The British Library has a world-famous collection of printed and manuscript music, music recordings, concert programmes and books and periodicals on music.

Collection guides

  • John Taverner, Mass 'The western wynde'Add. 17803, ff. 23v-24r

    Music manuscripts and archives

    We hold a wonderful collection of manuscripts dating from the middle ages to the present day
  • Afton Water part 04

    Printed music

    Material published in every European country, from the beginnings of music printing to the present day
  • pop record

    Music recordings

    Our vast collection includes commercial discs, tapes of radio broadcasts, and rare or unpublished recordings
  • Metropolitan Opera House

    Classical music recordings

    Recordings in the western concert tradition, opera, liturgical music, and the pre-Baroque repertories of Western Europe
  • Nathan King

    Pop music recordings

    We hold one of the most wide-ranging collections of popular music in the world
  • Albert Steward (fiddle) and unidentified accordionist with other Stewart family members.

    World and traditional music collection

    We hold one of the world's largest collections of recordings variously described as traditional, folk or world music
Reading Room  Paul Grundy

Rare Books and Music

  • Find information on the shelves
  • Access online databases and electronic journals
  • Order collection items to the Reading Room via our catalogues

You’ll need a Reader Pass

Mon 10.00 – 20.00
Tue – Thu 09.30 – 20.00
Fri – Sat 09.30 – 17.00
Sun & English Public Holidays closed

Opening hours for all Reading Rooms

We offer a series of workshops to help you make the best use of the Library's collections.

For enquiries, please contact the Reference Service

Blog posts

Book Now! Nottingham @BL_Labs Roadshow event - Wed 3 Feb (12.30pm-4pm)

28 January 2016

Do you live in or near Nottingham and are available on Wednesday 3 Feb between 1230 - 1600? Come along to the FREE UK @BL_Labs Roadshow event at GameCity and The National Video Game Arcade, Nottingham (we have some places...

Come to our first @BL_Labs Roadshow event at #citylis London Mon 1 Feb (5pm-7.30pm)

27 January 2016

Labs Roadshow at #citylis London, Mon 1 Feb (5pm-7.30pm) Live in or near North-East London and are available on Monday 1 Feb between 1700 - 1930? Come along to the first FREE UK Labs Roadshow event of 2016 (we have...

The @BL_Labs Roadshow (2016)

25 January 2016

Do you want to learn more about the digital collections the British Library has? Discover how others have used them in creative and surprising ways? Talk to Library staff and understand some of the challenges of how you might use...

BL Labs Competition and Awards for 2016

22 January 2016

Today the Labs team is launching the fourth annual Competition and Awards for 2016. Please help us spread the word by tweeting, re-blogging and telling anyone who might be interested about it! British Library Labs Competition 2016 The annual Competition...

More blog posts

Shop

Sanctus: Music for Contemplation (audio CD)

Sanctus: Music for Contemplation (audio CD)

Haunting and evocative words and music that bring us echoes from the world of the monks of Lindisfarne, the Saxon monastery on Holy Island off Northumbria, with early English church music and Northumbrian pipes.

£12.50

Music for London (audio CD)

Music for London (audio CD)

A musical tour of London, with an atmospheric piece of music for each major site. The CD provides a fine reminder of a great city, from band music for changing the guard to Lloyd Webber in theatre land, and from soaring church music to popular songs from the East End.

£12.50

Music for book lovers

Music for Book Lovers

These works are interspersed with characterful pieces which reflect a quiet mood or a scene from nature.

£12.50