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Music: Home


This research guide presents recommended resources for UDC's Music program. 

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UDC belongs to the Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC).

The nine member libraries share circulating materials with each other and have a common library catalog.

You can use the catalog to look for materials in all of the libraries' collections at one time, or you can limit your search to any one of the libraries.

Related Guides

Something Missing?

Do you see something missing from this guide? Let us know! Icon of a question mark over a person

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 to share any links or information you would like to see us include.

Felix E. Grant Jazz Archives

Collage of jazz imagesThe 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.

Help Guides

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. 

You can see a full list of our subject guides in our Index of Research Guides.

Recommended Databases

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.

  • Title
  • 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.

Contemporary Works

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.

  • Brass
  • Choral or Chorus
  • Classical
  • Composer or Musician Name
  • Composition
  • Criticism
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Folk Music
  • Hip Hop
  • Hymn
  • Jazz
  • Lyrics
  • Music Education
  • Music History
  • Music Industry
  • Musical Theater (or Music Theatre)
  • Musicology
  • Percussion
  • Popular Music
  • R&B
  • Rap
  • Religious Music
  • Reviews
  • Score
  • Sheet Music
  • Vocal or Voice
  • Woodwind

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.

M - Music

ML - Literature on Music

MT - Instruction and Study