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Helpful Search Tips for Finding Music

1.  Omit Articles (a, an, the) in any Language from a Search:

Articles in Foreign Languages: 

  • English- a, an, the;
  • French- l', la, le, les, un, une;
  • German- das, dem, den, der, des, die, ein, eine, einem, einer, eines;
  • Italian- gl', fli, i, il, l', le, lo, un, un', una, uno;
  • Spanish- el, las, lo, los, una, unas, unos

The exception to this rule is titles for songs or other shorter works in other languages that have an elided article. 

Example: The safest way to search for Nadia Boulanger's song "Lechange" is to type in boulanger and l'echange. This is because this song may only appear in a contents note with its article intact.

2.  Distinctive Titles Use " " 

For titles by non-English-speaking composers, search under:

  • Distinct words from the title in the original language (ex: l'histoire du soldat  for A Soldier's Tale by Stravinsky)
  • Distinct words from the English version of the title (ex: Soldier's Tale)
  • The composer's name (ex: Stravinsky)

Type this: handel AND "water music"  
To retrieve this: Water Music by G. F. Handel   

Type this: debussy AND mer
To retrieve this: La Mer by Claude Debussy

Type this: Stravinsky AND "soldat"
To retrieve this: l'histoire du soldat by Igor Stravinsky

3.  Generic Titles 

Searching for generic titles in Library Search is sometimes a case of trial and error. The following tips may help:

  • Figure out what the initial title element is, i.e. symphony, oboe, concerto, piano trio, Schubert, Vivaldi, etc.
  • Consider including a foreign equivalent, which may increase your retrieval number (i.e. sinfonie, Konzert, etc.)
  • Identify some numbers that are associated with the work, such as opus numbers, thematic catalog numbers, etc.
  • Identify some other keywords that might appear, such as a popular title (i.e. Beethoven's Sonata no. 14, opus 27, no. 2, in C sharp minor, is also known as the "Moonlight Sonata." Try using the word "moonlight" in your search.
  • It is difficult to search using a key signature. They tend to retrieve a lot of irrelevant entries because the flat and sharp symbols are not used in common keyboards.

Type this: Beethoven AND eroica and 3
To retrieve this: Beethoven's Eroica Symphony

Type this: Vivaldi AND oboe AND concerto
To retrieve this: Vivaldi's Oboe Concerto, RV 461 in A minor

Type this: Schubert AND trios AND 898
To retrieve this: Schubert's Piano Trio in B-flat