Musical Scores and Sheet Music
Scores consist of written notation of musical content. This might take the form of a full score, which includes notation for every instrument in a piece, but also might take the form of reduced scores. Vocal scores reduce all the orchestral parts into one piano part with the vocal parts remaining separated. Piano scores reduce all parts, including vocals, into one piano part. Individual parts are also created for each instrument and vocal part.
Sheet music is a score of 12 pages or less, mostly but not always of popular music, marketed for home use. In addition to the lyrical and musical content, sheet music covers often include illustrations that can serve the same purpose as visual prints for theater historians. Social historians find personal collections of sheet music useful in determining musical tastes within a particular sociological context.
While not technically scores, as they don't contain musical notation, librettos and songsters are likewise of great use to performing arts researchers. Librettos (or libretti) contain the lyrics for an extended musical production such as an opera or Broadway musical. Songsters were a format popular in the 18th and 19th centuries that compiled the lyrics of popular songs, including songs from live performance, without musical notation (it was assumed the reader will know the tune without the notation).
Searching for Musical Scores and Sheet Music
Published music scores will generally be cataloged individually in HOLLIS, as are handwritten scores and printed scores with manuscript annotations. But scores and sheet music can also be cataloged as parts of archival collections. In those cases, more in depth description may be located in their finding aids. For example, marked up scores might be found in the records of a company or the personal papers of a composer if they were acquired as part of those collections.
You can search for scores in HOLLIS from the Advanced Search page. Select Library Catalog from the Search for options, then Scores from the Resource Type menu. You can then enter search terms, such as the production title, song title, performer's name, or subject. Note that some older records may not use Score as the Resource type, so if you wish to be very thorough you may need to try other methods to find the score you're looking for.
You can search for sheet music by going to the Advanced Search page of HOLLIS and selecting Library Catalog from the Search for options. Enter "sheet music" in the first search box. On the next line, enter a search term relevant to your topic, such as song title, performer's name, or subject.
To search for libretti, go to the Advanced Search page of HOLLIS and select Library Catalog from the Search for options. Enter librett* in the first search box. Enter terms relevant to your topic in the second search box, such as title, lyricist, or subject.
Similarly, to search for songsters, enter songster in the first search box and terms relevant to your topic in the second.
A useful resource for manuscript music holdings at Harvard is Barbara Mahrenholz Wolff's Music Manuscripts at Harvard: A Catalogue of Music Manuscripts from the 14th to the 20th centuries in the Houghton Library and the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library. All of the manuscripts in the this work also appear in HOLLIS, but the printed catalog may contain additional information about them.