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Music Resources in the Library Catalog

This is a guide to locating music books, scores, and sound recordings using the Randall Library Catalog. If you need additional assistance please ask a Reference Librarian.


What if I know a couple of words that might be in the title?

You can search for an item even if you only remembered one or two words of a title, even if they aren't at the beginning. A keyword search is perfect for this. Let's say you know a title contains the words FLUTE and CONCERTO, but you don't remember anything else. Select the KEYWORD search option and type in flute and concerto. The catalog will retrieve items with flute and concerto in the title, as well as items with flute and concerto in other fields.  If you also know the composer's name, enter it as part of the KEYWORD search:  flute and concerto and vivaldi.

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How can I find a song or piece of music that is part of a work if I can't remember the name of the whole work?

Many musical selection titles do not appear in the title, so a search by title fails to find them. Often this information is in the "contents note" part of the bibliographic record, so a keyword search may find them.

Example: You are looking for the song "Don't Cry for Me Argentina."

Doing a KEYWORD search, using the words in the title, you will retrieve 6 results, none with that title. If you look at the complete record to read the "content notes," you will find the song. Remember you may have to read the full record. The catalog displays the words you searched on in red type.

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How can I find a musical work like a contata that is part of a larger work?

For major composers (e.g. Bach, Beethoven, Mozart) the library has sets of complete works. A quick way to discern which volume of a composer's complete work contains a particular title is to check the list of works at the end of the article about the composer in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (Link to record).

When searching for classical music you can often use an opus number or other identifying number (BWV, for Bach) as keywords to locate a selection that is part of a larger work.

Some major composers' works have been identified with other unique numbering systems.  Ritter von Ludwig Koechel developed a catalog of Mozart's works, and these "K" numbers appear in the catalog.  To be safe, enter the search both with and without a space between the K and the number:  K339 or K 339.

You can also check the following index to musical collections: Heyer, A. H. Historical Sets, Collected Editions, and Monuments of Music (Link to record). Start with volume 2 (Index), find the name of the composer of the piece; you will be referred to volume 1 (text) under a collection title or editor's name. Volume 1 gives the name and contents of each collection. Then check the online catalog to see if Randall Library owns the collection.

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How do I find background information on my topic?

Use the subject search to find information ABOUT your topic. This is the best way to search for items about a person, place, thing, or idea.

To use subject searching effectively, use the predetermined controlled vocabulary term that expresses the theme or content of an item. Like most academic libraries, Randall Library uses the Library of Congress Subject Headings as its controlled vocabulary. Type as much or as little of the SUBJECT as you want, for example:

  • Music history and criticism
  • Opera
  • Mozart

Hint: To search for a person as a subject, type the last name first, just as you would to search for an author.

What if I don't know what my topic's subject heading is?

You can identify the correct subject heading for your topic, by using:

  • Library of Congress Subject Headings (Link to record). The Library of Congress Subject Headings are 5 large red books located on the bookshelf near the Reference Desk; they list all the standardized subject descriptors that librarians use to catalog books.
  • Classification Web. Once you are in Classification Web, click on the "LC Subject Headings" link to search or browse the subject headings.

Hint: If you are browsing through some records after searching by author, title, keyword, or subject and you come across a resource that is exactly what you were looking for, you can find all the other items with that same subject heading. The catalog displays subject headings as Internet links, allowing you to click on the subject heading of an item's record to find more materials under the same subject heading.

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How do I search for scores?

To search for music scores in the online catalog, try doing an ADVANCED KEYWORD search for a type of music or instrument.  Then select "UNC Wilmington" from the "Location" box and "Music Score" from the "Material Type" box.  Then click on the "Submit" button to run the search.

If you are looking for a specific score, try a KEYWORD search for the artist and type of score.

Type in the KEYWORD search box:

Hindemith and sonata

Then click on the "Modify Search" button at the top of the results page. Select "Music Score" from the "Material Type" box. Finally, click on the "Submit" button to run the search for music score items containing the words Hindemith and sonata somewhere in the records.

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What opera scores does the library own?

Keyword searching

Use KEYWORD searches to find kinds of materials. If you want to find opera scores, not just one specific opera then type operas and scores. This may be a good place to use truncation. Some items may appear in the catalog in both the singular or plural of the word. By using an * (asterisk) you can easily get both in only one search.

Example: opera* and score*

(In fact, opera and score retrieves 123 records, operas and scores gets 239, but opera* and score* pulls up 308).  

Advanced keyword searching

Click on the "Advanced Search" link in the yellow box to the left of the search box. Type your search terms in the box(es), and then limit your search by selecting "UNC Wilmington" from the Location box and "Music Score" from the Material Type box. Click on the "Submit" button to run your search.

