Resources for Song Searches
The Music Department in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh houses an extensive collection of all kinds of songs which can be found in our songbooks, in special sheet music collections, and recorded on music CDs. In some cases, finding these songs can be very simple; sometimes it can require detailed research. Since no single approach is foolproof, a number of different search strategies are listed for finding the scores and recordings of songs.
A librarian will be happy to assist you with any of your questions at the Music Department reference desk.
Using our Online Catalog
Use Advanced Keyword to find a song title:
- Leave the search drop down box as "Any Field"
- Type your song title inside quotation marks, for example "my funny valentine."
- Choose Material Type - Musical Score for the sheet music; Music CD for a recording
- Click Submit
- Click on individual titles in your Results List
If your title is long, or if you’re uncertain about the exact wording of the title, you can shorten the word string within quotation marks. For instance, typing "stairway to paradise" will find "I’ll build a stairway to paradise."
If your song title is a single word, try combining title with the songwriter or performing artist’s name: a search using the words lennon imagine or lennon and imagine (no quotation marks) will find John Lennon’s song "Imagine." A search using if bread will find among its results the song "If" performed by the musical group Bread.
Other Song Searches
If your song search in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh online catalog is unsuccessful, you should continue looking in the following ways:
Search in WorldCat, the online catalog database for thousands of libraries throughout the country and abroad. The techniques used in an Advanced Keyword search of the Carnegie Library catalog will work here as well. You can request material that you find here using an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) form.
To find just song lyrics, you can perform an Internet Search by entering lyrics + song title in the Google or Yahoo! dialogue box.
Music Department Indexes
Song Index Card File
A card file which indexes songs by composer name, lyricist, title, first line and chorus, listing nearly 50,000 songs of all styles. Carnegie Library call numbers are listed in the upper right-hand corner of each title card.
Sheet Music Card File
A composer name and song title card file which lists nearly 10,000 individual pieces of sheet music, and is especially strong in American popular music of the mid-20th Century.
Near the reference desk is a set of books which collectively locate thousands of songs found in the Music Department’s songbooks and anthologies, indexed by title, composer, first line of lyrics, and chorus.
Pittsburgh Sheet Music Collection
A unique collection of over 1000 titles of sheet music published in Pittsburgh or nearby since the early 19th century which is indexed online by composer, title, publisher and date.
Other Online Indexes
Libraries that have especially comprehensive songbook collections with their own web-based indexes include:
Los Angeles Public Library Song Index
Search for songs in books owned by LAPL.
University of Tennessee Knoxville Library
This database provides access to about 50,000 songs in more than 1,500 published song anthologies owned by the George F. DeVine Music Library.
Naxos Music Library Sheet Music
View and download classical and jazz sheet music. Accessible through the Music Department’s database page, this database requires the Freehand Solero Viewer plug-in to download and view sheet music.
A comprehensive library of songs by Schubert and numerous other composers, including many popular classical favorites. This commercial database requires Sibelius Scorch software to download and print sheet music.
Sheet Music Collections
This site directs song seekers to a list of nearly 100 public and academic library music collections throughout the U.S., with links to their online catalogs, their web-based indexes to special sheet music collections and, on some of the sites, digitized images of original sheet music.
Check these websites which are available at the Library or through remote access with a Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh library card:
Digital Recordings of American Music
Only available within the Main Library of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh