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Resources for CCM Searches / Research




Resources that are specific to performing arts and related subject areas may prove useful when you are researching particular topics. Select the appropriate tab below for resources relevant to MUSIC, DANCE, THEATRE, EDUCATION, related INTERDISCIPLINARY areas, ENCYCLOPEDIAS, THEMATIC CATALOGS, or FACSIMILES of music manuscripts.

Note: For other media (television, radio, film) resources, see Newspapers and Media.

For basic resources to use to begin searching a topic, go to Core Resources for Searching / Researching
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More Research Resources

  • Opera America (subscription pending)

Opera America serves members across the opera field through research, publications and services in support of the creation, performance and enjoyment of opera. The online database enables you to search contact information for companies, artist managers, and educational institutions in addition to finding career advancement opportunities in opera for administrators, singers, composers/librettists, technical/production professionals and teachers. The comprehensive archives contain hundreds of articles, podcasts and videos.

  • Orchestral Music Online (not yet subscribed to by UC Libraries)

Daniel’s Orchestral Music Online offers a unique orchestral music finder tool that supplies information about the instrumentation of over 4,500 compositions, providing details about composers, names of individual movements, and more.

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Geographical focuses

Specialist focuses

Biographical dictionaries

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Thematic catalogs are an essential music research tool, helping to identify details pertaining to a composer's works, including specifics about their creation, first performances, and source materials.

Many musical works cannot be identified by title only. For example: Joseph Haydn wrote 15 different works called Symphony in D. Thematic catalogs are helpful because they include "musical incipits," short passages of musical notation from the beginning of each piece or movement. This is similar to using first lines to identify poems with the title "A Sonnet".

A thematic catalog includes the history, description and location of original sources of the work, including composer autographs (manuscripts in the composer's hand), as well as first performance and publication information. The work's entry may also include a bibliography pertaining to that work.

We routinely see and hear compositions identified by their thematic catalog numbers. The names of the catalog compilers, and their abbreviated forms, quickly become familiar: Hoboken (Hob.) for Haydn, Köchel (K.) for Mozart, Deutsch (D.) for Schubert, Ryom (RV) for Vivaldi, and Schmieder (BWV) for J.S. Bach. Others are less familiar: Baselt (HWV) for Handel.

Many thematic catalogs and related reference resources are classed in ML134, ordered by composer last name. This is a great place to begin discovering information about a certain composer or specific works.

Some frequently referenced thematic catalogs

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We may gain insights into creative processes across the history of Western art music by studying composers' notated musical sources, usually in the form of manuscripts, sketches, and early printed editions. When consultation of original source materials is not practical or possible, we may turn to published facsimiles, when they are available.

Facsimiles are reproductions of source materials, ranging from simple black and white photocopies to full-color high resolution reproductions that attempt to duplicate the look and feel of the original, sometimes even including the cover and binding. The term also encompasses digital images; see Digital Facsimiles for links to online facsimile resources and sheet music collections.

Our highest quality facsimiles are classed in ML96.4 — ML96.5 and do not circulate outside the library. See also the featured "Facsimile of the Month" on display in the CCM Library.

Reproductions of composers' manuscripts are found in online catalog under the subject subdivision  --Manuscripts--Facsimiles.
For example, the following search (click link below) results in resources in the Library that include Beethoven manuscripts or manuscript pages in facsimile reproduction:

The best way to search the catalog for print facsimiles is to combine the term "facsimiles" with other search terms in a keyword search:

  • beethoven manuscripts facsimiles
  • rusconi codex facsimiles
  • civico museo bibliografico musicale Q 15 facsimiles

Note that manuscript collections may have distinctive titles or may be known only by their conserving library and shelf number.

Some significant facsimiles in our collections

Digital facsimiles

Many facsimiles of original musical sources are now available online as digital images.
Links to digital facsimiles include:

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RISM: Répertoire International des Sources Musicals

RISM is an international collective undertaking with the aim of comprehensively documenting surviving music sources anywhere in the world. The RISM publications represent RISM's activities, which began in 1952 and continue to the present day.

RISM keeps track of what musical sources are in existence and where they are kept.

  • Series A: inventories alphabetically by composer – in two parts: printed music (A/I) and music manuscripts (A/II). 
  • Series B: bibliographies of materials organized by topic
    B/I and II: Printed Collections of the 16th -18th centuries
    B/III: Theory of music from Carolingian era up to 1500 (medieval music theory)
    B/IV: Manuscripts of polyphonic music, 11th-16th centuries
    B/V: Manuscripts of tropes and sequences
    B/VI: Printed writings about music
    B/VII: Manuscripts of lute and guitar tablatures
    B/VIII: German hymns
    B/IX: Hebrew sources
    B/X: The theory of music in Arabic writings, c900-1900
    B/XI: Ancient Greek music theory
    B/XII: Persian music theory
    B/XIII: Hymnologica Slavica (Slavic hymns)
    B/XIV: Manuscripts of the processional
    B/XV: Polyphonic music in Ibero-American sources
    B/XVI: Palm-leaf manuscripts
    B/XVII: Trio Sonatas
  • Series C: directories of music research libraries
  • RISM library sigla (now available as an online database)


Printed Music

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