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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Finding Music Materials: Find Scores and Recordings

The Basics

This page outlines some basic tips for searching for scores and recordings, since most tips apply to both formats. For more information on searching for printed music or for recordings, click on the dropdowns under this tab called Printed Music Formats and Audio and Video Formats.

Search Tips

  • Use quotations marks to keep phrases together like "West Side Story" and "string quartets". But be careful--make sure something is really a phrase or you might miss important results.
  • Truncation: use an asterisk (*) to replace part of a word. Example: Symphon* finds symphony, symphonies, and symphonien
  • Wildcards: use a question mark (?) to substitute one letter within a word. Example: analy?e finds analyze and analyse

Finding Music Materials

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 you results" section in the catalog to get more specific. 

Use the Resource Type facet to pick whether you want books, scores, audio recordings, video, etc. 

Screenshot of library catalog with filter option

Use the Subjects to determine what an item is about or what type of music the item contains. Subjects will also tell you if the item contains is a score, vocal score, score and parts, etc. and can be found in the details of an item record as well as the filters to the left. 

screenshot of catalog record for recording with subjects

To see the full contents of an item, you must scroll down to the Details section. 

screenshot of catalog record for recording highlighting Contents and General Note sections

Finding Music Materials in the Library Catalog Video