Skip to Main Content

Find Something Specific

Helpful search tip 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:

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

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

a.  Figure out what the initial title element is, i.e. symphony, oboe, concerto, piano trio, Schubert, Vivaldi, etc.

b.  Consider including a foreign equivalent, which may increase your retrieval number (i.e. sinfonie, Konzert, etc.)

c.  Identify some numbers that are associated with the work, such as opus numbers, thematic catalog numbers, etc.

d.  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

e.  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