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Music Performance & Pedagogy: Voice: Finding Scores

Be a Smart Searcher!

Not all score collections or larger works have their song contents fully indexed in the library catalog. It's not that we don't have your song, but you might have to try more than one search strategy before you find it!

Be a smart searcher --use Grove Music Online, the Lied, Art Song & Choral Texts Archive, or your favorite reference source FIRST to find:

  • the aria or song title in its original language
  • the name of the composer
  • the title of the larger work (opera, song cycle) containing your song or aria

Catalog Search Tips: Finding Arias & Songs

First, try searching SUMMON for the title of the song or aria

This will retrieve scores for which the title of your song or aria is typed into the contents notes.

  • Enter only as much of the title that you are sure of
  • Skip words that have variant spellings or variant punctuation, or be sure to try a search for EACH variation.
  • Put quotation marks around words that go together as a phrase
  • Search for the title in its original language
  • Limit your search results to "music score" or "music recording" under CONTENT TYPE on the left

Second, try searching SUMMON for the title of the larger work that contains your song or aria (opera, song cycle, musical, or oratorio)

This will retrieve scores that will contain your song or aria, though the catalog record may not have the song or aria title listed.

  • Enter the title in its original language -- "Nozze di Figaro," not "Marriage of Figaro"
  • Leave off begining articles such as "a," "an," "the," or their foreign language equivalents
  • Limit your search results to "music score" or "musical recording" under CONTENT TYPE on the left

Third, for art songs, try searching the Classic Catalog for the composer's last name and the word "songs" 

This will retrieve scores that are song collections by a single composer (i.e. 200 Songs for Voice and Piano by Schubert).

  • Do an ADVANCED search -- put composer in AUTHOR and "songs" in KEYWORD
  • limit your search results to "music score" (not a good search for sound recordings)
  • Browse through titles in the catalog to locate collections that DO NOT have contents notes. Collect those call numbers, go to the shelf, and check each score's index for your song.

Search by Subject Heading for Vocal Scores

Knowing how subject headings are assigned can give you important keywords for creating a catalog search, especially when using the Classic Catalog. Locate your desired subject heading terms using the PDF guide below, then enter that heading in the search box.