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Music: Reference Books and Online Resources

A research guide for finding music in various formats in the Yale University Library, and for beginning research on music.

Online Reference Resources to Try First

Try also...

Subject Words to Locate Reference Books

The Music Library's Reference Room on the mezzanine level has a wealth of books that have not been superseded by databases. Use the following as Subject Words in Quicksearch or Orbis.

  • Bibliography – use as a subject word to find book-length annotated bibliographies of music and literature on music (ML112.8-ML158.8; ML113 and ML128 particularly useful); or limit to Subject (Genre) Bibliography in Quicksearch
  • Chronology – works arranged by date, e.g. dates of first performance. Example: Music Since 1900 (Reference ML197 S634 M9 2001+)
  • Dictionaries, encyclopedias – also useful as subject words (ML100-109)
  • Discography (as a subject word for book-length discographies, or major portions of a book; it could also be an appendix within a book in which case it would be a keyword)
  • Handbooks
  • Thematic catalogs – subject words that help to identify the catalogs of composers works, with musical incipits for each

Classification of Music Reference

Here is a general guide to the classification numbers of Reference Books.

  • ML12-21 Directories. Almanacs
  • ML47-54.8 Librettos. Texts. Scenarios
  • ML100-109 Dictionaries. Encyclopedias
  • ML110-111.5 Music librarianship
  • ML112-112.5 Music printing and publishing
  • ML112.8-158.8 Bibliography
    • ML128: Bibliographies by Subject or Instrument, including Repertoire Guides
    • ML134: Composers' Thematic Catalogs, arranged alphabetically by composer
    • ML135: Manuscript Catalogs
    • ML136: Library Catalogs
    • ML138: Catalogs of Private Collections
    • ML141: Exhibition Catalogs of Collections
    • ML145: Catalogs of Publications, Publishers
    • ML152: Autograph and Booksellers' Catalogs
    • ML155: Musical Instrument Collection Catalogs
    • ML156: Discography
  • ML160-162 History & Chronology

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