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Guide for finding resources relating to music.


Reference sources are very diverse. Here's a quick guide to get you started.

  • For definitions, facts, and information see Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
  • For scholarly scores (those based on authoritative sources) and facsimiles of original manuscripts see Scores: Collected Works, Monuments of Music, and Facsimiles
  • For complete lists of a composer's works with detailed information see Thematic Catalogues 
  • For help finding additional resources on composers, genres, or other topics see Bibliographies & Guides. Go here for help with Research Guides. 

For more help with reference music resources see the following books:

Online Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Oxford Music Online

Reference Scores

You can find three types of scores in the Reference section:

  1. Collected (or Complete) Works - the entire musical output of a single composer - Ref M 3
  2. Historical Sets - compositions from a particular region, time period, and/or genre - Ref M 2
    • Many hard-to-find works can be found in these sets!
  3. Facsimiles - reproductions of manuscripts - Ref M and Ref ML 96.5 (some are shelved in Ref Oversize!)


How to Find Compositions within Complete Works & Historical Sets

  1. For major composers (such as Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, etc.), look at the List of Works in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians or Oxford Music Online
  2. If the composer has a Thematic Catalogue, use it! 
  3. Use Anna Harriet Heyer's Historical Sets, Collected Editions, and Monuments of Music: A Guide to Their Contents (Ref ML 113 H52 1980).
  4. If you get stuck or need help, ask at the circulation desk or see Dr. Oates!

Reihe, Heft, Abteilung: What do they mean?

Collected Works and Historical Sets are often organized in multiple volumes and series. Some are as simple as volumes 1, 2, 3, etc., while others are more complicated with series, sub-series, and volumes within the sub-series: 

  • Series (or Reihe) 
  • Workgroup (or Werkgruppe)
  • Section (or Abteilung)
  • Volume (or Band)

For example, this is how the first portion of Mozart's Neue Ausgabe (New Collected Works) is organized:

  • Series 1: Sacred Vocal Works
    • Workgroup 1: Masses and Requiem
      • Section 1: Masses
        • Volume 1: Masses
        • Volume 2: Masses
        • Etc.
      • Section 2: Requiem
      • Section 3: Litanies and Vespers
        • Volume 1: Litanies
        • Volume 2: Vespers
        • etc.
  • Series 2: Theatre Music
    • Etc.

Thematic Catalogues

Thematic Catalogues

Thematic Catalogues are detailed lists (or catalogues) of a composer's entire output. They are organized either chronologically or by opus number and include information about manuscripts, premieres, where the composition can be found in the composer's Complete Works, incipits (or music examples) of major musical themes, and other useful information. 

Browse Ref ML 134 to see what print Thematic Catalogues Queens College has!

Online Thematic Catalogues