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Finding Songs

2 October 2007 by Tammy Ravas

While you can find songs published individually, they are often published in anthologies or are part of a larger work such as a song cycle, opera, or cantata. Like with locating individual articles in periodicals, you will need to refer to indexes to help locate songs in collections.Here are some steps to help you find songs.

I. Catalog:
A. Title or keyword search in the catalog (i.e. “Gute Nacht”)
B. Set limits to scores. You can also enter the composer name in one of
the other text boxes (in this case, it would be Schubert).
C. If you know that the song came from a larger work such as an opera, song cycle, cantata or oratorio, then search under the title of that larger work (in this case, it would be Winterreise). If you are having trouble determining whether or not a song came from a larger work, try the following:
1. Search Grove Music Online under the composer and locate the song in the works list if possible.
2. UTK Song Index- http://www.lib.utk.edu/music/songdb/. Keep in mind that this resource will link to the University of Tennessee’s resources, not the ones here at the University of Montana. When you find a song in a collection, write down the title of the anthology and look it up in the Mansfield Library’s online catalog.

II. There are print song indexes available, which you can consult if you can’t find a copy of a song, or its larger work, in the catalog. When consulting these individual song indexes, be sure to look at the preface to learn how to look up your song. Typically, the front of each song index will have a listing of the anthologies it indexes; usually the rest of the book is comprised of the individual song titles with a reference back to the anthology. You need to get the title of the anthology or collection and look it up in the Mansfield Library’s online catalog in order to locate the work.

Here is a listing of song indexes at the Mansfield Library:

* Barlow & Morgenstern. A Dictionary of Vocal Themes
REF 780.216 X B258di
-Locates songs by tune. In the back of the text there is an index of tunes by notation letters arranged in alphabetical order. Transpose your tune into C major or C minor and then locate the tune.

* Green Book of Songs by Subject
REF 782.42 G796g 1995
- Locates popular songs by subject.

*Ferguson. Song Finder
REF 782.42 X F352s
-Indexes 32,000 popular songs in collections from 1854-1992.

* Goleeke. Literature for Voice: an Index of Songs in Collections and Source Book for Teachers of Singing
REF 782.42 X G625L
- Useful for teachers; gives keys and ranges of songs.

* Goodfellow. Where’s that Tune? an Index to Songs in Fakebooks
REF 782.42 X G651w
-Indexes 64 fakebooks.

* Havlice. Popular Song Index (1975-1989)
REF 782.42 X H388
- We own the initial edition plus 3 supplements.

* Lax & Smith. Great Song Thesaurus
REF 782.42 X L425g 1989
-Helps to locate popular songs with variable titles.

* Goodfellow. SongCite: an Index to Popular Songs
REF 782.42164 X G651s
- Contains an index to titles and first lines, composers, musicals, movie songs, and TV show songs.

* De Charms & Breed. Songs in Collections (1966)
REF 784 .D293s
- Indexes over 400 popular, folk, and classical song collections. Contains a title/first-line index.

* Sears. Song Index (1926, 1934)
REF 784 X S439s
- Indexes 12,000 songs in nearly 200 collections.

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