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Research Guides


a. Chronological

The Music Library collects books and scores in all periods of music history, with emphasis on the history and literature of music from 1200 to the present.

For the audio-visual collection, the Music Library collects materials related to Western classical music from antiquity to the present.  American popular music is collected from a historical perspective.Studies and field recordings of ethnomusicology are collected dating back to the birth of the field to the present. (The Ethnomusicology Archive collects archival field recordings.)

b. Geographical

We collect in all areas, with emphases on faculty areas of specialization. American music is a particular focus of the collection.

c. Language

Primary emphasis is on works in English, secondary emphases are French, German, and Italian. Materials in other languages are acquired selectively. Audiovisual materials are collected in the original language of the materials. Visual materials with English subtitles are acquired whenever possible. Music sung in English translation is generally not collected.

d. Format

The collection includes books, scores and parts, media, and digital materials.  

The print collection includes monographs and sets, serials, facsimiles, reprints, reference works, rare and early editions, and manuscript scores.  Microform materials pertaining to music are located in the Microform/Newspaper Unit in the Suzzallo Library.

Our audio collection includes CDs, LPs, and cassettes.  Our rare audio collection includes 78s, wax cylinders, as well as some transcription discs; the Offenbacher Mozart collection only containes 78s.  Our video collection comprises mostly of DVDs, with some VHS tapes. 

Currently, we collect mostly CDs and DVDs, and we subscribe to audio and video streaming media packages.


e. Exclusions

The Music Library does not collect laboratory materials, multiple copies of scores for classroom or performance use, or orchestral performance parts.  Materials such as juvenilia, clippings, pamphlets, brochures, and publishers’ catalogs are collected on a very selective basis.  College and conservatory course catalogs, slides and photographs, artifacts, and instruments are not collected.

Currently, we do not collect the following media material: LPs, 78s, cassettes, VHS tapes, laser discs, Blu-ray DVDs, and download-only mp3’s.  Exceptions are made on a case by case basis, such as for the Offenbacher Mozart Collection.