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Music 233: Introduction to Historical Musicology

Searching Music in Primo

General Primo Search Tips



To find composers, conductors, or performers, use Primo advanced search by author.

To find titles of a particular work or album title, use Primo advanced search by title.

To search by subject for a form of performance, including genre of music or instrumentation, use Primo advanced search by subject.

Use keyword searching when looking for words in the titles, the subjects, and the contents notes. For this reason, you can sometimes find titles (and even composers) through keyword that you cannot find through a regular author or title search.


When searching for musical compositions, keep these tips in mind.

Ensembles are qualified by instrumentation.

Musical form is followed by instrumentation


Call Numbers to Browse

If you're interested in a broad topic in music, or would like to browse for inspiration, try one of these Library of Congress call letters. If you would like to see a more detailed list, try the Library of Congress M Classification Outline.

  • M: Music
    • M5-1480 Instrumental music
    • M1495-2199 Vocal music
  • ML: Literature on Music
    • ML159-3785 History and criticism
  • MT: Instruction and Study
    • MT170-810 Instrumental techniques
    • MT820-915 Singing and vocal technique

Check out the map of the second floor where the music collection is housed.

Locations of books

  • Print Reference books are on the first floor across from the Learning Commons area.
  • Book stacks: Consult the library map; look for location posters; or ask any staff member for help!


E-books in Collins Library are fully integrated into Primo Search! 

Consult the e-books guide to find out more about finding and using our growing e-book collection.

Uniform Titles

If you want your searches for musical works to be as complete as possible, it's useful to understand the concept of uniform titles. Uniform titles are standardized titles assigned by catalogers so that all scores and recordings of a work can be retrieved in a single search. This is useful because musical works can be published with variants in the title wording, and titles can appear in any language. 

For example,Mozart's The Magic Flute appears in the catalog as 

  • The Magic Flute

  • Flûte enchantée

  • Die Zauberflöte

The uniform title is in bold:  Die Zauberflöte

If you search for The Magic Flute as the title in Primo, you'll find fewer items than if you search for Die Zauberflöte. You don't have to remember the uniform title, just remember where to find it in the record. 



The Uniform Title also works on streaming platforms like Naxos Music Library.

Google Books

Use Google Books to search the text of a book.

Google Book Search