Skip to Main Content

Music: Finding Music Materials in the Catalog: Home

Tips for locating scores and sound recordings using the library's catalog.

Quick Search

Quick Search is a keyword search for books, images, journal articles and more. 

Library Essential Services

Tips for Searching for Scores and Sound Recordings in the Library's Catalog

Searching for music in the catalog can be tricky.  Here are some tips to help you on your way.

Tip 1:  Use the Advanced Search and UNL Library Catalog option when searching for scores and sound recordings.

When starting your search, visit the Libraries' home page at, find the search box in the middle of the screen and click on Advanced Search under it.


Then choose UNL Library Catalogs from the buttons at the top of the screen.  


Tip 2: Try searching for the composer in the first search box as an Author/Creator.  Use the second search box for words which may be in the title.


Tip 3: Try adding the form of the work or the instrumentation to your second search box.

  • If your piece has a generic title (like sonata, concerto, symphony, quartet, etc.), search that title, and make it plural if the composer wrote more than one thing in that form: Sonatas, Symphonies, Quartets, etc.
  • Add instrumentation, e.g.  Sonatas, flute, piano.

Tip 4: Try adding an opus number, catalog number, or key to your search.

  • Not sure what this is for your piece?  Check the Works List in the Grove Music Online entry.  Also verify the spelling of the composer's name and the piece.
  • If searching the catalog for Author Creator Brahms and Opus 88  isn't getting you what you're looking for, try searching Author/Creator Brahms and op. 88 or just Brahms and 88.
  • Catalog numbers: These will look something like "BWV 1043" for works by Bach, "D. 821" for pieces by Schubert, or "K. 551" for compositions by Mozart.  If you're not finding what you're looking for by including the letters (BWV, D, K, etc.), try just searching for the composer's name and the number instead (e.g. Bach 1043).

Tip 5: Try adding words from the title in the language of the composer.

  • For example, "Afternoon of a faun" may not get you all the results you want.  Try words from "L'Apres midi d'un faun"--Debussy's original title in French.  Another example, a search for Verdi's "A masked ball" might get you many scores and CDs, but use words from the Italian title "Un ballo in maschera" for a more complete search.

Tip 6: Try adding a publisher to your search.

  • If you know the publisher, adding that will focus your search.
  • Some important publishers for Urtext editions are Bärenreiter, Henle, Universal Editions, Wiener Editions, Ricordi.  (Note: Urtext editions are performing editions edited to be as close as possible to the original.)

Tip 7: Filter your results on the left side of the screen to specify material type.

  • To focus your results, filter them using Material Type on the left side of the screen and choose Scores or Audio.
  • Check out the other filters.  Some of them might help you too.

Tip 8: If you find the score or recording of what you want but would like another edition or performance, find the piece listed under "Includes" and click on the hotlink.  For example:

Tip 9: Check the catalog record to make sure the item you found is what you want.

  • After clicking on the title look at the description of the item.  Does it contain parts?  Is it a vocal score?  An arrangement?  There is useful information in the description that can help you figure out if what you've found is what you want.

Tip 10: Found what you want?  

  • Now you can find it on the shelf or request it.  See how here.

Questions?  Need help?

Please contact Music Librarian Anita Breckbill (; 402-472-3407) or Music Library staff (402-472-6300) for help.



Subject Guide: Music

Profile Photo
Anita Breckbill
Subjects: Dance, Music
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries
Hours of Operation | Parking Maps | Employment | Support the Libraries
318 Love Library | 13th & R | Lincoln, NE | (402) 472-9568
 @UNLLibraries |  @UNL_Lib |  @unl_lib |