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Music Research - finding the score

How to locate music scores for research and performance at Trexler Library.


All musical scores are shelved according to the same principles, but each "class" or type of score may have its unique shelving scheme.  This page will help you to be able to quickly locate scores you need on the shelf according to the classification scheme.

The logic behind the classification

The amended Dewey classification used at Muhlenberg has been designed to try to make browsing the shelves easier.

The scheme is based on the combination of the basic Dewey numbers for musical instruments along with certain 'standard subdivisions' that generally are the same no matter the number.  The tables on the next pages provide the following information:

  1. The basic Dewey numbers (listed alphabetically) and
  2. The standard subdivisions that can be added to each number

To use these tables, first locate your instrument on the Dewey number table.  This will be the basic number to look for on the shelf for solo music for your instrument.  Most music relating to your instrument will also share aspects of this number.

Some illustrative examples:

Say you are a violinist.  You look on the list of Dewey numbers and see that "Violin music" is shelved in Dewey SCO 787.2 (the 7 after the initial 78 is for 'strings' and the 2 is for 'violin').  So if you need to find solo music for you to play, look on the shelf containing this number.  This is also where you will find solos accompanied by piano (or other keyboard instrument).  Anthologies (or collections) of violin music by multiple composers will be shelved in SCO 787.2001, and violin 'methods' (or how to play the violin) will be in SCO 787.2007.

But say you are an advanced student, and you want to learn the solo part for a violin concerto with orchestra?  The 'full score' for concertos will be shelved with orchestral music under SCO 784.2, but you will notice that scores for violin concertos will add '72' to the end of that number.  This indicates that the concerto is for a violin solo:

Violin solo music: SCO 787.2
Violin concerto music: SCO 784.272

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Tom Christie
Tom Christie
Cataloging and Metadata Librarian; Government Documents Coordinator