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COVID-19 UPDATE

Library building hours and access are limited at this time. Services and support are being provided remotely. See COVID-19 library updates.

Music: CDs, LPs, etc.

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

Music Library's Recordings Collections

There are two recording collections in the Music Library

  • The Recordings Collection, which has been curated to support the teaching curriculum.
    • Includes CDs, LPs, DVDs, VHS videos, and a tiny number of cassette tapes.
    • The CDs are undergoing conversion to set them to circulate outside the library for the same loan periods as books and scores.
    • Request these recordings at the Circulation Desk.
  • The Yale Collection of Historical Sound Recordings
    • Its purpose is to collect, preserve, and make available for study important historical recordings.
    • Includes Western classical music, jazz, American musical theatre, drama, literature, and history.
    • Approximately 280,000 recordings currently, the majority of which are 78s and LPs.
    • The remaining portion of the collection consists mostly of reel-to-reel tapes, CDs, audio cassettes, and cylinders.
    • CDs and DVDs listed in Books+ and Orbis may be paged for use within the Music Library. Pick them up at the Circulation Desk. For all other formats, access is by appointment only.

Search for Recordings in the Catalog

See the Search Library Catalogs tab for recommendations on searching for recordings.

Many of the Recordings Collection's LPs cataloged prior to 1981 are listed in card catalogs in the basement of the library. These are in two parts:

  • Catalog 1: 1952 to 1972
    • Composers, titles, and subject headings
    • Performers
  • Catalog 2: 1973 to 1980
    • Composers, titles, and subject headings
    • Performers

The situation is a bit more complex for recordings in Historical Sound Recordings.

For other recordings, inquire with the Head of Historical Sound Recordings, Mark Bailey. If you can, provide the recording manufacturer's label name and number (e.g., Deutsche Grammophon 20052). You may be able to look up the label name and number in one of the two databases below. There are also many discographies published as books or articles that you can locate through Quicksearch.