All the Bodleian Library's printed music, both antiquarian and modern, must be consulted in the Sir Charles Mackerras Reading Room on Level One of the Weston Library. In addition to a large selection of reference books on Music, a selection of composer collected editions and other scholarly editions can be found on the open shelves in the reading room (shelfmark: MUS. M.) and in the adjacent Gallery (shelfmark: MUS. N.). Other music scores are stored either in the Weston Library stacks (shelfmark prefix '(W)') or offsite in the Book Storage Facility and should be requested via SOLO.
Practically all the Bodleian's printed music should now be included in the online catalogue SOLO. The data from the card catalogues previously located in the former Music Reading Room has now been keyed and added to SOLO. While this means that printed music scores are now all catalogued in one place, a certain variety in cataloguing styles and a small amount of duplication may be noticeable.
For general help on using SOLO, see here.
Although the data from the old card catalogues has now been added to SOLO and SOLO should always be the first place to start looking for printed music scores, the old catalogue cards have been scanned and can still be browsed online. It should be stressed that the information on the cards may no longer be current. All stack requests (hold requests) for music scores should now be made via SOLO.
Using the Online Card catalogues
In fact, several distinct catalogues are included:
To expand the branches of the ‘tree’ in the left-hand panel, click on the arrow heads to the left of the folders or, where there is no arrow head, on the folder itself. Once you drill down below the level of initial letters, the index term given alongside the folders represents the heading on the first card in each sequence. Move from one card to the next by using the left and right arrow buttons at the top of the screen or, to jump to another point in the ‘drawer’, drag the round button along the bar at the foot of the screen.
Effectively a copyright library since Sir Thomas Bodley entered into his agreement with the Stationers' Company in 1610, the Bodleian has been regularly receiving printed music under the terms of successive Copyright Acts since the 1780s, although coverage has never been comprehensive. Music received up to the middle of the 19th century was bound in the 1880s into uniform sequences of vocal and instrumental music volumes (the Mus. Voc. and Mus. Instr. sequences).
For more information about the history of legal deposit music at the Bodleian, see:
Martin Holmes, '‘Neither exhaustive nor selective’: Legal deposit, Sir Thomas Bodley, and the growth of the music collections at his Library in Oxford', Brio v.56 no.2 (Autumn/Winter 2019), pp. 6-15.
For general information on Legal Deposit, click here.