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Chamber Music: Finding scores & recordings

Information and resources for the study and performance of chamber music

Helpful hints!

Don't forget --

Use KEYWORD searching initially to ID relevant records.

Use SUBJECT/DESCRIPTOR searching using terms you find on relevant records.

Use TRUNCATION for words that might:

  • Have more than one significant form.
  • Have alternative spellings (type as much as you KNOW is correct!).
  • (Use a * when search for part of a word, like viol* for violin OR viola.)

Chamber Music Repertoire

Useful information

To find a score or recording of a particular musical work in the MaagNET, OhioLINK, WorldCat, or Naxos Music Online, 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. 
  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 helps 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)
      **For more info, consult:  International Vocabulary of Music by Stephen Dembski, et al. (ML 108 .L49 1984) or The Names of Instruments and Voices in Foreign Languages
  6. 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).  
    6. **You can often find thematic catalog numbers using the Maag Library catalog, WorldCat, or the "works" section at the end of composer entries in The New Grove Dictionary.
  7. Key signature or voice type/range.
  8. Instrumentation (or original instrumentation of work).
  9. 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 piece of information using various resources in the Library or on the Libraries' Website.  Some of the most useful are:

MaagNET - just doing a simple keyword search using information you already know can yield helpful information!

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, print version:  REF ML 100 .N48 1980) - 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.

WorldCat - 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. - also can provide much useful information about specific compositions.

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