Skip to main content

Finding Scores for Music Theory: Welcome

A guide for finding scores for music theory projects

Welcome

Introduction

For several assignments in music theory, you need to find musical examples in scores by various composers. Finding scores in the library can be difficult, so here are some suggestions for your searching.

If you need any extra help, please contact the Performing Arts Librarian, Bret McCandless, at mccandless@rowan.edu; or come into the Performing Arts Collection on the second floor of Campbell Library, where someone will be able to assist you during many operating hours.

Online Scores

Because of the move to online instruction, there are several places you can go to find scores by composers who are women online.

Classical Scores Library

This library database has published scores from the medieval period to the present. There are several composers who are women included in the collections, but not as many as IMSLP. These scores are also searchable in Library Search, just like our printed scores. See direction #2 and the box at the bottom of the page. You will also notice the limiter on the left-hand side for resources "Available Online." This means that scores are available through Classical Scores Library. Treat all of these scores as print scores. The publication information should be available in the upper hand corners of the PDF and or in the sidebar to the right. 

IMSLP

The International Music Score Library Project has scans and original files of hundreds of thousands of scores available for free online. Currently you cannot search by women composers in general, so you will still need to identify composers on your own in step #1 below. Pay attention to the publication information provided below the files.

CPDL

The Choral Public Domain Library has scans and original files of tens of thousands of choral works for free online. There is a page dedicated to composers who are women. These scores are often created by editors of CPDL, so they might have inconsistent publishing information. Be careful when making your citations.

1. Start With a Known Composer or Work

While there are anthologies of composers by various ethnicities and genders, most of the scores in the Performing Arts Collection are organized by genre, and then by composer. Composers of all kinds are mixed in together (though they are dominated by dead white men [thanks musical canon! {eye roll}]), and subject headings generally do not list any demographic information about the composer. In that case, it is best to start with someone that you are searching for. Suggested lists can be found at the bottom of this page.

2. Limit Your Search to Scores:

In Library Search (primo.rowan.edu), there are options to limit your search by format, either before or after searching. This will weed out all of the books, recordings, articles, and reference entries about your composer or piece.

You can use limiters on the side of the search results (here I just searched for "Amy Beach"):

 

Or you can start in the advanced search, by limiting to scores only:

 

You can also use the search box below:

Search Music Scores

3. Find your score in the Performing Arts Collection (PAC)

Every score in the PAC will be assigned a call number, which functions like an address for finding it on the shelf. At Campbell Library, and at most university libraries, we use the Library of Congress Classification System. It can be tough to understand these numbers, but here is a helpful website that gives you a brief overview: https://www.usg.edu/galileo/skills/unit03/libraries03_04.phtml

The call number can be found in each record for a physical item in Library Search, either in the brief record displayed while searching:

Or twice in the full record:

 

Call numbers are "read" left to right on each individual shelf in a unit. The shelves are read top to bottom. When you have reached the bottom, then you move to the right to the next unit. A collection of units is called a "range," and there are helpful guides to tell you which call numbers can be found in each range. For example, this Amy Beach score would be found in the range below, because M 512 falls between M 219 and M 557 (and it's a quintet!) 

Composers Who are Women

There are several places that you can find lists of women who are composers. Remember, that for this assignment, composers who were active between 1750 and 1900 will probably be the most useful for your assignment.

There are several anthologies of pieces by women in the Performing Arts Collection. Many of them have the searchable subject heading "Music by women composers". Here are some of the more prominent ones: