Finding printed music

For more information about music books, journals, audio and freely available sheet music, see your Subject Guide.
Music Guide

Music can sometimes be a complex thing to search for in the library. We have created this guide to help you search and browse more easily for sheet music.


How am I permitted to use Music Scores in the library

The HE CLA Licence covers limited copying of purchased resources at BCU. It does not cover the copying of music scores. Short excerpts of musical works can be copied for the purposes of private study, research and teaching under the educational copyright exception of “Fair Dealing”.

A Code of Practice has been created by the Music Publishers Association.  This code establishes educational contexts within which the limited copying of music is permitted such as:

  • short excerpts may be copied for private study and research. Whole movements or whole works may not be copied.
  • if music is lost or damaged before a pre-arranged concert, copies can be made as long as the replacements are purchased later or copies should be returned with other hired copies. 
  • for performance difficulties, e.g., turning score pages during a recital, a small amount may be copied.

Copyright duration for a musical work lasts for the lifetime of any of the creators associated with the work and for 70 years after their death. Apart from the composer, the publisher for any printed edition may own copyright on that edition too.

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How do I browse for sheet music or scores in the library?

You will find full scores and sheet music on the ground floor of Curzon Library: turn left when you enter, and left again after the photocopiers. Music is arranged in number order according to its shelf mark (see "can I search/browse by instrument" below).

You will find study scores on the ground floor of Curzon Library in the AV room: turn right when you enter, and room C001 is on your right. You will also find CDs, DVDs, LPs and listening equipment in here.

Books about music are in the main book collection.

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How do I search for sheet music or scores on the catalogue?

Using the 'advanced search' option will help with finding music

Advanced Search

Because music can be published in different languages or with different nicknames, it can be tricky! There are fields for author [composer] and title, as well as keyword fields. We try and catalogue music so that you can find it, but if you get stuck, please ask us for help.

Sometimes individual songs are only published in anthologies and not mentioned separately on Library Search, so you would need to search by the name of the anthology.

If you would like to obtain sheet music that we don’t stock, please contact the Collection Management Librarian Francis Firth – he may be able to purchase or hire it.

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Can I search/browse by instrument?

Yes! Use the table below to identify the shelf mark of your instrument.

You can look for the corresponding sheet music box in the library, or use the advanced search to type a shelf mark.

InstrumentShelf markInstrumentShelf mark
Baroque sonatas 785.752 Bass clarinet 788.61
Bass trombone 788.3 Bassoon 788.8
Brass/wind chamber music 785.782
Cantatas - vocal scores 783.4
Clarinet 788.6 Collected editions 780.81
Cor anglais 788.71 Cornet 788.1
Double bass 787.4 Euphonium 788.44
Facsimile scores 780.81
Flute 788.5
Full scores (including jazz) Q780.84 Guitar 787.6
Harp music 787.5 Horn 788.4
Jazz (no instrument specified) 781.65136 Mallet (marimba, vibraphone, xylophone) 789.6
Mixed chamber ensembles 785.792
Oboe 788.7
Opera vocal scores 782.1 Oratorio vocal scores 783.3
Organ 786.8 Percussion 789
Piano  786.4 Piano duets 786.4956
Piano duos (2 pianos) 786.4957 Piano & Strings Chamber Music 785.763
Piccolo 788.51 Recorder 788.53
Songs 784.3 Song anthologies 784.8
Songs for children/schools 784.6 String chamber music 785.772
Study scores 780.84 Timpani/drum  789.1
Trio sonatas 785.753 Trombone  788.2
Trumpet 788.1 Tuba 788.48
Viola 787.2 Violin 787.1
Violincello (cello) 787.3 Vocal (secular unaccompanied) 784.1
Vocal (secular accompanied) 784.2

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What about orchestral, vocal, jazz, brass band or wind sets?

Sets are primarily for use in official Conservatoire performances, so you will not find these out on the open shelves. You will find information on accessing these on your Subject Guide.

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Can I use sheet music I found online?

You can download out-of-copyright music from the internet to practice with. We have listed some useful websites on your Subject Guide

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