This page will walk you through the process of finding scores and recordings using the library catalog.
As you're searching, remember that MPAL has materials in a variety of formats, and it is important to look closely at an item's call number and item record to make sure you are choosing the format that best fits your need - you don't want to go to the trouble of looking for a score only to discover that it isn't in a format you can play from in performance or that it is missing the part you need.
If you need help reading an item record, check out our pages on distinguishing printed music formats and audio and video formats.
When searching for printed music and recordings, it's often best to start with what you know about the piece and to use the default keyword search feature.
A keyword search will check the terms you enter against almost every word in every part of an item's catalog record. This is important for music materials because the composer might not be listed in the author field, or there may be a small variation on the title (like foreign language titles).
Then use the "Tweak your results" section in the catalog to get more specific. To learn more about refining your results, check out the next tabs in this box. Each tab shows a different filter you can use to make your results more specific.
Use the Resource Type facet to pick whether you want books, scores, audio recordings, or video. Limiting by format will eliminate a lot of irrelevant results from your search.
Consult the Subjects list in the Details section of the item record to determine what an item is about or what type of music the item contains. Subjects will tell you if the item contains a score, vocal score, score and parts, etc.
The subjects listed in blue are also clickable; you can click on any of the subject headings listed in the record to initiate a new search for similarly classified materials.
To see the full contents of an item, you must scroll down to the Details section. This is where you can see what works or tracks a recording includes or what chapter titles a collected anthology includes.
As we covered in the previous tabs, each item in the library catalog is assigned one or more subject headings to tell you what it is about. Rather than search by keyword, you can also choose to search by subject heading using the catalog's Advanced Search feature.
To search by subject in the catalog:
Using the following tips will make your searching more efficient and effective.
All scores can be found on the second floor of MPAL. Browsing the shelves for materials related to your topic can be a great way to identify items that may be useful to you. If you find one or two items in the catalog that seem promising, look on the shelves at the items surrounding them.
Because MPAL uses two classification systems for scores, there will often be two different call number ranges you should check for a particular material. Call numbers for scores about string quartets and quintets are as follows:
To help you browse the score collection, we've highlighted some call numbers below to guide you to relevant vocal materials.
Cantatas, oratorios etc. at M2023 or M783.3 (this number also includes some Masses and Requiems), then alphabetically by composer