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The "Search Everything" feature of UDC Search includes all print resources held by the libraries of the nine WRLC institutions as well as the electronic resources available to UDC students, faculty, and staff.
by Cathy Meals
Last Updated Sep 2, 2021
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Do you see something missing from this guide? Let us know!
The library is always open to adding missing content to our guides. We are happy to add new links, information, and resources you may be aware of. Please email us at email@example.com to share any links or information you would like to see us include.
Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives
The Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives at the University of the District of Columbia was established as a research and resource center for the study, preservation, and continued development of one of America’s greatest original cultural treasures—jazz. Learn more about the Jazz Archives on their webpage.
We have created several Help Guides to help you navigate using library and information resources and tools. These guides are designed to walk you through finding what you need while offering tips, tricks, and other useful information.
The Digital Archive of Popular American Music is an initiative designed to provide access to digital versions of the sheet music, and performances of the songs covering the history of popular music in the United States from 1790 to the present that are now in the public domain.
A dramatic music database of over 18,000 shows and productions dating from the 1690s to the present, containing more than 67,000 songs. These pieces come from all over the world and cover every conceivable topic, portraying the culture and history of their time and place in unique and valuable ways.
The Music Treasures Consortium provides online access to the world's most valued music manuscripts and print materials, held at the most renowned music archives, in order to further research and scholarship. Researchers can search or browse materials, access metadata about each item, and view digital images of the treasure via each custodial archive's Web site. The consortial collection will grow as members add more materials.
Formerly Music & Dance Reference. At present the online bibliography includes approximately 6,500 bibliographies and reference sources (both print and online), approximately 1,600 of which are annotated with critiques on use, coverage, organization, and pros and cons. Many entries also list published reviews for the corresponding sources. The bibliography is growing actively with new sources and critiques added on a regular basis.
The Performing Arts Encyclopedia (PAE) is a guide to performing arts resources at the Library of Congress. The PAE provides information about the Library's unsurpassed collections of scores, sheet music, audio recordings, films, photographs, and other materials.
Petrucci Music Library is a collaborative virtual library of public domain music scores. It currently includes more than twenty thousand works from three thousand composers, with new works added every month. The site boasts the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach in the Bach-Gesellschaft Ausgabe (1851-99), Ludwig van Beethoven, Frédéric Chopin, Johannes Brahms, Corelli, Faure, Sibelius, Schumann, and a large percentage of Franz Liszt, among others.
Journals in literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, economics, and many others.
Project MUSE is a unique collaboration between libraries and publishers, providing 100% full-text, affordable and user-friendly online access to a comprehensive selection of prestigious humanities and social sciences journals. MUSE's online journal collections support a diverse array of research needs at academic, public, special and school libraries worldwide. Our journals are heavily indexed and peer-reviewed, with critically acclaimed articles by the most respected scholars in their fields. MUSE is also the sole source of complete, full-text versions of titles from many of the world's leading university presses and scholarly societies. Currently, MUSE provides full-text access to current content from over 400 titles representing nearly 100 not-for-profit publishers.
A unique, searchable collection of 105 American full-text jazz journals and magazines published from 1914 to roughly the year 2000. Developed in collaboration with the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University, RIPM Jazz Periodicals offers access to this essential documentary resource. All journal issues are out-of-print and rarely accessible, with numerous complete publication runs reconstructed by RIPM.
Cultural treasures from around the world include, but are not limited to, manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, and architectural drawings. Developed by the U.S. Library of Congress, with contributions by partner institutions in many countries and the support of UNESCO.
Finding Songs, Pieces, and Concerts
If you are looking for a specific piece or concert, gather as much information as you can about it. Any piece of this information can not only help you find the work, but the information can also be used as keywords when you are looking for more information about the work or production.
Composer, Musician, or Scorer
Date or Approximate Date (of specific piece or production)
Artist, Symphony, or other Production Company
Location of Production (Country, City, etc.)
Song Indices and Catalogs
For a vocal performance or audition, you may need a specific song or aria. To locate these works, you may need to look at an index or catalog.
To use an index or catalog, look up the title of the work. Next to the title, there will be a string of letters or numbers or a combination of the two. Use this code to look in the front of the volume to find the collection or anthology. Some collections also index by composer, country of origin (this is handy for folk music!), or other ways. The more information you know about the specific work you need, the easier it will be to find.
What is this Score Edition?
Musical scores can be issued in numerous ways. If you need a specific edition, here's how to identify each type.
Facsimile – An exact copy of a musical manuscript. These are often digitized copies of original musical manuscripts (with notations) found in archives or personal collections.
Historical Edition - The term "historical edition" may be applied to any music publication devoted to a past repertory.
Manuscript/Holograph – A document wholly in the handwriting of its author. These are considered to be original, primary sources. They are often found in archives and personal collections and may include notations or other comments.
Performing Edition – An edition of a score usually prepared from a secondary source, to which the editor (sometimes a well-known performer) adds performance notes and articulations that are indistinguishable from those of the source. An example is a piece of music or score that is used by a conductor for a specific performance or set of performances. Individual musicians will also have performing editions.
Urtext – A score prepared on the basis of a critical evaluation of all known primary sources, this class of edition is designed to present the most authoritative and authentic version of a musical work. Editorial material such as analysis or comments may be added but will be clearly distinguished from the original work.
Music is always being created and shared. It probably won't be possible to find scholarly information about contemporary works, but that doesn't mean there is no information available.
If you need to find information about a living playwright or current production, try a few of the following techniques:
Visit the musician or composer's personal webpage, Instagram, or Twitter
Contact the musician or composer directly (Never hurts to try!)
Search for the musician, composer, or production on Google or Wikipedia (This is one instance where these are great tools!)
Look for the musician, composer, or production in their hometown or local newspaper
Search contemporary music blogs, magazines, websites, or other information outlet
When you search for articles, books, and other information, you need to use keywords. Below is a list of keywords or categories of keywords that could be used in the library databases. You can use this on their own or mix and match them to narrow your results.
Choral or Chorus
Composer or Musician Name
Musical Theater (or Music Theatre)
Vocal or Voice
Browse the Stacks
If you want to browse the stacks for music books, you can find titles related to this topic in the call number sections below. If you need assistance finding a topic or a specific title, just ask a reference librarian for help.