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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Finding Individual Songs

This guide will help you locate individual songs in printed music and on recordings. It also includes resources for verifying work titles and using song indexes.


The MPAL Historic US Sheet Music Collection is comprised of almost 100,000 pieces of music, including a diversity of material from popular songs to art songs for piano or voice and piano. In many cases there are duplicate copies of pieces when there are differences in the content and/or the cover art. The dates included in the collection range from the early 1800s to the mid 1990s.

This collection is separate from the modern printed music editions found in our online library catalog, so you have to search for these materials separately. 

How to Search the Historic Sheet Music Collection

To search the collection, start from our page on the University of Illinois's Historic US Sheet Music Collection.

  • Follow the link to Search the Online Sheet Music Database
  • You can search by words from the title and/or composer 
  • Once you’ve searched, you can limit the results by format (vocal and piano or piano solo) and/or year
  • Once you've found material you're interested in, copy the call number and bring it to the service desk on the first floor


Sheet Music Consortium

Another tool you may want to explore if you are looking for historic sheet music is the Sheet Music Consortium!

The Sheet Music Consortium is a group of libraries working toward the goal of building an open collection of digitized sheet music using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting. Harvested metadata about sheet music in participating collections is hosted by UCLA Digital Library Program, which provides an access service via this metadata to sheet music records at the host libraries.

Much of the material is digitized and the site features virtual collections to help you browse!