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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.

Basic Music Research: Methods and Resources

Basic Research method, Evaluating sources, Citation styles and scholarly communication, basic music research sources

Collected Works

Characteristics of Collected Works:

  • Focus on a genre, time period, geographical area, or composer.
    • Other names: Historical Sets, Denkmaler, Monuments of Music; begins "01" in the Dickinson Music Library
    • The complete works of a single composer are also called "collected works," "complete editions" or "Gesamtausgabe" and aim to present a complete repertory.  Begins "05" in the Dickinson Music Library
  • Valuable for the study of original versions of past music.
  • Prepared on the basis of a critical evaluation of all known primary sources.
  • Designed to present the most authoritative authentic version of its contents to most accurately reflect the composer's intentions.
  • Editorial material clearly distinguished from the original. 
  • Often are issued over years or decades. 
  • Includes critical apparatus:
    • Describes the documentation of variants and designates as editorial whatever is added to the sources.

Critical editions differ from "performing" or "practical" editions in the following ways:

  • The ‘practical’ or ‘performance’ editions usually are produced from unstated or secondary sources.
  • They may incorporate additions or changes designed to help the modern performer.

For more detailed information see:

Finding Collected works

In Vassar's Online Catalog:
The library gives the title "Works" to all sets of collected works. To find them in the online
1. do an author search for the composer, in the form Last name, First name (with or without
the comma)
2. In the list that appears, find the composer's name and click on the link to show a list of titles
3. Go to the bottom of the screen and find the text box with a number in it. Replace the
number with the word "works"
4. Click the button "Locate in results"


In Vassar's Card Catalog:
1. Go to the books/scores section of the card catalog
2. Find the composer's name in the book/score catalog
3. You will likely find a number of cards under the composer's name. The card(s) for the
collected works will come first, followed by cards for particular compositions in alphabetical