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Allen Library: Help: Catalog Searching

Find Scores and Recordings

sample catalog search for 'tropic winter nathaniel dett' limited to Printed Music (All); results show catalog record with library location and call number

In the Allen Library

  1. Open the library catalog.
  2. Search the title and composer's name.
  3. Limit to the format you desire.
  4. Find a result for the piece you need.
  5. Use the location and call number to find the item.

Image: Catalog search with the format limited to Printed Music, and search result showing location and call number.


Can't visit the library? Use our guides to Music Scores Online or Streaming Audio & Video to find online score & recording sites, then search for the piece you need.

Get help

Searching for music can be tricky! If you can't find what you need, ask a librarian for help.

Subject Searching

subject in a catalog record tells you about that item's content, usually the topic or genre/form/instrumentation (for music). They are controlled by catalogers so there is only one subject per topic. So instead of having to guess at various different keyword searches (piano/keyboard/clavier, techniques/methods, etc.), you can search just one subject to find all materials with that subject (Piano > Methods).

catalog search for 'folk music united states' with keyword changed to subject and format set to Printed Music (All), result showing location and call numberHow to search

  1. Open the library catalog.
  2. Type in a subject.
  3. Change your search from Keyword to Subject.
  4. Limit by your desired format.
  5. Find a catalog record for the item you need.
  6. Use the location and call number to find it on the shelf.

Image: Catalog search set to Subject and Printed Music, and search result showing location and call number. 


How to find subjects

If you don't know what subject to search, you can find subjects in individual catalog records. Use keyword searching to find one item with a subject that's applicable to your search, then click on that subject to find more materials with the same subject:

catalog record with Subjects section circled, text to the side reads 'click on to find more materials with the same subject'

Search Other Libraries

worldcat search example limited to Musical Scores, result showing ILL linkIf we don't own the music you need, you can often loan items from another library through Interlibrary Loan:

  1. Open WorldCat.
  2. Search a title or subjects the same as you would in the UHart catalog (see above).
  3. Limit the format to Musical Scores, Sound Recordings, or Visual Materials (depending on what you need).
  4. Find a record for the piece you need.
  5. Click the title to open the full record.
  6. Click the link to ILL this with ILLiad@H.
  7. Log into ILLiad or create a new account.
  8. Wait for the form to auto-fill, then click Submit at the bottom of the page.

Image: WorldCat search with format limited to Musical Scores, and resulting record with ILL link.

Get help

Catalog searching (especially for music) can be tricky! If you can't find what you need, ask a librarian for help.

How do I choose the right format?

person with question mark Here are some of the most common formats for printed music:

Shows all instruments

Miniscore/study score
Small version of the full score

Vocal score
Piano and vocal line(s) only

Individual pieces for each instrument

You can determine the format by looking at the catalog record, in the Subjects or Description section:

catalog record showing 'vocal scores with piano' under Subjects and '1 vocal score' under Description


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