Music Research: Scores




Full score: complete composition with each part displayed on separate staff

Conductor's score: full score of sufficient size to be read by a conductor

Miniature score (study score, pocket score): size reduction of a full score generally for study purposes

Condensed score (particella): principal instrumental parts printed usually two to four staves to provide basic melodies and harmony, with instrumentation shown by exact indications within staves

Performance score (playing score): full score intended for use in place of a part during performance, usually used by a pianist in chamber music; not intended for scholarly study, may not discuss editorial decisions

Score and parts: usually for chamber music, contains score and all parts issued together

Parts: music issued for a single instrument or voice

Piano reduction (piano score): full orchestration reduced for keyboard with a separate staff for the soloist; also an orchestra score reduced to a piano version

Vocal score (piano vocal score, organ vocal score): separate lines for vocal soloist and chorus with reduced instrumental accompaniment

Chorus score: choral parts are displayed with no accompaniment or accompaniment reduced for keyboard

Close score: used for vocal music, puts all vocal parts on two staves


Definitive edition, critical edition, scholarly edition: intended as a scholarly, authoritative source based from primary sources and the composers intent; contains commentary to explain editorial differences and explanation

Complete edition/works, collected edition/works, Gesamtausgabe, sämtliche Werke, opera omnia: considered critical or scholarly, typically published in multiple volumes

Historical edition/set, monument, Denkmal: critical edition that includes compositions by various composers that are somehow connected 

Urtext edition: originally meant to be free of editorial intervention, it now often contains editors' reconstructions of composers' original texts

Facsimile: photographic reproduction or original manuscript or print copy

Practical edition: intended for performance, omits historical and critical notes


Other Online Musical Scores

Browsing by Call Number

Library of Congress Classification

Collections, Critical Editions: M1-5

M1 - Anthologies

M2 - Collections by two or more composers (Historical Sets or Monuments)

M3 - Collected works of individual composers

M3.1 - Selection

M3.5 - First editions

Instrumental Music: M5-1490

M5-190 - Solo instruments

M191-990 - Chamber music

M1000-1160 - Orchestra

M1200-1270 - Band

M1350-1366 - Jazz

M1376-1420 - Instrumental music for children

M1450 - Dance (ballet, folk)

M1470-1480 - Aleatory, electronic, with color

Vocal Music: M1495-2199

M1495 - Collections

Secular vocal music: M1497-1998

     M1528-1529.5 - Vocal chamber music

     M1530-1609 - Choruses

Sacred vocal music: M1999-2199

     M1999 - Collections

Selected Subject Headings

Please note that not all subject headings for scores contain the word “scores”. If you're looking for scores, you will need to refine to "Scores" under Material Type (on the right) after performing your search, otherwise it will also retrieve sound recordings.

To search for subject headings in Smart Search, use the advanced search and choose "subject" from the first drop down and "is exact" from the second drop down. Use quotation marks around subject headings: "Operas -- Scores". To find only print scores, after performing your search click on the "Available on Shelf" option to the right of your results list.

Operas – Scores

Wind ensembles – Scores

Orchestral music – Scores

Harpsichord and piano with orchestra – Scores and parts

Violin and piano music – Scores and parts

String orchestra music

Piano music

Songs with piano

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