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Does Randall Library have a copy of a specific work?

Title searching

To find a copy of a specific work use the title search. This search will only work if the words are at the BEGINNING of the title, as it is a "left to right" search. If the words are somewhere else in the title, you'll need to do a keyword search.

Example: Does the library have a copy of Eine kleine Nachtmusik?

Type as much or as little of the TITLE as you want, for example:

Eine kleine

Keyword in title searching

If you want to search precisely for words in the title that are not necessarily at the beginning of the title, using a keyword search, try using: t:

Example: Does the library own something by Bach that has "clavier" in the title?

Type in the KEYWORD search box:

t:clavier

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What does Randall Library have by a specific composer, performer, conductor, or orchestra? (see also Author/Title search below)

Author searching

Author searches are used when you know the name of the person who wrote a book, or the person or group responsible for the publication of an item.

If you know the item you're looking for is by Mozart, or a specific orchestra, performer, or conductor, you would type in the search with the author's last name first, then the first name.

Example: What does the library have by Mozart? OR Does the library have works by the London Symphony Orchestra? OR Does the library have performances by Leontyne Price?

Type the LAST NAME first:

Mozart
London Symphony Orchestra
Price, Leontyne

Especially when searching for works of an accomplished and prolific artist, it becomes necessary to narrow the search. One way to do this is to use the Author/Title search.

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Author/Title Search

To run an Author/Title search, click on the "Author and Title Search Link" link in the yellow box to the left of the search box. Format your search according to the examples listed below.

Type the Author's or Artist's LAST NAME first

Example: Vivaldi, Antonio

Type some or all of the words in the title

Example: Gloria

Image of a sample Author/Title search in the catalog

Type the Author's or Artist's LAST NAME first

Example: Bach, J

Type some or all of the words in the title

Example: Sonata no. 6

Image of a sample Author/Title search in the catalog

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How do I find music for a specific instrument?

To search for instrument-related resources in the online catalog, try doing a SUBJECT search.

Type in the SUBJECT search box:

Musical Instruments

Click on the active link "Musical Instruments"; this will retrieve 30+ results. See also the narrower term, Mechanical Musical Instruments.

To find resources on a specific instrument try a KEYWORD search.

Type in the KEYWORD search box:

Violoncello

This will retrieve more than 400 results. Remember to limit your search to a specific material type to help narrow this search. For example, you could limit to music scores by clicking on the "Modify Search" button at the top of the results page. Then select "Music Score" from the "Material Type" box. Finally, click on the "Submit" button to limit your Violoncello results to music scores.

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How do I find recorded music?

Using the online catalog to find recordings

Finding a specific musical composition is often difficult for two reasons. First, searches often retrieve records for dozens of entries, especially for major composers, musicians or performers. Second, a search retrieves all formats: compact discs (CDs), books, tapes, scores, DVDs or videos, LPs, and more. The format is indicated by icons in a title list after you run a search, for instance:

Image of the book icon from the online catalog   Indicates a book
Image of the videorecording icon in the online catalog   Indicates a DVD or video
Image of the music score icon in the online catalog   Indicates a music score
Image of the CD icon in the online catalog   Indicates a CD recording
Image of the ebook icon in the online catalog   Indicates an ebook
Image of the LP icon in the online catalog   Indicates an LP or audiotape

To limit your results to a specific format, click on the "Modify Search" or "Limit/Sort Search" button located at the top of your results page. Then select the desired format from the "Material Type" box (if you want to select multiple formats to limit by, hold the CONTROL key down while selecting). When finished, click the "Submit" button to re-run the search with the format limits applied. Please note, you may also limit by year of publication, location in Library, language, or additional words in title, author or subject field.

Example: How do I find CD recordings of music by Mozart?

Do an AUTHOR search, type in Mozart; click on the appropriate entry for Mozart: Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus 1756 1791. You will be brought to a list of hundreds of items. Click on the "Limit/Sort Search" button, select "CD (Sound)" from the "Material Type" box. Then click on the "Submit" button to limit to items authored by Mozart on CD.

Example: How do I find jazz CD recordings?

Do a KEYWORD search, type in jazz; the catalog retrieves a list of results. Click on the "Modify Search" button, select "CD (Sound)" from the "Material Type" box. Then click on the "Submit" button to limit to CD items that have the word "jazz" somewhere in the record.

Remember never give up on a search without asking a Reference Librarian to help. Also, if you are retrieving too many results, a librarian may be able to provide guidance on narrowing your search.