Skip to main content

Library Search Guide: Printed Music & AV

A guide to assist users with using the Library Search interface.

Top tips


Always limit your search to Scores or Audio Visual, depending on whether you want printed music or sound/video.

In Simple Search, select this from the first drop-down box.

In Advanced Search, select this from Material Type.


- Use distinctive keywords, preferring original language (i.e., Zauberflöte rather than Magic Flute)

- Use distinctive numbers (Opus/BWV/Köchel etc.) but use just the number itself without the prefix - i.e., 18 (for Op. 18), 147 (for BWV 147) or 333 (for K.333). The number of a Symphony, etc. can also be useful in conjunction with the composer's name - but use just the bare number (e.g., 7, not 7th).


In general, keep to the broader options of the drop-down boxes when putting in these keywords/numbers - i.e., in Simple Search use that contain my query words  and anywhere in the record.

If a very specific search doesn't produce the result you expect, try a broader search.

Here is an example of a broad Simple Search for JS Bach's cantata 'Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben', BWV 147, limiting the material to Scores, and using just the composer's surname and the BWV number of the work.

This produces a comprehensive, but manageable number of results ranging from performing and study scores of the complete cantata to various arrangements of a well-known chorale from the cantata.


Look out for Multiple Versions icons - the precise publication you want could be found under one of these.

Searching for single songs or tracks (print & AV)

- Remember to limit to Scores or AudioVisual.

- Use keywords or a specific phrase from the title of the piece, and composer if known, but DO NOT select in the title (Simple Search) or Title (Advanced Search). This is because Title in Library Search means the title of the overall volume or album. Again, keep the search general, and use anywhere in the record (Simple Search) or select Any (Advanced Search).

- To search for single works without distinctive titles - Sonatas, Preludes, Nocturnes, etc  -  see 7. in the box 'Searching for symphonies, cantatas, string quartets, sonatas ...'.

Searching for symphonies, cantatas, string quartets, sonatas, etc

1. Remember to limit to Scores or Audio Visual

2. Use the composer's name and the generic form as keywords

3. The plural of a generic form used as a keyword (e.g., Symphonies, String Quartets, Trio Sonatas) can be helpful in retrieving physical items held in the Library.

4. Use an Opus/K/BWV etc number where possible (remember to use just the number - not the prefix Op. etc.). If this doesn't help, it may be because the work was published in a volume of similar works (see 7. below)

5. Be wary of naming the key (the words 'major' and 'minor' are different in foreign language publications; H=B and B= B flat in German, etc.)

6. Keep to the broader options of the drop-down menus. There are many ways a Symphony, Sonata, etc can appear as a title on a score or sound recording. Use the default with my query words (Simple Search) or contains (Advanced Search). In Advanced Search, you may use Author/Creator for the composer's name, but Any is good too.

Here is an example of a Simple Search for sound recordings of Beethoven's Symphony no. 7 in A major, op. 92:

Note that you can now narrow down to "Available in the Library" or "Full Text (i.e. AV) Online".

Here is a similar search done in Advanced Search, with Material Type limited to Audio Visual. Although some specific parameters have been selected in the left column, the use of Any in each box would produce effective results.

7. Music scores of Sonatas, Preludes, Nocturnes, etc. are often published in volumes, so the Opus number may not help if the work you want is likely to be in a volume. In these cases search using a keyword like Sonatas or Nocturnes plus an instrument (e.g., Piano) together with the composer's name. Select Scores. The results should contain any volumes held by the Library. Now look in the volume to find the work you want.

Searching for recordings with specific performers/conductors

- Use names of performers (or conductor) as keywords (Simple Search), or if using Advanced Search, insert the names as keywords and select Any.

- Use keywords or distinctive numbers (see Top Tips) to identify works/composers and select Any.

Here is a simple search to retrieve a sound recording of Duke Ellington's song 'Everything but you' sung by Ella Fitzgerald.

If you prefer to conduct an Advanced Search - Don't select Author/Creator for recordings of jazz and popular musicians - it's better to use a surname and select Any.