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Music: How to find music to perform

Looking for sheet music to perform? Recordings to listen to? Books and articles about music or a related topic? This libguide will help!

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Can't find the article you want in our databases? Put in a request through ILLiad - InterLibrary Loan.

Your article will be delivered to you within 1-3 days, as a PDF so you can read it on your computer.

What are you looking for?

What do you call the musical notation on paper that we musicians use when we perform? "sheet music" (because it's printed on sheets of paper); "printed music" (because it's not an audio or video recording); "scores" (and if you do, you probably are a musician). When you need music to read/learn when you perform or for study in music history or theory courses, I recommend using the Advanced Search feature. To do that click on the link for Advanced Search immediately below the search box in the middle of the page.

1. Enter keywords like, Beethoven in the first line and Symphony in the second. Then, click in the Material Type and scroll down to Scores, then click SEARCH. 

 2. The list you get includes printed scores as well as online scores. In the column on the left you can click on "Full Text Online" to see only items that are online only. Click on "Held in Library" to see physical items. 


I want to find music for my chamber ensemble to play.

The printed music in the CSU East Bay Library collection uses the Library of Congress call number system all beginning with the letter M. The printed music is generally arranged by the performance ensemble. That means that you can browse for all of the Brass Trios by looking at the music with call numbers beginning M 357. Of course M 357 is the call number for ALL instrumental trios, but still, it's a way to start looking for what you want.

Here's a general guide to instrumental ensemble music call numbers:

  • M6-M175.5 music for one solo instrument (You'll find many piano sonatas in the M 20-25 section)
  • M177-M990 music for two or more solo instruments (e.g., trios in M 357)
  • M1000-M1075 music for orchestra
  • M1100-M1160 music for string orchestra
  • M1200-M1270 music for band
  • M1350-M1366 music for "other" ensembles (e.g., chamber orchestra, and also jazz ensembles) 
  • M1375-M1420 instrumental music for children (see M1380 for piano music composed for children to play)
  • M1470-1480 Aleatory music, electronic music, mixed media (this category includes renaissance dance music as well as pieces by John Cage)

 There are other ways to locate specific ensemble and solo music and I hope you'll consult with me anytime you have a question about that. My contact information is in the box at the right of this page. I look forward to your questions! -Tom


I want to find a song for voice and piano or a piece for choir.

The printed music in the CSU East Bay Library collection uses the Library of Congress call number system all beginning with the letter M. The printed music is generally arranged by the performance ensemble. That means that you can browse Bach cantatas by looking at the music with call numbers beginning M 2020 .B…. 

Here's a general guide to vocal solo and ensemble music call numbers:

  • vocal/choral music with secular texts are in M1497-M1998
  • vocal/choral music with sacred texts are in M1999-M2199

Here's a more detailed list:

  • M1497 collections (e.g. Italian arias)
  • M1500-M1527.8 dramatic music (that's the term for Operas)
  • M1528-M1529.5 music with secular text for two or more solo voices (some with piano accompaniment, some for voices and instrumental ensemble)
  • M1530-M1609 choruses with secular texts (e.g., Samuel Barber's To be sung on the water for four-part women's chorus)
  • M1611-M1624.8 music with secular text for one solo voice (e.g. Cateloube's Chants d'Auvergne for medium voice and orchestra [arr. for voice and piano]
  • M1625-M1626 recitations with music (e.g. William Walton and Edith Sitwell's Facade)
  • M1627-M1853 folk, national, and ethnic music (e.g., folksongs from China)
  • M1900-M1985 songs of specific groups or on specific topics (e.g., work songs like sea shanties)
  • M1990-M1998 secular vocal music for children (e.g., singing games for children)
  • M1999 collections of music with sacred texts (e.g., a collection of choruses from Brahm's sacred music)
  • M2000-M2007 dramatic music (that's the term for Oratorios such as Handel's Messiah)
  • M2010-M2017.6 choral services (e.g., Monteverdi's Marian Vespers 1610 or Bach's Mass in b minor)
  • M2018-M2019.5 music with sacred text for two or more solo voices (e.g., Arvo Pärt's Stabat Mater)
  • M2020-M2105.5 choruses with sacred texts (e.g., Bach's Cantatas)
  • M2102-2114.8 music with sacred text for one solo voice (Ned Rorem's setting of the Lord's Prayer for medium voice and organ)
  • M2115-M2146 hymnals (i.e. books of music to be sung by congregations in worship services)
  • M2147-2188 music for liturgy and ritual (e.g., the Liber usualis collection of plainchant [sometimes called "Gregorian chant"])
  • M2190-M2196 sacred vocal music for children (Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat)
  • M2198-M2199 popular religious and devotional music (e.g., hymns for use in "revival" services)

I want to find a jazz chart.

I'll be honest with you, this is tricky! You can do a word search on Jazz in the CSU East Bay Library Catalog and then "Modify the Search" to limit the results to "Music-Printed." That gets some method books as well as charts. If you are looking for a particular jazz chart, please contact me, Tom Bickley, using the information on the right of this page. Alternatively, it's always good to check with Prof. Dann Zinn, in Jazz Studies in the CSU East Bay Music Department. You can email him at

Even with that confession, you may find our Fake Books very helpful (What's a "Fake Book"? A collection of lead sheets for pop songs that you can use to "fake" a good performance of the music.)

Best of the Beatles: for keyboards, melody instruments, guitar, vocal Book Stacks M1741.18 .B323

Columbia's Collosal Fake Book: more than 1000 songs Book Stacks M1630.18 .C66

First Time Ever: 650 outstanding songs available for the first time in a fake book collection Book Stacks M 1630.18 .F6

The Performer's Complete Fake Book Book Stacks M 1630.48 .P28

This Is the Ultimate Fake Book Book Stacks M 1630.T45 volumes 1 and 2


Library Liaison

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Tom Bickley
Office: LI2141, University Library
CSU East Bay
25800 Carlos Bee Bl
Hayward, CA 94542
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