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Syracuse University Libraries

Music Scores and Sheet Music

Finding Pieces in Scholarly Collected Works Editions

Many musical works from the mainstream European and American art music repertoire are published in large collections in the library, called collected works editions or scholarly editions. These specific types of scores are generally found in the stacks in the M2's and M3's, and each set can be dozens if not hundreds of volumes. It can sometimes be difficult to find exactly which volume you want when only searching in Summon. This is where using some additional reference books and databases can help. 

  1. Look up the composer in Oxford Music Online. 
    • If there is more than one entry, choose the one that is from the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
  2. Locate the composer's works list and the titles of the collected works sets that have been published.
    • The works list is usually at the very end of the Oxford article. Look for the word "works" in the navigation column on the left. 
    • The collected works editions are listed near the top of the works list. As new manuscripts and research are available, there are newer collected editions that are published. In general, use the edition that has the most recent publication date, as it will have the most up-to-date research.
    • Note the two or three letter abbreviation that goes with each set. Those abbreviations appear as column headers in the works list.
  3. Locate your work in the composer's works list.
    • For composers with hundreds of works, they can sometimes be organized by instrumentation
    • You can use control+F to keyword search on the web browser page.
    • Be careful of different works with the same title! Some composers set the same text to more than one composition, arrange it for a different instrumentation, or otherwise use the same name for different works. 
  4. Locate the volume number of the collected edition that contains your work.                screen from Oxford Music Online
    • Look in the column corresponding to the collected works set you identified in step 2. There may be more than one edition, represented by more than one column of series and volume numbers.
    • Series and volume numbers are often presented as Roman numerals. For some sets, the page number is also listed, preceded by a comma. . 
    • If you do not see a series or volume number in the appropriate column, that means that the score had not been published as of the last time that Oxford Music Online article was updated. In that case, check the publisher's website for an official list of the volumes published to date.
  5. Locate the call number of the collected works edition in Summon, the library catalog.
    • Search for the last name of the composer, a keyword from the publisher, and a couple keywords from the title. (tip: sometimes, the publisher slightly adjusts the title of the collected works set over time, so the titles might not quite match up if you search the exact set title)
    • Limit to content type "music score," and look for search results that have call numbers beginning with M3
  6. Go to the library shelf under the call number you found in the catalog (step 5), and pull the volume number you found in Oxford Music Online (step 4).