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Music Performance & Pedagogy: Keyboard: Finding Scores & Recordings

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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!