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Music: Books, Scores, Recordings

UC Library Search


What is a preferred title?

In library catalogs, musical works each have a unique, standardized preferred title (also known as "uniform title"). Whereas the title of a work can vary on different scores and recordings, its preferred title in library catalogs is always the same. Therefore, if you know a little bit about preferred titles, you can use them to search more effectively. 

For example, the uniform title Mozart's first piano concerto is:

  • Concertos, piano, orchestra, K. 488, A major

Uniform titles are indexed in our catalog record. That's why it's helpful to use "sonatas" or "concertos" as a title when searching for a sonata or a concerto. 

To learn more, see the tutorial "Using Preferred Titles" from the Cook Music Library, Indiana University.

Finding Music

When using UC Library Search to find scores and recordings, always use Advanced Search and click on "Resources in the Library:"

  • Then type in the composer and title, and select Scores or Audio Visual from the "Types of Material" dropdown menu.
  • You can use Author searching not only for authors and composers but also for performers and ensembles:


  • Limit to "Audio Visual" if you are looking for a sound or video recording in any format (CDs, vinyl records, DVDs, or an online recording database like Naxos):

  • To find works with generic titles (i.e., sonata, symphony, concerto, quartet, etc.), it is often helpful to search for the genre in the plural:

  • If the work includes a solo instrument, add the instrument and make sure the title is an exact phrase:

Still stumped? Final tips: 

  • Are you sure you're spelling the composer and title of the work correctly? We only have correct spellings in our database, so the search usually won't work if there's a typo.
  • Read this guide on "Using Preferred Titles" to find out how to refine your search when looking for a specific work.
  • Play around with the facets on the left-hand side menu.
  • Don't be shy - ask someone who works at the Music Library for help! 

LPs in the Library

Vinyl LPs up to XL2 26,999 must now be requested through the UCSB Library Catalog.

LPs above XL2 27,000 should be requested at the Music Service Desk. 

We will retrieve them within 1 day and hold them here onsite for you for one quarter.

You can listen to them, or any of the library's 16,000 CDs (which are still onsite), over stereo speakers in our individual listening rooms. 

Assistance will gladly be given at the Music Service Desk! 


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Le Concert

France, ca. 1790.  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D. C.

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