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Syracuse University Libraries

Music Scores & Sheet Music

SUMMON Search Tips for Music Scores

Musical works can be published as individual pieces in a larger score collection, or they can be published as a stand-alone score. Also, like you see on YouTube, published scores can have a lot of variations in how the publisher chooses to print the title on the score. When the library catalogs a score, we transcribe what the publisher called the score, but we also add a "preferred title" that helps users find scores better.

Use the search tips below to find scores in Summon: 

  • Use the composer's last name; no initials or punctuation. No need to enter first name unless the last name is common, like Bach or Smith. 
  • If the title of the work is generic, like symphonies, concertos, or sonatas,
    • search for generic titles in English and use the plural, like "Symphonies" or "Concertos," not "sinfonia" or "konzert")
    • take the 60 seconds to find the work's opus or serial numbers online.
    • Add an opus number or serial number, and use standard abbreviations (examples: op. 56, no. 1,  BWV 111)
    • do not use nicknames for works, like "moonlight sonata," or "Beethoven's choral symphony."
    • leave out the key (like C minor), as that is not always included on the score's title page or in the "preferred title" in the library catalog
  • If the title of the work is unique, like an opera, song cycle, or other non-generic title
    • Take the 60 seconds to find the title in the original language online, and whether your work is part of a larger work, like an opera or song cycle.
    • Search for unique titles in their original language (example: Nozze di Figaro; not Marriage of Figaro)
    • Leave off the leading articles in various languages, like the/a/an (English), le/la/les/an (French), die/der/das/eine (German)
    • Use quotation marks around the title to search the keywords as a phrase.
  • If a piece is part of a larger work, like an art song within a song cycle, also try a new search for the title of the larger work. The individual songs or movements within a work will sometimes not be entered into the library catalog for older scores.
  • Limit search results to content type "music score." note: you may have to click "more" to see that option.
  • Add the search term "parts" to find chamber or performance sets that have individual instrument parts.
  • Add the search term "high voice" or "medium voice" or "low voice" for vocal music in different keys
  • Add the search term "vocal score" for any works for voice and orchestra (like operas) that are arranged for voice and piano
  • Add the search term "piano score" for any works for solo instruments and orchestra (like concertos) that are arranged for solo instruments plus piano. 

See Vocal Performance Guide for more tips on finding vocal music.