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Music at Oxford - a guide to libraries and resources: Libraries & Collections for Music

Subjects: Music

Collection overview

The principal music collections in the University are to be found in the Weston Library and the Music Faculty Library. Some colleges also hold significant historic collections of music materials.

The Music Faculty Library provides for the borrowing needs of students (both undergraduate and postgraduate), researchers and senior members. It supports both taught courses and research interests, in most cases by duplicating core material also held in the Bodleian. Most of the stock is for loan and consists of nearly 20,000 items of printed music and about 25,000 books and journals. In addition, the library houses the main collection of sound recordings in the University with over 5,000 CDs, 15,000 LPs, and a large number of DVDs.

The music collections of the Bodleian Library are consulted in the Weston Library and comprise a research collection of over 500,000 items of printed music from the 16th century onwards, large numbers of manuscripts from medieval times to the present day, and many books and periodicals, based in part on British legal deposit material, but also rich in donated and purchased items. Classical, popular and non-western musical traditions are all represented. All material is for reference only. For information on locating the Bodleian's Music materials, see also the Finding Aids LibGuide.

Bodleian Library (Weston Library)

Mackerras Reading RoomThe Music reading room of the Bodleian Library is located in the Sir Charles Mackerras Reading Room on Level One of the Weston Library and is the reading room for all music materials. The reading room and the adjacent Gallery area contain the open shelf collections of music literature, a selection of composer collected editions and other music series, a large collection of music manuscripts on microfilm and some runs of music journals. There is also a large selection of current issues of music journals for browsing, along with a display of recently-acquired books on music. See below for an explanation of the open shelf classification for Music.

For help with finding music materials, click here. Within the reading room, music enquiries can be directed to the Reserve desk from where specialist assistance from Music staff can be summoned. If you need to consult music manuscripts or other special collections material, it is advisable to consult Music Curator in the first instance. 

Music manuscripts and many printed scores are kept in closed access within the building and can normally be fetched within two hours. (There is no fetching service for Music on Saturdays.) Other printed music is stored offsite but can be ordered to the Mackerras Reading Room for consultation, along with other closed stack material. Deliveries of offsite material are made twice daily (Mon-Fri) but please allow at least 24 hours for requested items to reach the reading room.  (For more details of book delivery times, click here.) If you are visiting the Library from a distance, it is advisable to contact Music section staff in advance so that we can pre-order material for you.  Music manuscripts are ordered on the green slips provided in the reading rooms. Printed music should be requested via SOLO. Scores stored in the Weston Library stacks can be identified by the 'Weston Stacks' location and the prefix "(W)" in the shelfmark.

Weston Library Music Open Shelf Classification

The open shelf music material in the Weston Library is classified according to the following sequence:

Mackerras Reading Room (moving clockwise from the Reserve desk):

MUS. A. – CATALOGUES OF MUSIC LIBRARIES

- union catalogues (e.g. RISM), then by country/geographical area.

MUS. B. – MUSIC BIBLIOGRAPHY

- printing/publishing, bibliographies (general/specific), etc.

MUS. C. – MUSIC DICTIONARIES

- general, specific, by country, biographical, terminology, etc.

MUS. D. – NON-COMPOSER THEMATIC CATALOGUES

- chant catalogues, guides to liturgy, etc.

MUS. E. – GENERAL MUSIC HISTORY

- by period and geographical area, theory, analysis, philosophy, aesthetics

MUS. F. – COMPOSERS

- biographies/yearbooks/thematic catalogues, etc. (A/Z by composer)

MUS. G. – MUSICAL FORMS

- histories, bibliographies and dictionaries of musical forms (opera, song, etc.)

MUS. H. – MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

- instruments (general, by family), performance practice, etc.

MUS. K. – JAZZ and POPULAR MUSIC

- dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc.

MUS. M -- COMPOSER COLLECTED EDITIONS

- a selection of composer collected editions, arranged alphabetically by composer, from C.P.E. Bach to Weber. Critical commentaries are at MUS. MC. and located on the shelves in close proximity to the volumes to which they refer.

MUS. PER. RACK

- current issues of a selection of print periodicals

MUS. TRAY

- a selection of recently-published or recently-acquired books on music.

Weston Gallery (north-west corner):

MUS. PER. - MUSIC PERIODICALS

- a selection of runs and partial runs of music journals, largely confined to sequences to which we do not have electronic access

MUS. FACS. – FACSIMILES, TRANSCRIPTIONS, ETC.

- a selection of facsimile editions and transcriptions of musical sources

MUS. N. – MUSIC SERIES, MUSICAL MONUMENTS, ETC.

- a selection of music series (e.g. Musica Britannica, Corpus Mensurabilis Musicae, Recent Researches series)

Weston Gallery (west alcove):

MUS. FILMS - MUSIC MICROFILMS

- a selection of musical sources on microfilm, chiefly commercially published sets (e.g. Music from the Great British Collections)

 

Music Faculty Library

Music Faculty Library, spiral staircaseThe Music Faculty Library is located in the Faculty of Music building in St Aldates and is primarily a lending collection in support of undergraduate and graduate teaching and research at the Music Faculty.

Spread over three floors, the Library holds large collections of books on music, scores, CDs, LPs and DVDs.

 

For more information, please see the Music Faculty Library web pages.