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Music Library Guide: Finding sheet music

Library guide for Music & Dance students & staff

Prefixes for scores

TP Classical music: Upper level or Short Loan.
TPA Music by South Africans: Closed access. Email your request or ask at the Circulation Desk.

Jazz - Upper level or Short Loan.

TPJS Big Band, Jazz Ensemble. Score + parts. Closed access. Email your request or ask at the Circulation Desk.
TPR Scores in the Reference section. Library-use only.
TPS Orchestra and large ensembles. Score + parts. Closed access. Ask at the Circulation Desk.

Collected editions and Monumental Works

  • These are scholarly editions of musical scores. They are for library use only and cannot be borrowed.  They are marked in the library catalogue with the shelf number TPR 782.97....
  • They are shelved in the glass cabinets around the upper level of the library. Request a key in exchange for your library card at the Circulation desk.
  • For an overview of these materials, consult the article 'Editions' in Grove Music Online or in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, the 1980 printed edition, in the Reference Section.
  • A guide to the contents:
    • Heyer, Anna Harriet, 1909-. Historical sets, collected editions, and monuments of music: a guide to their contents. Chicago: American Library Association, 1980.
  • A database indexing these editions:
    • Index to Printed Music – via EBSCOhost 
    • The IPM is the only electronic resource for finding individual pieces of music published in standard scholarly editions, such as composers' collected works, published in sets and series, organized by composer, geographical area, or by time or style period. With over 307,000 index records, the database contains detailed indexing including, but not limited to, composers, editors, poets, librettists, performing force (medium), format, genres, musical incipits (for identification), etc.

More information on access to these editions in the WH Bell Library.

Sheet music on disc


CD Sheet Music™ offers a comprehensive selection of published scores and sheet music by the world's great classical composers from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern eras, including works for orchestra, chamber ensemble, piano, strings, winds, voice, and chorus.

Shelf number = TPZ.
Shelved in the audio-visual room.

Loan policy: for library-use only.

Finding music for a specific instrument or for an ensemble.

There are three methods to identify printed music for specific instrumentation using PRIMO. 

1. Use the Browse option in the library catalogue. Change the index to search by Subject.
Type the name of the instrument, or type the name of the chamber music genre, Below are examples from browse searches:

Piano music (4 hands).
Piano music -- 20th century -- Scores.
Piano quartets, Arranged -- Scores and parts.
Piano quartets -- Scores.
Piano quintet with string orchestra.

Quartets (Clarinet, violin, viola, violoncello) -- Scores and parts.
Quartets (Flute, guitar, viola, violoncello), Arranged.
Quartets (Flute, recorders (2), continuo) -- Scores and parts.
Quartets (Flute, violin, viola, continuo) -- Scores.

Trios (Bassoon, clarinet, flute).
Trios (Bassoon, flute, viola).

Trumpet and guitar music.
Trumpet and organ music.
Trumpet and percussion music.


2. Use the Basic Search option in the library catalogue. Type the search words, e.g. quartets AND clarinet AND viola AND TP


  • One search box only
  • Can only search on index (All fields, or title, or author or subject)
  • Plural in the form (quartets);
  • AND - combining the search terms;
  • TP - added to limit results to scores
    • Note: you cannot add TP when searching the subject field.

3. Use the Advanced Search option in the library catalogue.


  • Five search boxes and each can represent a different index.


Score colour coding

The spines of the sheet music are colour coded to identify major instrument groups

Tips for searching the catalogue

Improve your search techniques and get better results

  • Use the plural of the musical GENRE e.g. sonatas, suites, concertos
  • Include the name of the INSTRUMENT
  • Include the composer's SURNAME
  • Include TP
  • Include a distinctive word e.g. title word, opus number or thematic catalogue number.