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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

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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The Music Library's Reference Room on the mezzanine level has a wealth of books that have not been superseded by databases.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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