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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Music 557: Piano Literature: Tips for Finding Piano Materials

Instrument names

Sometimes you have to be creative in using the correct name of an instrument--depending on the piece / time period, you may need to consider searching for one of the following, even if you intend to perform the piece on a modern piano.

  • Piano
  • Keyboard
  • Harpsichord
  • Clavichord

Searching tips

Subject headings can tell you a lot about the item, like

What instruments (and what parts are included)?

  • Trios (Piano, clarinet, violoncello) - Scores and parts.
  • Piano quartets
  • Quartets (Piano, clarinet, violin, violoncello) - Scores.

How many hands?

  • Piano music (4 hands)
  • Sonatas (Piano, 4 hands)
  • Suites (Piano, 4 hands)
  • Symphonies (Piano, 4 hands), Arranged.

How many pianos?

  • pianos (2)

Was it originally for piano?

  • Overtures (Piano), Arranged.
  • Piano music, Arranged

Locating books in the catalog about piano music

You can use a subject search to find items related to your topic, as subject headings are assigned by librarians to indicate what an item is "about."

Select Subject from the dropdown list to the right of the catalog search box. 

Some subject headings to consider in the catalog

  • [composer name]—criticism and interpretation
  • keyboard instruments [or pianos or harpsichords]—history
  • musical analysis
  • music--interpretation (phrasing, dynamics, etc.)
  • performance practice (music)—[geographical or temporal subdivision]
  • piano music--bibliography (for repertoire guides and bibliographies of writings about the piano)
  • piano music [or keyboard instrument music]—analysis, appreciation
  • piano music [or keyboard instrument music]—history and criticism
  • piano [or harpsichord] makers—[geographical or temporal subdivision]

"Criticism and interpretation" along with "analysis, appreciation" and "history, criticism" are three of the most useful subject headings to guide you books that talk about composers and their works.

Clicking on a subject term in a catalog record will take you to all items that have that particular subject heading in our catalog.

Subject Guide

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