Skip to main content

ES100: Fundamental of Chamber Music (L. Brooks): Search tips for locating scores & recordings

A guide created for ES 100: Foundations of Chamber Music

Helpful search hints!

Don't forget --

  • Use KEYWORD searching initially to ID relevant records.
  • Use SUBJECT or DESCRIPTOR headings to find additional resources on the same or similar topics.
  • Use TRUNCATION (i.e., shortening a word to its root or base form using a designated symbol, such as ?, * !, $) for words that might:

*Have more than one significant form, e.g., symphon? = finds symphony, symphonie, symphonien, symphonic, symphonies.

*Have alternative spellings (type as much as you KNOW is correct!)., e.g. Stravinsky or Stravinski

Where can I find this info?

You can find these pieces of information using various resources in the Library or on the Libraries' Website.  Some of the most useful are:

Classic Butler Library Catalog - just doing a simple keyword search using information you already know can yield helpful information! You also can find much of this information in the various bibliographic records for the musical work in WorldCat.  The author field of the records will include the full name and dates of the composer and the uniform title will provide the original title, language, and any relevant sequence, opus, or thematic catalog numbers associated with the piece.  Instrumentation is often provided as well.  Nicknames may be in the title, notes, or alternative title fields.

Grove Music Online  (or The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, print version:  REF ML 100 .N48 2001) - this can give you the full names of composers, their country of origin, and, in some cases, complete information about various compositions, including when the piece was written, its nickname (if any), its opus number or thematic catalog number (if applicable), and its original title, key, and instrumentation.  Be sure to look for the list of a composer's works following the biographical information in the Grove main entry for that composer. or  or ArkivMusic - also can provide much useful information about specific compositions.

Don't be afraid to ask your professor or the Performing & Fine Arts Librarian for assistance!

What to know when searching for scores ...

To find a score or recording of a particular musical work in the Butler Libraries' online catalog, WorldCat, or Naxos Music Online, the following pieces of information will be helpful:

Composer’s [full] name:

Also, remember to consider alternate spellings for names that are derived from a language that uses a non-Roman alphabet, ex. Russian, Hebrew, Chinese, etc.  For example:  Tschaikowski, Tchaikovsky, Chaikovsky.  (N.B., this is especially common with Russian names that are transliterated.)

Title of the work in its original language, for example:

Quartet for the End of Time = Quatuor pour la fin du temps (original French)

A Little Night Music = Eine kleine Nachtmusik (original German)

"The Trout" Quintet = Forellen-Quintett (original German)

Alternative titles or nicknames, for example:

"Archduke" Trio

"The Trout" Quintet

"Emperor" String Quartet

"Death and the Maiden" Quartet, etc. 

You can find more info in A Dictionary of Music Titles by Adrian Room (REF ML 102 .T58 R6 2000).  N.B., Searching only by a work's nickname may cause you to not find certain things.  Not all publishers of scores or recordings use nicknames in the titles they provide.

Name of larger work from which piece comes (if applicable).

For example, Barber's "Adagio for strings" actually comes from his String Quartet, Op. 11.

Nationality of the composer.  This can help determine the language of your search terms, for example: if you are looking for a string quartet by Franz Schubert (a Viennese composer), you might want to search the term, "Streichquartett" (German for "string quartet").  Here are some useful alternate names for various instruments:

  1. piano = Klavier (German) = clavier (French, technically, "keyboard")
  2. violin = Geige (German) = Violon (French)
  3. viola = Bratsche (German) = Alto (French)
  4. double bass = Kontrabass (German) = Contrebasse (French)
  5. bassoon = Fagott (German) = basson (French) = fagotto (Italian)
  6. oboe = hautbois (French)
  7. percussion battery = Schlagzeug (German) = batterie (French)
  8. string quartet = Streichquartett (German) = quatuor a cordes (French)
  9. sonata = Sonate (German) = sonate (French)                               

**For more info, consult:  International Vocabulary of Music by Stephen Dembski et al (REF 108 .I49 1984)

Numbers associated with the work, such as sequence, opus, or thematic catalog numbers.  Examples of some common thematic catalog numbers include:

  • "BWV" = Bach Werke Verzeichnis (J.S. Bach)
  • "D" = Deutsch (Schubert)
  • "Hob." = Hoboken (F.J. Haydn)
  • "K" = Kochel (Mozart)
  • "R" = Ryom (Vivaldi)

**You can often find thematic catalog numbers using the Butler Libraries' catalog, WorldCat, or the "works" section at the end of composer entries in The New Grove Dictionary

Key signature.  Don't forget to think about the different terms for "major" and "minor" as well as the solfege designations of keys, for example:

  • Major = Maggiore (It.) = Majeur (Fr.) = Dur (Ger.)
  • Minor = Minore (It.) = Mineur (Fr.) = Moll (Ger.)
  • C (Eng. & Ger.) = Do (Fr. & It.) = Ut (Fr.)
  • D (Eng. & Ger.) = Re (Fr. & It.)
  • E (Eng. & Ger.) = Mi (Fr. & It.)
  • F (Eng. & Ger.) = Fa (Fr. & It.)
  • G (Eng. & Ger.) = Sol (Fr. & It.)
  • A (Eng. & Ger.) = La (Fr. & It.)
  • B or Ti (Eng.) = H (Ger.) = Si (Fr. & It.)

Instrumentation (or original instrumentation of work).

Score format that you desire, for example:

full score or conductor's score,



score and parts

piano reduction



Email Butler University Libraries
Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937
CAT: 317-940-8575

Like us on FacebookInstagramFollow us on Twitter