Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Today's hours:

See all library hours »

  • Ask a Librarian
  • FAQ
We are excited to share our new Library catalog and search tool! We hope that you will find it easy to search and explore our collections. If you need help, have questions, or want to share feedback, visit the Ask a Librarian page.

MUSIC 180: Defining Jazz Music


The Vassar College Music Library has over 30,000 audio recordings and hundreds of visual recordings, which may be searched through the 3 Vassar Catalogs. The first two are found online in the ( "maroon search box").   The Music Library card catalog can only be searched physically in the Music Library.

To search the Library Catalogselect different types of searches from the drop down box:

  • keyword
  • author
  • title
  • LC call number (for books)
  • non-LC call number (for sound recordings)


To find recordings by a specific individual or group:

You may search for recordings by artist, composer, or arranger as well as by title.  Although searching by Keyword may work for some of your searches,  an Author search for any named person may be more effective.   However, if a recording is part of a compilation with other performers and groups listed only in the contents note, a Keyword search may be best.


Keyword search "Goodman, Benny"  Limit your search to find only recordings, by selecting "audio" under "Resource type" on the left-hand side of your search window.

To find books about a person:

For best results use a Subject search.  


Subject search for: "Holiday, Billie"  Select "Resource type" "audio" ro limit your search hits to audio only.

Keep in mind that recording liner notes may also provide good information.

To find articles about a specific individual or group:

The online catalog will only list the titles of the journals themselves. Try Vassar's online catalog or journal indexes.

To search Vassar's online catalog go to the top of the "maroon search box":

Content: Vassar's online catalog allows for the searching of articles in journals and not just journal titles. You may also search audio streaming databases.

Facets on the left also allow you to limit the resource type (format) of your search result:

Audio recording for recordings

Streaming audio for recordings

Your results will be from the Vassar Library catalog and some of our streaming audio databases.  


Music Library CARD CATALOG. 


Many pre-1978 scores and sound recordings are not yet represented in the online catalog.  Instead, use the Music Library Card Catalog, which consists of Music Library holdings, mostly older scores and LP recordings, not yet included in the Vassar Libraries Online Catalog. The Music Library card catalog is located in the Reading Room on the first floor of the Music Library.

Browsing the book shelves by LC call number:

Because of the call number system for sound recordings it is not possible to browse the shelves for sound recordings.

The library has numerous books on jazz music, jazz and society, and important individuals in the world of jazz.  Browsing the shelves can be useful.  Here are some call number to explore.  There circulating books are located on the ground floor of the Music Library:

These call numbers can also be searched in the Library of Congress ("LC") system through the online catalog. Select and "LC call number" search.

ML 419: Jazz instrumentalists and specific recordings

ML 420: Singers

ML 3541, ML 3561:  Histories of popular musics, including jazz and jazz movements