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VOCAL MUSIC

BROWSE THE SHELF

Because scores are classified (grouped with similar items on the shelf) browsing the shelves can lead you to repertoire of interest to you.

The Music Library uses the Dickinson Classification system for scores. The first line  of a call number indicates the type of music. Common numbers for vocal music include:

7   Miscellaneous collections, voice, solo or solo ensemble, secular and sacred, original and arranged, several composers or one composer

71   Secular, solo voice accompanied by piano

7106   Secular, solo voice with orchestral accompaniment

74   Folksongs

75   Sacred, solo voice with single instrument accompaniment

8   Miscellaneous collections, choral ensembles

81   Secular, choral works

85   Sacred, choral and solo-choral works

91   Full scores of opera and musical theater

91=01   Piano-vocal scores of opera and musical theater

The second line of a call number indicates composer. Items are arranged roughly in alphabetical order by last name on the shelf.  The number A3 on the second line indicates anthologies with several composers.

 

See the guide to vocal music score call numbers and locations.

BROWSE A DATABASE

 

  • The Aria Database may help: Search by aria title, opera or role.
  • If you have a composer in mind, browse the WORKS list under the composer's name in Grove Music Online. If it is a contemporary composer who maintains a list of compositions on a website, checking this may be helpful.
  • E-Musicquest: The Music-In-Print Series online.
  • The Advanced search in this database allows you to search by a variety of aspects including composer's name, nationality, period, dates and title.

  • Using a keyword in the title field may be helpful for finding topical themes if the theme keyword is included in the title. Example: flowers.

  • If you have an author or poet in mind, search the name as a title.  This will allow you to find songs with texts by that author IF the name is included in the title of the song. Example: Type Emily Dickinson in the title field.

EXAMINE REPERTOIRE BY SINGERS OF YOUR VOICE TYPE

Search the Grove Music Online for information about vocal voice ranges and examples of singers with that range:

Example: under the subject “Baritone” find the following:

Do an AUTHOR search for each singer’s name in the:

  • Online catalog,

  • Search the LP card Catalog (on the north wall of the Music Library reading room) to find LP recordings made before 1980.

  • Check the Music Library’s many audio and visual streaming services databases to hear and view performances by the singer.

  • Check to see if there is a Wikipedia article about the singer and check the External Links to see if someone has gathered additional recordings available on the Internet. Example: the External Links on the Wikipedia article for Maria Callas point to public domain music recordings.

EXAMINE SETTINGS OF AUTHORS, LIBRETTISTS and POETS

Check the following for musical settings of texts by authors, librettists, or poets, such as Bishop, Elizabeth; Carroll, Lewis;  Hardy, Thomas; or Dickinson, Emily:

  • In the Online catalog  do a KEYWORD search for the name and add "musical settings." 
  • In the Music Library's card catalog search alphabetically by the last name.
  • The Aria Database may help for operas. Do a KEYWORD search for the name in the simple search. In the advanced search you can select "librettist" from the drop-down menu.
  • E-Musicquest: The Music-In-Print Series online.
  • If you have an author or poet in mind, search the name as a title.  This will allow you to find songs with texts by that author IF the name is included in the title of the song. Example: Emily Dickinson.

Print indexes may help:

Bradley, Carol June. Index to Poetry in Music: A Guide to the Poetry Set as Solo Songs.

2003. Search by composer or poet's name followed by musical settings arranged alphabetically.

Clifton, Keith. Recent American Art Song: A Guide.

​2008. Covers American art songs from 1980-2007?.  Includes an alphabetical list of composers of American art song with biographical notes and songs as well as separate indexes by name only of composer, poet, song cycles, song titles; song by voice type, and songs by difficulty [also by voice type].

Espina, Noni. Repertoire for the Solo Voice

1977. Contents do not indicate which volume.  Search by geographic location, "solo excerpts from the operas" [divided by voice type], "florid display songs, recital vocalises and alleluias," and "traditional songs and spirituals." Indexes include "sources of texts" and "composers"

Snyder, Lawrence. German poetry in song: an Index of Lieder

1995. Index of Lieder by poet, first line and composer.