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Tutorial: How do I search for scores using uniform titles? Part I: Form Titles



How do I…find scores for symphonies, concertos, quartets and trio?

Searching for music materials is often challenging due to the variety of languages involved.  Should you search for works in the original composer’s language or by the titles in English?

Lucky for you, librarians have created “uniform” titles.  Uniform titles are assigned each musical work and if you know how to search for a work by a uniform title, you can find every score for that work no matter how many languages it is published in.

There are two types of uniform titles-- form titles, used for works with a set instrumentation, and distinctive titles, used to find works with specific titles such as operas or orchestral works.  Today we’ll look at one type of uniform title, the form title.

Form titles are used to locate works with a set instrumentation.  For example, we know that a symphony is performed by an orchestra, a quintet is performed by five individuals and so on.

To search for a score using form titles you need to know the form of the work (symphony, concerto, quartet, trio, etc.) and what instruments are involved.  Let’s start by looking for Mozart’s bassoon concerto.

Always start your search with an author search in the library catalog.  In my case I’ll start an author search for “Mozart, W”.  I’ll look for the Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus with the largest number of entries found and click on that link.

From here, I’ll use the limit button to limit my search to the publication type of printed music scores.

I’ll also use the “keywords in title” box to limit to my form title.  Form titles always start with the form, so step 1 is to identify your form.  In my case the form is a concerto so I’ll type “concertos”.  I add an “s” to concertos as Mozart has written several concertos.  I’ve completed step 1 of constructing my form title—I’ve identified my form and made it plural.

Step 2 is to add the medium or instrumentation of the work.  Keep in mind that a symphony is always performed by an orchestra.  Since the instrumentation for a symphony is set, you may skip this step when search for symphonies.  In my case, I know the Mozart bassoon concerto is for solo bassoon so I’ll add “, bassoon” to my form title.

Step 3 is to add any distinctive number such as an opus number, K number, BWV number, etc.  This step is optional so if you don’t know of a number you can often leave this blank.  In my case, I know the Mozart bassoon concerto has a Kochel number of 191 so I’ll add “, K.191” to my form title.

Step 4 is also optional but would include the key of your work if you know it.

Change the “system sort” drop box to “title”.  This will make sure the same item doesn’t appear in your list multiple times and submit your search.

You found four scores of Mozart’s bassoon concerto!  You can find the form title by click on the results and looking in the field under the author called “Uniform title”.  The other place you’ll find uniform titles is under the “other author” field.

For more information on searching for scores using uniform title searching, please see our tutorial on How do I…find scores with distinctive titles.  If you still have questions, click on the “Ask Us!” link located on each library webpage to email, chat with, or text a librarian.