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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

Thematic Catalogs

What they are:

"A thematic catalogue is an index to a group of musical compositions that incorporates citations of their opening notes (incipits), or principal melodic features (themes), or both."    Thematic Catalogues, Grove Music Online

Generally they contain the following for each composition:

  • Title 
  • Opus no. or other identifying no.
  • Instrumentation
  • Source of text for works with text
  • Date/place of composition (EZ: Entstehungzeit = date of origin)
  • Incipits of each mvt (including no. of measures)
  • Location of autograph mss
  • Location/description of 1st ed. and significant early eds., especially those published
  • During composer's lifetime
  • Citation for collected works (HHA: Hallische Händel-Ausgabe)
  • Bibliography of literature about the composition

Thematic catalog example

How to find them:
Thematic catalogs are assigned the subject heading: "Composer's Last name, First name"--
Thematic catalogs.

You can find a composer's thematic catalog efficiently using a subject
keyword search in our online catalog:
1. Choose keyword search option from the dropdown menu.
2. In the text box, type"s" to restrict your search to subject keywords.
3. After "s",  type the composer's name and the word "thematic".
    Example:  s:schubert thematic
4. Click "Search".