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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Music 558: Vocal Literature: Finding Individual Songs

Information to help students researching vocal literature

Tips for Finding Individual Songs or Arias

  1. Search the library catalog by song title (or song title and composer) to start.
    • Do a keyword search for [“song title”] and [composer] and the limit your search results to printed music or recording.
    • We don't recommend a "Title" search in the catalog because the song may be from a larger work, or may be included in an anthology or collection with a different title. Of course, if you are looking for the entire work, or you know the name of the collection you need, you could do a search by title such as West Side Story, for example.
  2. If that doesn't work, you may need to determine if your piece comes from a larger work (e.g., song cycle, opera, oratorio, cantata).
  3. If you can't find the song by searching for its title or the title of the larger work in our catalog, you may need to check a print index to determine if the song is part of a larger printed anthology. See the "Song Indexes" tab of this guide.
  4. You may also be able to locate the song or aria in the composer's collected works edition (if there is one). Check the Grove composer's works list.

Useful Catalog Subject Headings

  • Songs (High Voice*) with Piano**
    • *or Low Voice or Medium Voice
    • **or Guitar or Instrumental Ensemble, etc.            
  • Vocal Duets* with Piano**
    • * or Trios or Quartets, etc.
    • ** or Instrumental Ensemble or Orchestra, etc.
  • Vocal Music [used where SONGS is inappropriate; books about vocal music as well as music editions]
  • Opera [books about opera]
  • Operas [musical works]
  • Operas--Excerpts
  • Singers
  • Singing
  • Singing--Instruction and study
  • Singing--Diction
  • Songs--Texts
  • Song cycles
  • Voice
  • Voice Culture

Subject Guide

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