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Historical Research


Scores in the Dartmouth Collection

Performance Scores

How to find scores using the Library Search:

  • First, limit the format of the search to "Music Scores."
  • Then, perform a keyword search, rather than a title, author, or subject search. Music materials are often in non-English languages.  A keyword search will ensure that if the title is listed in another language, the cross-listed English title in the record will cause the piece to appear in your search results. 

Useful search tips:

  • Keep your search simple and eliminate unnecessary words, rather than searching for a piece's full name.
    • ex: For "beethoven concerto no. 5 for piano and orchestra in Eb major," search "beethoven piano concerto 5" or "beethoven emperor concerto."
  • It can sometimes be useful to search for titles in the composer's native language if a search in English fails. Do not use any diacritics (accent marks, umlauts, etc.) in your search. You can find the original title by performing a Google search.
    • ex: for Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, try a keyword search for "prelude a l'apres midi d'un faune" instead.
  • Search for the name of the instrument(s) to browse music for a particular instrument or ensemble.  Remember that it may be useful to search for the instrument's name in the composer's native language.
    • ex: "flote" instead of "flute" for pieces by Brahms, Beethoven, or Mozart. 

If Dartmouth doesn't have the score you need, try requesting it through BorrowDirect. If none of our partner institutions has the score, you can request it through DartDoc.  If you need to find a citation for a particular edition of a score so that you can request it through DartDoc, is a good place to look.

Reference Scores

Collected Works are arranged alphabetically by composer last name. They are housed in the Baker 1 Stacks in the M3 section and do not circulate outside of the library.

Individual works in this section are not findable in Library Search. To find a specific piece in this section, you must use Grove Music Online. Search for the composer in Grove and scroll down to the "Works" section on the left hand navigation bar. You can also use 'Ctrl + F' to search for the piece by title on this page. Once you find the piece in Grove, write down the edition and volume number to find it in the stacks. If you need help, you can always email the Music Librarian at

Scores Online

The International Music Score Library Project contains thousands of scores in the public domain. This includes mostly classical music by well-known composers. Browse alphabetically by composer, composer nationality, time period, instrumentation, and genre. You can also search by work title, but not all works are cross-listed in English. This is a wonderful source for art song literature, chamber music, solo instrumental works, and even full orchestral works. However, IMSLP is a wiki, which means that anyone can contribute reproductions of printed music to this site, regardless of U.S. copyright law. If you are using a score from IMSLP published after 1900, it is a good idea to check for the copyrights to the piece with the publisher if you plan to distribute multiple copies.
A collection of Alexander Street Press. Includes performance scores and digital manuscripts by well-known classical composers and for lesser-known contemporary composers. Search by time period, composer, instrument, genre, and title. Entire scores may be printed for performance or study. Create a free account with Alexander Street Press to write annotations in the music and to save citations.
Great source for contemporary scores for electronics, extended techniques, and stage by 20th and 21st century composers. Audio recordings are available for many of these works. In addition to original works, there are also chamber arrangements of classical orchestral and operatic works. Browsable by composer, genre, and instrument. 


More Scores in the Public Domain

Variations (Cook Music Library, Indiana University)


Music Treasures Consortium

Digitized Scores of the Sibley Music Library (Eastman School of Music)

Physical Media

CDs and DVDs are currently housed in the former Paddock Music Library and should be requested for pickup at Baker/Berry. CDs and DVDs will be moved to the Jones Media Center in October 2021.

CDs are the preferred source for classical recordings. CDs often include useful liner notes written by the performer or a musicologist, which are a great springboard for further research on a piece of music or composer. CDs can be found in the Library Catalog by limiting the format to 'Audio Recordings' and doing a keyword search for the composer, performer, or title of the piece.

Desktop computers in the library are equipped with CD and DVD drives. Headphones and external CD drives available for use with personal laptops may be borrowed from the Jones circulation desk.

There are nearly 1,500 DVDs in our music collection. These recordings include operas, ballets, documentaries, movie musicals, and more.

Our collection of nearly 10,000 vinyl records is housed in our off-site storage facility. To browse available titles, use the Vinyl Sound Recordings Curated Collection in the library search system. To request an item, click on the "Request" button next to the item's title in the catalog and select Baker/Berry as the pickup location.  The record usually takes just one weekday to arrive in the library.  Public record players are housed in the Jones Media Center.

Streaming Audio

Streaming Video/Audio

Major Journal Databases for Classical/Art Music

Browsing the Music Stacks

Books on music are organized using the Library of Congress Call Number System, which divides music into three classes: M for printed music and recordings, ML for music literature, and MT for music theory.

ML 1-112.5 General Topics

ML1-5 Periodicals, Serials

ML12-21 Directories, Almanacs

ML25-28 Societies and other Organizations

ML32-33 Institutions

ML35-38 Festivals, Congresses

ML40-44 Programs

ML47-54.8 Libretti, Texts, Scenarios

ML55-60 Addresses, Essays and Lectures

ML62-89 Aspects of the field of music as a whole

ML93-96.5 Manuscripts, Autographs, and Facsimiles

ML100-109 Dictionaries, Encylopedias

ML110-111.5 Music Librarianship

ML112-112.5 Music Printing and Publishing

ML159-3785 History and Criticism

ML159-161 General Works

ML162-197 By Period

ML198-360.6 By Region or Country

ML385-429 Biographies

  • ML 410 Composers

  • ML420 Vocalists and Solo Artists

  • ML421 Musical Groups

  • ML422 Conductors

ML430-458 Composition and Performance

ML459-1380 Instruments and Instrumental music

ML1400-3275 Vocal music

ML3300-3351 Program music

ML3400-3465 Dance music

ML3469-3541 Popular music

ML3544-3776 Folk, National, and Ethnic music

ML3780 Music on particular topics

ML3785 Musical journalism

ML3790-3792 Music Industry and Sound Recording Companies

ML3795 Music as a Profession, Vocational Guidance

ML3797-3799.5 Musical Research

ML3800-3923 Philosophical and Societal Aspects of Music, Physics and Acoustics of Music, Physiological Aspects of Music

ML3800 General Works

ML3805-3817 Physics and Acoustics

ML3820 Physiological Aspects

ML3830-3840 Psychology

ML3845-3877 Aesthetics

ML3880-3916 Criticism

ML3916-3918 Social and Political Aspects

ML3919-3920 Moral Influence, Therapeutic Use of Music

ML3921-3921.8 Religious Aspects

ML3922 Music in the Workplace

ML3928-3930 Literature for Children

List source:

  Some music-related materials fall into other LC classes, including the following:

  • BV = hymns
  • GV = dance music
  • KF = music business, music law
  • ND = art and music
  • PN = film music
  • PR = songs, ballads
  • TK = recording technology and techniques*