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

Music 248: Collected Works Assignment


Research guides:

What they are:

Research guides can give you overall information about the Collected Works editions for a specific composer including:

a) The history of specific collected works editions, key people and organizations involved in their establishment and development.

b) The impact of non-musical events upon the publication of the collected works edition.

c)  Critical apparatus chosen for the collected works edition.

d) Special problems encountered in creating the collected works edition.

e) Letters and manuscripts

f) Important books and articles

Each research guide is organized differently.  Information on Gesamtaugabe can be found under “Gesamtausgabe" or "Works" or "Editions" in the Table of Contents or in the index.  Watch the use of numbers which may refer to page numbers or listing numbers.

See Example:  "CPE Bach Research Guide Example"

How to find them:

Most research guides are in the Reference Book section of the Music Library in call number ML134.
Note: There is not always a research guide for a composer.
To find research guides in the Vassar online catalog for the composer you have selected:


Thematic catalog example

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

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".


An article regarding the edition (particularly a review) may also give you a great deal of the information you need for this assignment.

How to Find articles about editions:


This resource indexes, abstracts and/or provides selected full text for many scholarly and popular music journals.

For example do a KEYWORD search: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach "The complete works" review


This link will take you to Ebsco databases. Do a "find " command using your browser to find "RILM".

Clear, verified bibliographic information, fully cited, abstracted, and indexed. RILM Abstracts turns up citations for both print and electronic sources. Covers scholarly periodicals, dissertations and chapters of books in a variety of languages.


For example do a KEYWORD search: Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach "The complete works"

  • Full-text databases of journal issues are often thought of as indexes:

Both of the following databases of articles are not indexes, but they include selected music journals and allow searching by keyword only.  This means that you can not search by subject and you may miss materials if you do not select a word used in the article entry. Also their coverage is not as extensive as the indexes mentioned above.

Example: KEYWORD: Review Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach The complete works