Music: Scores in the Library

Music, Theatre and Dance

Sheet music database

Finding Scores at GVSU

Call Numbers for Music scores

Call Numbers for scores beginning with the letter M will be found on the 3rd floor of the Mary Idema Pew (Allendale) Library.

  • M3 Collected or Complete Works (scores)
  • M134 Guides to the Complete Works by composer
  • M5-1490 Instrumental Music (scores)
  • M1495-5000< Vocal Music (scores)

A more complete guide to Call Numbers is available from the Library of Congress. Yale provides a guide to the filing rules (the order of items on shelves).

To Find Scores (sheet music) at GVSU

Use the Library Search on any webpage, or visit Find Materials > Find Books.

Click on the Printed Music option in Material Type box below the search boxes. Or you could search the type of item such as score as a keyword

Use separate boxes for your composer, piece title, type of piece, or other keywords. When you put your composer's last name in the box, change the drop-down to "author" instead of any field. When searching for a type of piece, use the plural, e.g., "sonatas" or "concertos" (not concerti). You may use keywords like "piano sonatas op. 23."  You may also search for the instrument as a subject, e.g., piano.

One of the complications of searching for scores is the many ways publishers can cite the name of a piece. For example, a piano sonata could be called: "piano sonata", "sonata for piano", "sonata no. x for piano", "Klaviersonate", "Sonate fur Klavier", etc. Virtually all of these would have a "uniform title" of "Sonatas, piano ..." so using the plural of the type of piece followed by the instrument name is a good keyword phrase to use in searching.

Searching for Specific Items

In the Library search box, type names in reverse order (e.g., ellington duke). Click on Search.

Many scores are in the “Complete or Collected works” of a composer but are not listed in the Catalog. You may want to browse the shelves in the call number area of M3, and use the guides to the collected works in the call number area of ML134.

Miniature scores are at the beginning of the M's on the 3rd floor. Oversized scores are in the ASRS and must be requested through the catalog.

Collected or Complete Works

To find scores which do not appear in the Library Search or Library Catalog, use the following steps.

1. Go to the Oxford Music Online database.

2. Search for the composer's last name, first name.

3. Choose the composer's name.

4. Click on Works in the left menu (usually at the bottom).

5. Use the table and the abbreviations list above the table to figure out which set, volume, and issue a piece will be in.

6. Go to the Complete works area, 3rd floor, call number M3. These are arranged by composer. Look for the set, etc., and use the table of contents to find the piece.

7. Ask for help when you need it!

8. Read the Grove Music Online User's Manual for Works-Lists.


Another good guide is Music: Basics!: Score Editions & Types from Butler University.

Thematic Indexes for composers may be helpful. Look for the composer, then search the title in our Library to see if we have it; they are likely to be on the 3rd floor, call number ML134.

Borrowing Scores from other libraries

Special Collections

The Special Collections include an Early 20th Century sheet music collection (89 pieces of popular sheet music, spanning from the very late 1800s to the early 1900s) and the Robert Shechtman musical scores (many of the compositions were commissioned by Arend D. Lubbers, former president of Grand Valley, for various people and events at the university. Robert Wepman co-wrote some of the pieces contained in the collection). Contact Leigh Rupinski to schedule a visit to Seidman House to see these materials.

There are additional types of music-related items in the Digital Collections, including Music Department recordingsSponsored music performance brochures and flyers, programs, and scrapbooks and photograph albums.

Subjects: Music
  • Last Updated: Jun 17, 2024 1:05 PM
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