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How to Search for Music in OskiCat: 1. Quick Search

Where to Start

There is no "correct" way to search for printed music & sound recordings in the Library catalog as the great variety of genres, collections, formats, and languages of publication present too many different manifestations of a work to establish a single failsafe approach. Nevertheless, a keyword Quick Search is often enough to find what you need. Quick Search is not an exhaustive search method but it is very much the recommended way to begin. In some cases more Comprehensive Browsing of an alphabetical list of a composer's works may be helpful.

Quick Search

One-step Keyword searches using the default display screen can be very effective. Limit the search to "Sound Recordings" or "Musical Scores" in the dropdown box while entering a combination of important search terms identifying the item you seek. Keywords entered normally emphasize two elements:

name of composer, performer, ensemble, publisher  +   title of work

examples:beethoven sonatas violin piano
glass kronos quartet
verdi requiem fleming
ellington don't mean thing
schubert heidenroslein
busoni bach fugue
chopin preludes
barenreiter mozart 620


Please note that the use of icons help distinguish printed music/scores  catalog icon for printed music  from sound recordings  catalog icon for sound recording in the search results.

But that didn't work...

Search again using revised title keyword terms. The main impediment to a successful search for music is almost always in the choice of title keyword terms. 

  • Too many results? Add names of specific instruments used, an opus or work number (e.g., no. 2 or op. 18) or thematic index number (e.g., K. 488 or BWV 1069), if known.

  • Too few or no results? If the work, such as a song or aria, is part of a larger piece, enter instead the title of the larger composition (e.g., "don giovanni" rather than "notte giorno faticar"). Searches of works with generic titles (e.g.. symphony, sonata, concerto, quartet) are often improved by entering the genre name in the plural (e.g., symphonies, sonatas, concertos). 

The disadvantage of a Quick Search is that it finds only the items identified by the terms entered: e.g., "stravinsky rite spring" won't find the many items published as "sacre du printemps" or "vesna svi︠a︡shchennai︠a︡". Again, the main impediment to a successful search is almost always in the choice of title keyword terms. Looking Inside a Library Catalog Record of printed music or a sound recording is very often a good way to find alternate title keyword terms to use in a revised search. 

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