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Universiteitsbibliotheek – LibGuides

Special material: Sheet music

Introduction to sheet music

 In this LibGuide you will find information about searching for sheet music in the collections of Utrecht University Library, but also in collections outside Utrecht.

 The LibGuide focuses mainly on searching for sheet music in relation to scholarly research and to a lesser extent on sheet music for particular casts or occasions.

Searching for digital sheet music

Sheet music that is digitally available is particularly copyright free sheet music, so usually works or editions dating back seventy years or more.

PLEASE NOTE: these older editions often do not meet the scientific insights of today. However, in the collection of Musicology you will find sheet music editions which are up to date with the current scientific views.

Major databases:

Searching in WorldCat

In WorldCat you can search for sheet music available in Utrecht University Library, but also find out what material can be found in other libraries. There are several ways to search for sheet music in WorldCat.

Enter search terms in the search bar on the start screen. You will get a list of results (titles). Next you can select Format in the left side bar and tick the box Musical score.

Do you want to know what the University Library holds? Select Library at Utrecht University Library. Please take care to uncheck the box Group related editions. Now the results are limited to the material of Utrecht University Library. Do you need more information about a title? Click on the title and next on Description.

Do you want to know what is available in the Netherlands? At Library select Libraries in The Netherlands. To know which library holds a specific title, click on the title in question and next on Availibility.

You may also select the Advanced Search option and limit the search results in the same way.

How is sheet music arranged on the library shelves?

Sheet music is arranged by format.

Shelf mark  
Pa 4 Large score
Pa 8  Small score ("pocket score")
Kam Chamber music
Klav Keyboard music
Klav obl Keyboard music oblong
Kl uittr Piano reduction
Zg Vocals
Serie General works per composer, genre or period of time

Older and less used material is stored in the depositories and can be requested.

Searching digital sheet music per composer

  • Beethoven-Haus Bonn: digitales Archiv  Includes reproductions of the music autographs
  • Bach Digital  Includes reproductions of the music autographs
  • Digitaler Notenschrank  Autographs and scanned older editions of all opus numbers by Johannes Brahms
  • GreatBach  The complete works as PDF files. Many alto and tenor keys. In the case of the cantatas only piano reductions are available, not the orchestral parts. By clicking on the W on the start screen, you will get the list of works.
  • Händel-Haus Halle  Contains manuscripts, editions and literature
  • Mozart's letters  Edition of the letters in four languages
  • Muziekmanuscripten van Alphons Diepenbrock All autographs from the collection of the Nederlands Muziek Instituut ('Dutch Music Institute'  digitised  for the project Het Geheugen van Nederland ('The memories of the Netherlands')
  • Mendelssohns Werke  The Gesamtausgabe published by Julius Rietz at Breitkopf & Härtel between 1874 and 1877
  • NMA Online Neue Mozart-Ausgabe, around 125 volumes
  • Robert Schumann's Werke  The Gesamtausgabe published by Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms at Breitkopf & Härtel between 1879 and 1893
  • Schubert-Autographe  Contains reproductions of more than 500 music autographs and letters

No results in WorldCat

​Not all libraries are included in WorldCat. A major Dutch music library that is missing in WorldCat is the (former) Muziekbibliotheek van de Omroep ('Music library of the Dutch National Broadcasting Company'). This library holds the archive of the arrangements for the Dutch broadcast ensembles from around 1940 onwards. Unfortunately the library cannot be visited at the moment. However, the catalogue remains available and is a good aid when you want to find out if there is a chance that material not found in other Dutch libraries is available in the Netherlands after all.

A part of the collection is digitised and available via Muziekschatten

Search aids

You can use thematic catalogues (such as the oeuvre catalogue of Johann Sebastian Bach with BWV numbers) to find out more about a composition, for instance an opus number. Also in Grove Music Online, part of Oxford Music Online, an overview of works is given arranged by composer. Many scores of lesser known composers have never been printed, but only exist as manuscripts. In Grove Music Online or RISM Online Catalogue of Musical Sources you can often discover if a printed version is available. These catalogues also tell you where to find manuscripts.