Locating music for individual songs can be a challenge since many anthologies and collections don't have complete contents listings in HOLLIS. This guide provides quick access to the Harvard Library resources that will be most helpful for performers and researchers looking for single songs.
Looking for something further? Contact Kerry Masteller for a personalized suggestion.
Searching: First Steps
- Search HOLLIS for the title of the song.
- If it's from a musical or opera, look for the score of the larger work, too (for example: to find copies of "Ol' Man River," also try searching for Show Boat).
- Limit your results by Resource Type to "scores" to find only printed music.
- If you're browsing for song collections, other helpful subject keywords include terms like these (you don't need to include the punctuation):
- Musicals -- Vocal scores
- Operas -- Excerpts [or Musicals -- Excerpts]
- Songs (Medium voice) with piano [and so on, for different voice ranges]
- Popular songs
- Songs, English [or other language]
These reference books allow you to search the contents of songbooks, anthologies, and collections. Find the listing for a song, then use HOLLIS to search for the titles of the collections in which it's printed.
The library owns many other indexes like these, focused on subsets of the repertoire. To find more, search HOLLIS for the subject keywords Songs Indexes.
Warning: these books are not comprehensive, and Harvard does not own all of the anthologies they index. Take note of the genres they cover, as well as their publication dates: don't waste your time looking up a song from the 1990s in a book that was published in the 1980s!
Scores and Sheet Music
To find many other collections, search for a composer's name, keywords like "operas excerpts," or search for the title keywords "art songs" in HOLLIS, and limit your results to scores.
Digital sheet music collections are good places to look for nineteenth and early twentieth century songs. The collections listed below are a starting point for finding online scores.