If you have a known song or opera title or want to find all of our scores by a particular composer, start with a Keyword search using the HSU LIbrary Catalog QuickSearch on the library homepage.
Keyword searching is quick, but you may get irrelevant results, or too many. If a keyword search is unsuccessful, try one of the methods described below, or ask a librarian for help.
To search by composer:
To search for a particular piece of music:
To find scores for a particular type of music:
Scores and sheet music for works in the public domain (not copyrighted) may be available on the web for free downloading. Here are a few recommended sites:
In the Library
Browsing When you don't have a particular piece of music in mind, browsing the Library shelves may give you ideas. Here is a partial breakdown of the M section, where scores and song books, etc. are shelved. Notice the mnemonic structure in the chamber music section; trios are in the M300s, quartets are in the M400s, etc.
When you have a particular piece of music in mind, you can find out if our library has a score by using the HSU Library catalog or an index to published collections of music. If our Library doesn't have the piece, you may be able to locate a copy to borrow on Interlibrary Loan.
The HSU Library Catalog lists many large collections of scores, such as the complete works of composers, but the individual pieces in these are not listed. To help you locate individual works in these, use Historical Sets, Collected Editions, and Monuments of Music: A Guide to Their Contents (ref ML 113 H52 1980 v. 1-2), complied by Anna Heyer.
Scores for individual songs may not be listed in the HSU Library Catalog. Song indexes list songs by composer, title, and sometimes by subject, and they indicate the anthology or collection which includes the individual song. When you have found the title of a collection containing your song, check the HSU Library Catalog to see if we own it. If we don't, you can borrow it on InterLibrary Loan.
Here are a few recommended song indexes on the Web. These were created at other libraries, and the call numbers given for the anthologies are not for the HSU Library. Look up the anthology title in the HSU Library Catalog to see if we have it. If we don't, look it up in WorldCat, and make your interlibrary loan from there.
Uniform titles are used in libraries to identify and bring together works that either have no distinctive title of their own or which have a number of different titles. Understanding uniform titles will help you find scores and recordings of musical works in the HSU Library Catalog.
When a musical work has no distinctive title, a uniform title is created for it using these elements:
form + instrumentation + thematic catalog/serial/opus number + key
A famous piano sonata by Beethoven might have any of the following titles, or perhaps others:
Any of these could appear on the title page of a score or on the label of a recording (these are the preferred placed for obtaining the title of a work for cataloging purposes). If there were no uniform titles, it would be very difficult to find copies of this piece; the title used would depend on which edition or recording an individual library owned. To solve this problem, libraries use the following uniform title for this piece:
[Sonatas, piano, no. 14, op.27, no. 2, C# minor]
Moonlight Sonata is a nickname for this piece. Many musical works have popular titles, but they cannot be reliably used for finding the works in a library. A book by Berkowitz, Popular Titles and Subtitles of Musical Compositions (ref ML 113 B39 1975) can help find the uniform titles for compositions when you know only the popular name.
Uniform titles are also needed for many musical works that have unique, distinctive titles because these titles may be known in several languages, not all of which may use Roman alphabets. Librarians have decided that the uniform title for named pieces of music will be in the original language of the work, but alphabets will be Romanized. Thus, Bach's Art of the Fugue has the uniform title [Kunst der fuge], and Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is given the uniform title [Kartinki s vystavki].
Uniform titles are also given to collections of musical works. The composer may have created the collection, or the publisher of the score or the recording may have put it together. Selections from an individual work or from the works of one composer also have uniform titles. The uniform titles for collections are usually not very descriptive. They may be simply [Works], for example, or [Instrumental music. Selections], or perhaps [Sonatas, violin, piano. Selections]. [Don Giovanni. Selections] is used for various excerpts from this opera. An individual aria would have this uniform title: [Don Giovanni. Il mio tesoro].