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Music Performance & Pedagogy: Keyboard: Finding Scores & Recordings

Be a Smart Searcher!

Musical works can have more than one title for the same piece, and not all title variations are present in every entry in the library catalog. Or, your work could be part of a larger work and you need to search for the larger work title instead. It's not that we don't have your keyboard work, but you might have to try more than one search strategy before you find it!

Be a smart searcher --use Oxford Music Online, or your favorite reference source FIRST to find:

  • The composer's catalog number for your work (i.e. BWV 825 for a Bach partita)
  • The key and opus/serial number for your work (i.e. op. 31, no. 2 for a Beethoven sonata
  • the title of the larger work containing your piece

Catalog Search Tips: Finding Keyboard Works

First, determine if your musical work has a generic title, or a distinctive title.

  • Generic titles are based on the form or type of composition. Examples are sonatas, preludes, & symphonies.

  • Distinctive titles are when the composer gives a work a title that is not based on the form or type of composition. Examples are Ungarische Tanze by Brahms,and Valse Romantique by Debussy

  • Be careful with nicknames! Some works have common names that are not actually distinctive titles. The Moonlight Sonata is actually Sonata no.14 in C sharp minor, op. 27 no. 2

Second, determine if your musical work is part of a larger work or set.

  • If you're searching for a movement, try simply searching for the title of the larger work. Movement names are not always indexed in the library catalog.

  • If you're searching for a work that is part of a suite, also try searching for the suite title. For "Clair de Lune" by Debussy, also search for "Suite Bergamasque"

When searching for keyboard works with distinctive titles:

  • Search for the title in the original language. An example is Wohltemperierte Klavier not Well Tempered Clavier

  • Put quotation marks around the title "Wohltemperierte Klavier"

When searching for keyboard works with generic titles:

  • Use the name of the generic form in English. An example is "Sonata" not "Sonate"

  • Locate all serial numbers and composer's catalog numbers for your work.  Don't just search "sonata no. 14" but also try "op. 27 no. 2"

When searching for piano arrangements:

  • Use the words "arranged piano" when searching for piano arrangements of instrumental works

  • Use the words "vocal score with piano" when searching for piano arrangements of vocal works

Always try multiple searches!