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Singers' and Choral Directors' Bible

Resources for the classical singer, including how to find repertoire, translations, pronunciations, and pedagogical works. Choral music resources also are included.

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 QUOTATION MARKS around words that you wish to search as a phrase!  For example, "Se tu m'ami"

  • 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, symphonia.

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

Useful information

To find a score or recording of a particular musical work, you will need information about the following:

  1. Composer’s name -

    1. Last, first, and middle (or middle initial) if at all possible.
    2. Think about alternative transliterations if the name comes from a language that uses an alphabet other than the Roman alphabet, e.g., Cyrillic, Hebrew, Chinese, etc..
  2. Title of the work in its original language, e.g., The Marriage of Figaro = Le nozze di Figaro, B Minor Mass = Messe in H-Moll, Quartet for the End of Time = Quatuor pour la fin du temps.
  3. Alternative titles or nicknames, such as "Moonlight Sonata" or "Jupiter" Symphony or "A Pastoral Song" ("My Mother Bids Me Bind My Hair").  You can find more info in A Dictionary of Music Titles by Adrian Room (REF ML 102 .T58 R6 2000).
  4. Is the piece part of a larger work?  For example, an aria from a particular opera, e.g., "Quando m'en vo" = "Musetta's Waltz Song" from Puccini's La Boheme OR "No One Is Alone" from Sondheim's Into the Woods.
  5. Nationality of the composer.  This can help determine your search terms, for example:
    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)

**The easiest way to find all of these translations in one place is a polyglot dictionary, like this one held in the Music Reference section: International Vocabulary of Music by Stephen Dembski et al (ML108 .I49 1984)

  1. Numbers associated with the work, such as sequence, opus, or thematic catalog numbers.  Examples of some common thematic catalog numbers include:
    1. "BWV" = Bach Werke Verzeichnis (J.S. Bach)
    2. "D" = Deutsch (Schubert)
    3. "Hob." = Hoboken (F.J. Haydn)
    4. "K" = Kochel (Mozart)
    5. "R" = Ryom (Vivaldi). 

**You can use the "Works" section at the end of composer entries in Grove Music Online to find thematic catalog numbers.

  1. Key signature or voice type/range.
  2. Instrumentation (or original instrumentation of work).
  3. Score format that you desire, e.g., full or conductor's score, mini-score, vocal score, piano reduction.

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:

Don't be afraid to ask your professor or librarian for assistance!


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

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