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Search Music, Theater, and Dance

The Music Division has been acquiring materials since 1898 and has used a wide variety of bibliographic controls on these materials. However, only a small percentage of the collections is represented by bibliographic records in the Library of Congress Online Catalog, often referred to as "the computer catalog" or "OPAC." In addition to the Online Catalog, information on the Music Division's collections may also be found in the Copyright registration records in COHM accessed via LOCIS, card catalogs of the U.S. Copyright Office, the card catalogs of the Performing Arts Reading Room, and finding aids in the Performing Arts Reading Room.
Note: Links to both the Online Catalog and COHM appear at the end of this page. If you are new to searching our collections, please read the following first.

The cataloged and classified collections of the Music Division are arranged utilizing the Class M classification tables. Class M has three subdivisions:

  • M Music
  • ML Music Literature
  • MT Music Teaching and Instruction

The material classified under M is printed music and scores. Much of this part of the collection is not cataloged, but merely classified under a number appropriate to the format or genre of the music. For on-site requests and correspondents, searches can be submitted for materials which would fall under appropriate class numbers even if they are not in the catalog.

The materials under ML are primarily books on music and are usually covered by a bibliographic record, either in the card catalogs in the Performing Arts Reading Room or the computer catalog.

Class MT, which represents items on music teaching and instruction, can include both books and printed music. Most, but not all, of the materials in this class number are covered by bibliographic records.

Printed music received in the Music Division through the copyright registration process from 1978 through the present is either cataloged, or filed under the copyright registration number. The latter items are covered by copyright registration records in COHM (available through LOCIS access on the Copyright Office Home Page) and can be searched both in the Library and remotely. Copyright registration records for music materials from the period 1898-1977 are searchable only on-site; there is no Internet access. A search of these records is available from the U.S. Copyright Office for a fee.(See Circular 22).

All users of the Library's Online Catalog must also know that all music materials that were cataloged before 1984 appear as books in the record format identification. If older material is sought, searches should not be limited to scores or sound recordings.

The Music Division also holds more than 500 named special collections in music, theater and dance, which are remarkably disparate in size, content, and format. It should be noted with regard to the performing arts of theater and dance, only limited reference collections for these subjects are held in the reading room; most published works in these disciplines are located in the general collections of the Library, and may be requested through the Main Reading Room in the Jefferson Building and the Science Reading Room or Business Reference Services Reading Room in the Adams Building.

Link to:
Library of Congress Online Catalog
Searching Help, LC Online Catalog
COHM (using LOCIS, through the U.S. Copyright Office Home Page)

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  Home >> Search Music, Theater, and Dance
  The Library of Congress >> Especially for Researchers >> Research Centers
   February 28, 2006
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