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Finding music: other in-house music indexes and card catalogues

Information on most of the music and music-related material in the British Library can be found in one of our online catalogues. There are some categories of material, however, for which more detailed information exists in other forms (some not yet online). This is a list of card catalogues on music subjects held by the British Library.

Publishers, printers, allied trades

A

1. Topographical index;
2. Index of publishers and printers of all foreign, pre-1801 editions of music held in the British Library;
3. All countries except UK-ca 1500-1800;
4. Comprehensive;
5. Typescript cards;
6. ca 12000;
7. Alphabetical by country, town, name of publisher, printer;
8. Maintained.

B

1. Publishers’ catalogues;
2. Catalogue of trade catalogues of music publishers held by the British Library – some were issued as separate publications, but most were printed by way of advertisement as an integral part of a piece of music;
3. All countries – ca 1700 –ca 1870;
4. Comprehensive;
5. Typescript cards;
6. ca 1400;
7. Alphabetical by names of publishers;
8. Maintained.

C

1. London Music Publishers, etc, index;
2. Index of music publishers, sellers, printers, and engravers, giving names, addresses, activity and dates of occupancy of premises, using data derived from Post Office classified directories;
3. London only – ca 1850-ca1950;
4. Not applicable;
5. Typescript cards;
6. ca 2500;
7. Alphabetical by names of firms;
8. Closed.

D

1. London instrument makers index;
2. Index of musical instrument makers, giving names, addresses and dates of occupancy of premises, using data derived from Post Office classified directories;
3. London only – ca 1840-ca 1950;
4. Not applicable;
5. Typescript cards;
6. ca 5000;
7. Alphabetical by names of firms in four sections: Musical boxes; Unspecified instruments; Specified instruments other than pianos; Pianos;
8. Closed.

Iconography

E

1. Musicians’ portraits;
2. Index of portraits of musicians found in printed music in the British Library and in the collections of the British Museum Department of Prints and Drawings; the portraits are mainly from engraved frontispieces or title-pages;
3. All countries – all periods;
4. Selective;
5. Typescript cards;
6. ca 2200;
7. Alphabetical by names of musicians;
8. Maintained.

F

1. Performers index;
2. Index of illustrations of performers found in printed music and books on musical theory in the British Library;
3. All countries – ca 1480-ca 1860;
4. Selective;
5. Typescript cards;
6. ca 600;
7. In four sections; Single performers, alphabetically by instrument; Two performers, alphabetically by salient instrument; Three performers, alphabetically by salient instrument; Four or more performers, chronologically by date of publication;
8. Maintained.

G

1. Musical instruments index;
2. Index of musical instruments, without players, found in printed music and books on musical theory in the British Library;
3. All countries – ca 1480-ca 1860;
4. Selective;
5. Typescript cards;
6. ca 400;
7. As for Performers index;
8. Maintained.

H

1. Operatic scenes index;
2. Index of operatic scenes, mainly from engraved or lithographic frontispieces or title-pages, in printed music in the British Library;
3. All countries – ca 1600-ca 1900;
4. Selective;
5. Typescript cards;
6. ca 90;
7. Alphabetical by names of composers;
8. Maintained.

I

1. Inter-stave illustrations;
2. Index of lithographed illustrations printed around the staves in printed music in the British Library;
3. England – ca 1820 - 1840;
4. Comprehensive;
5. Typescript cards;
6. 12;
7. Chronological;
8. Maintained.

J

1. Illustrated title-page index;
2. Index of illustrated wrappers and title-pages, mainly lithographed, in printed music in the British Library;
3. All countries – ca 1800-ca 1920;
4. Selective;
5. Hand-written cards;
6. ca 7000;
7. Alphabetical by subject;
8. Maintained.

Subsidiary catalogues of printed music

K

1. Secondary vocal music index;
2. Title index to the so-called ‘secondary’ vocal music (mainly copyright deposit copies of popular songs) in the British Library;
3. All countries, but mainly England, USA and Canada – 1910-1980;
4. Comprehensive;
5. Hand-written paper slips;
6. ca 200000;
7. Alphabetical by first word of title or of the first line, in two sequences: Acquisitions from 1910-1949; Acquisitions from 1950-1980 (all acquisitions before 1910 and after 1980 have been fully catalogued);
8. Superceded: all these items are now included in the Library's main catalogue, Explore the British Library.

