to browse, here is a list of the LC category numbers for the M Subclass - Scores.  Please note: just because a category is listed on the LC chart does not guarantee that the DBU library has scores in that category.

Helpful Hints for Finding Specific Pieces of Music

Finding a score or recording of a specific piece of music is probably the trickiest task when searching the online catalog.  That's because the numbering systems and key designations of classical compositions can be written in many different ways.  Suppose you want to find a specific Beethoven piano sonata.  He only wrote 32, so it should be pretty easy, right?  Sorry, it's too complicated to be easy.  Your piano instructor has told you to find Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 20 in G major, Op. 49, No. 2.  You type that string of text into the online catalog, and you get nothing! Does that mean we don't have it?  Maybe.  Or it could be a problem with your text.

  • Should you type "No. 20," "Number 20," or "#20?"
  • Should you type "Op. 49" or "Opus 49?"
  • What about the key? Should it be typed "G major" or "G dur?"  (It might be a German publication, after all.)

How do you answer these questions?  The safest way is to eliminate the words or designations that might cause trouble.  Try searching for "Beethoven piano sonata 20" or "Beethoven piano sonata op 49."  The important thing is to keep it simple.

Library Music Source

Using the Online Catalog to Find Scores

The easiest way to find things in the library is to use the Online Catalog.

  1. Click the catalog link on the library home page or use the link above
  2. Type in keyword(s), title, or author - for specific pieces of music, see suggestions on the left in this guide.
  3. Click Search.
  4. Use the "Format" toolbar to limit your results to Musical scores. 
  5. Many times, you may discover that the piece you want is part of an anthology or collection.  You can click on the title of the anthology and look in the Table of Contents online to make sure the collection contains your piece.  But if the Table of Contents is not listed, you may need to visit the library, pull the score from the shelf, and look for yourself to make sure you're getting what you want.
  6. Click the "Availability" link.  If the item is available, then you can check it out!
  7. Remember to bring your DBU ID card to check things out.  Check-out period for scores is 4 weeks, but you can renew them for another 4 weeks if necessary.  We'll tell you how.

For more information about using DBU's online library catalog, visit our Catalog Guide.