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How to find scores

There are 4 ways to locate scores in the Music Library:

Search the Library catalogue | Consult complete works, monuments of music, and historical editions | Visit the Music Library's special collections | Search for digital scores

1. Search the Library Catalogue

  • Click on the "Advanced" tab
  • From the drop-down "All types of materials" list select "Score"
  • Enter composer and title or subject keywords

Find scores in the McGill Library catalogue by using advanced search, enter author and title keywords, and select

2. Consult complete works, monuments of music, and historical sets

The works of several Western composers are published in scholarly editions that attempt, in the words of James Grier, "to transmit the text that best represents the historical evidence of the sources" (The Critical Editing of Music, 156).

Complete works (aka collected editions) are mostly found under the call number M3 and represent the output of a single composer (e.g., Luigi Boccherini, Claude Debussy, Arnold Schoenberg).

Monuments of music and historical sets, found in the M2s, are multi-volume sets of works by several composers. These sets are grouped by historical period (e.g., Recent Researches in the Music of the Baroque Era), genre (e.g., Sixteenth-century Madrigal series), or geographical region (e.g., Musica Britannica).

All these editions are of great value to both scholars and performers.

Complete works | Monuments of music and historical sets

Tutorial: Finding Scores in Complete Works Editions Using Grove Music Online


[Video link]

Finding works in monuments of music and historical sets
Many musical works are only published in monuments of music and historical sets. Because the complete contents of these editions are not necessarily indexed in the Library catalogue, one must use other Library resources. Follow these 2 steps to verify whether a score is printed in one of these editions and is available at the Music Library:

a. Consult an index:

  • Index to Printed Music: Collections and Series (IPM)
    Based on Hill and Stephens, eds., Collected Editions, Historical Series & Sets & Monuments of Music: A Bibliography
  • Heyer, Anna Harriet, comp. Historical Sets, Collected Editions, and Monuments of Music: A Guide to Their Contents. 3rd ed. 2 vols.
    REF ML113 H52 1980
  • Hill, George R., and Norris L. Stephens. Collected Editions, Historical Series & Sets & Monuments of Music: A Bibliography. Berkeley, CA: Fallen Leaf, 1997.
    REF ML113 H55 1997

The Index to Printed Music does not supersede the Heyer index. It may be necessary to consult both to verify whether a piece is published within a larger collection.

b. Verify whether the Music Library owns the volume in which the desired piece is found:

  • Search the Library catalogue by the title of the volume or by the title of the series of which the volume is a part.

3. Visit the Music Library's Special Collections

Several of the Music Library's special collections include scores for loan or consultation. Please request items at the 3rd-floor staff area.

The Library is also home to the Bruce Bower Collection, a substantial collection of bassoon music (scores and parts) donated by Bruce Bower, former Montreal Symphony Orchestra member and McGill bassoon professor. Solo repertoire is located in the Music Library and is accessible through the Library catalogue; chamber repertoire is located in the Gertrude Whitley Performance Library (consult the Bruce Bower Catalogue for holdings).

4. Search for digital scores

The Library provides easy access to online music score sites. Investigate the possibilities on the Music Library's Online scores page.

If it's not at McGill...

Always doublecheck with a full-time member of the Library staff before deciding that McGill does not own a particular item.

Check other Library catalogues in Montreal or beyond.

Borrowing from other libraries

If an item is not in the McGill Library collection, it may be available for consultation or loan at another Quebec library. Holders of McGill photo ID cards may obtain a BCI borrowing card, which grants its holder limited borrowing privileges at participating institutions.

All Montreal residents may obtain borrowing privileges at the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec and other local public libraries.

Interlibrary Loan

Print music resources (scores, books, and articles) may be requested from more distant libraries by completing an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) form. For more information, visit the McGill Library borrowing items from other libraries page. Due to their fragility, music recordings are rarely available via ILL.

Suggest a purchase

The Marvin Duchow Music Library aims to provide collections that support and strengthen music performance, teaching, learning, and research at McGill University and beyond. Please direct any suggestions for expanding the collection to cynthia [dot] leive [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Cynthia Leive) .


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