L

1. Pre-1800 subject index;
2. Subject index to: W. Barclay Squire, Catalogue of printed music published between 1487 and 1800 now in the British Museum 2 vols. London: Printed by order of the Trustees, 1912, itself superceded by Explore the British Library;
3. All countries – 1487-1800;
4. Comprehensive to ca 1911, contains no entries after ca 1911;
5. A copy of the printed catalogue cut up and pasted on cards;
6. ca 40000;
7. Mainly by vocal or instrumental groupings, but also including a few specific subjects, eg French Revolution, Freemasonry, Lating & Greek songs, Military music, National music, Programme music, Notation, Thematic catalogues, Dance music;
8. Closed.

M

1. Instrumental index;
2. Classified catalogue of post-1800 editions of instrumental music in the British Library;
3. All countries – items acquired between 1884-ca1963;
4. Comprehensive;
5. Printed cards
6. ca 80000;
7. Broadly classified by forms, solo instruments and groups of instruments;
8. Closed.

N

1. Song index;
2. Index to the contents of ca 74 albums and anthologies of popular songs (some issued periodically) in the British Library;
3. English publications only – ca 1870-ca 1955;
4. Selective;
5. Hand-written paper slips;
6. ca 12000;
7. Alphabetical by first word of title;
8. Closed.

O

1. Regimental marches;
2. Index of regimental marches in the Music Library;
3. British regiments only ca 1750-ca 1965;
4. Selective
5. Typescript cards;
6. ca 600;
7. Miscellaneous collections chronological; specific regiments alphabetical in eight sections: Mounted regiments; Foot guards; Foot regiments; Corps; Militia, volunteers and territorials; Royal Navy; Royal Marines; Royal Air Force;
8. Closed.

P

1. Catalogues of libretti;
2. Catalogue of libretti in the (then) Department of Printed Books fo the British Museum (now the British Library)
3. All countries – ca 1600-1914;
4. Comprehensive;
5. Handwritten paper slips;
6. ca 10000;
7. The main sequence contains full catalogue entries, extracted from the General Catalagoue of Printed Books, arranged by titles; cross-references to this catalogue are contained in two indexes arranged by composers and by authors of words respectively;
8. Superceded by Explore the British Library, in which all these catalogue records can now be found.

Manuscripts

Q

1. Music Library manuscripts;
2. Index of manuscripts which had not been entered in the Catalogue of Manuscripts or the published catalogues of special collections, mainly manuscripts bound with items of printed music;
3. All countries – all periods;
4. Comprehensive;
5. Typescript cards;
6. ca 50;
7. Alphabetical by composers or genres;
8. Superceded by the Online Manuscripts Catalogue, on which all these catalogue records can now be found.

R

1. Musicians’ autographs;
2. Index of musicians’ autographs, mainly signatures, dedications or corrected proof sheets, in printed music in the Music Library;
3. All countries – all periods;
4. Selective;
5. Typescript cards;
6. ca 2000;
7. Alphabetical by names of composers;
8. Maintained.

S

1. Chapel Royal manuscripts;
2. Indexes to the collection of manuscript part-books compiled for use in the Chapel Royal;
3. Mainly English – compiled between ca 1677-ca 1810;
4. Comprehensive;
5. Typescript cards
6. ca 1500;
7. In two sequences: Alphabetical by names of composers; Alphabetical by first word of title;
8. Closed.

T

1. Index to miscellaneous manuscripts in the Royal Music Library;
2. Indexes to H. Andrews Catalogue of the King’s Music Library. Part II: The Miscellaneous manuscripts London: 1929;
3. All countries – all periods;
4. Comprehensive;
5. Typescript cards;
6. ca 3500;
7. In two sequences: Alphabetical by first word of title; Alphabetical by subject;
8. Superceded by the Online Manuscripts Catalogue, on which all these catalogue records can now be found.

Miscellaneous

U

1. Dance notation index
2. Index of editions of printed music in the British Library which include a visual representation of the steps of the dances;
3. All countries – ca 1700-ca 1900;
4. Comprehensive;
5. Typescript cards;
6. ca 100;
7. Chronological;
8. Maintained.

V

1. Notation index;
2. Index of items of printed music in the British Library containing examples of unusual notation or experimental forms of notation;
3. All countries – ca 1500- present;
4. Selective;
5. Typescript cards;
6. ca 100;
7. Alphabetical by types of notation;
8. Maintained.

W

1. Subscribers’ lists;
2. Index of subscribers’ lists in editions of printed music in the British Library;
3. All countries, but predominantly British – ca 1700-ca 1900;
4. Comprehensive;
5. Typescript cards;
6. ca 800;
7. Chronological;
8. Maintained.

X

1. Ownership marks;
2. Index of ownership marks other than signatures (eg bookplates, coats of arms, bindings) in printed music in the British Library;
3. All countries – all periods;
4. Selective;
5. Typescript cards;
6. ca 50;
7. Alphabetical by names of owners;
8. Maintained.

Contact

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