VCU Libraries

Research Guides


Classical, Jazz, scores, recordings

Your Librarian

Carla-Mae Crookendale's picture
Carla-Mae Crookendale
Arts Research Librarian
(804) 827-0367
Cabell Library, Room 121-A
Subjects:Arts, Visual

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Music Reference Resources

Searching for Music Performances

Use the VCU Libraries Search box (above) to find books, recordings, scores, DVDs, and other music collections of VCU Libraries.  Music materials can be located by title, composer, performer, instrumentation, type of composition, recording label or number, publisher number, or material type.

Advanced Search offers the best option for music search success.

Advanced Search

1.  Limit your search by Material Type, but remember that limiting by format may also exlude other formats.  Example, a CD format search for Bob Dylan excludes documentaries and performances DVDs.

  • Musical Scores
  • Audiovisuals
    • Sound Recordings
      • Internet Audio
      • CDs
      • Phonograph Records
    • Film Formats
      • Internet --Video
      • DVDs
      • Blu-Ray DVDs
      • Film Reels <16mm films>
      • Videos
      • Foreign Language Films

Tip: for results which includes scores, recordings, and videos: 

  • Search by title and author key words.
  • Within Refine My Results, choose Material Type More Options.
  • Select just two options 1) Audio Visual and 2) Scores to limit results to scores + internet audio + internet video + CDs + DVDs + phonographs  + videos + and more.

2.  Avoid "Author/Creator" or "Title" limiters for comprehensive music searches.  Musical works and musicians may be listed within the "Contents" section of the bibliographic record, not within the "title" or "author" section.  This is particularly important for short works, Jazz, or popular music!

3.  Truncation.  The * character (asterisk) can be placed at the left, right or middle of a portion of a word. 

  • Spelling:  If you are unsure how to spell something, get the first part right, then use the truncation symbol.
    Example:  Shosta* for Shostakovich
  • Plural and singular and multiple languages in one search with an * at the end of the root term.
    Example:  symphon*  results in symphony, symphonies, symponium, and sympnonien

4.  Break generic titles into a number of keyword elements

Example:  Pachelbel's work titled "Canon, violin (3), continuo, in D major"  can be searched using different elements of the title.
Pachelbel AND canon results in 115 hits; Pachelbel AND canon AND violin results in 53 hits.

5.  Music opus or work numbers: search with and without the number; or try searches with both numbers.  Also, look for the number within a sequence or collected works collection.  Remember, an opus number is not the same as the work number. 

Example:  Beethoven's Symphony no. 9 is his opus no. 125. 

6.  Search foreign titles in both English and their original language (uniform title).

Example:  Vivaldi's Cimento dell'amrmonia e dellinventione (Italian) finds more productions: The four seasons (English), Le quattro stagioni (French), and Die vier jahreszeiten (German) productions

7.  Language Limiter features can assist in searching for translations or alternative arrangements of scores, performances or librettos.  There is a pull down box for English and our most popular languages.  You can also use Refine My Results / Language.




Interlibrary Loan

If you can't find the book, article, video, or dissertation that you want at VCU, try these resources to find what you need.