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Music: Books

Music Subject Headings

Music – M, ML and MT

By Location:

  • Music – China
  • Music – France
  • And so forth...

By Time Period:

  • Music - 16th century
  • Music - 17th century
  • And so forth…

By Location and Time Period:

  • Music – China - To 500
  • Music – France - 500-1400
  • And so forth…

Can narrow further:

  • Music – History and criticism
  • Music – China – History and criticism
  • Music – China – 500-1400 – History and criticism

 Music by type:

            Choral music, Christmas music, Instrumental music, Jazz, Opera, Vocal music, etc.

Composers –

  • ML390 (Biography: Collective)
  • ML410 (Biography: Individual)
  • Or by name

Conductors (Music) –

  • ML401 (Biography: Collective)
  • ML422 (Biography: Individual)
  • Or by name

Instruments – SEE Musical Instruments, or individual instruments - Flute, Violine, Piano, Guitar, etc.

Instrumentalists – ML395 (Collective biography)

See also individual instruments – Guitarists, Harpists, Stringed instrument players, Wind instrument players, etc.


Commonly Used Subject Headings

Music – African American influences

Music – African influences

Music – Bibliography – ML112.8-ML158.8

Music – Chronology – ML161

Music – Competitions – ML75.5 – ML76

Music – Dictionaries – ML199-ML109

Music - Discography – ML156

Music – Fake books

Music – Handbooks, manuals, etc.

Music – History and Criticism – ML159-ML3799

Music – Instruction and study – MT

Music – Interpretation (Phrasing, dynamics, etc.)

Music – Memorization – MT82

Music – Origin – ML3800

Music – Performance – ML457

Music - Philosophy and aesthetics – ML3800-ML3923

Music – Physiological effects – ML3820-ML3822

Music – Psychological effects – ML3830-ML3838

Music – Religious aspects

Music – Religious aspects - Baptists

Music - Religious aspects – Christianity

Music - Terminology – ML108

Music and language – ML3849

Music and literature - ML3849

Music and technology

Music and youth

Music appreciation

Music by women composers

Music festivals – ML35-ML38

Music in Christian education

Music in churches – ML3001

Music in the Bible – ML166

Music in universities and colleges – ML63

            MT18 (Instruction)

Music rehearsals

Music teachers

Music theater – NOTE: theater, NOT theatre

Music theory

Music therapy – ML3919-ML3920

Musical accompaniment

            MT68 (Instruction)

            MT190 (Organ)

            MT239 (Piano)

Musical analysis – MT90-MT146

Musical criticism –

 ML3785 (Journalism)

            ML3880-ML39167 (Criticism)

Musical form -

ML448 (History)

            MT58-MT64 (Compositions)

Musical instruments –

ML459-ML1093 (History)

ML462 (Collections, descriptive catalogs, exhibitions)

MT170-MT895 (Instruction)

Also use:

            Names of instruments – Piano, Violin, etc.

            Categories of instruments – Keyboard, Percussion instruments, Stringed instruments, etc.

            Instruments by country – Musical instruments – China

            Instruments by Time Period and Geography

Musical instruments, Ancient

Musical instruments, Ancient – Greece

Musical instruments, Prehistoric

Musical intervals and scales –

            ML3809 (Intervals: Acoustics and physics)

            ML3812 (Scales: Acoustics and physics)

            MT45 (Instruction)

Musical meter and rhythm

            ML437 (History)

            ML3813 (Acoustics)

            ML3832 (Psychology)

            ML3850 (Aesthetics)

            ML42 (Instruction)

Musical notation

            ML431 (History)

            ML432 (Reform)

            MT35 (Instruction)

Musical pitch 0 ML3807-ML3809)

Musical theater

Musical theater – Production and direction – MT955

Musicals – M1500-M1508

Musicals – History and criticism – ML2054

Musicals – Production and direction – MT955

Musicals – Stage guides - MT955

Musicals – Stories, plots, etc.

Musicians – ML385-ML429

Also use:

Types of musicians – Blues musicians, Church musicians, Composers, Gospel musicians, Jazz musicians, Women musicians. Etc.

Musicians by country

            Musicians – United States, Musicians - Cuba, Musicians - China

Musicians by ethnicity, such as Musicians, Black and Musicians, Celtic

Musicology – ML

Pianists –

ML397 (Collective biography)

            ML417 (individual biography)


Piano – Fingering – MT232

Piano – History - ML649.8-ML747

Piano – Instruction and study– MT220-MT255

Piano – Methods – MT222

Piano - Pedaling – MT227

Piano – Performance – ML7900-ML742

Piano – Studies and exercises – MT225-MT240

Piano music – M20-M39

Piano music – History and interpretation – ML700-ML749

Piano music (Blues) – M20-M32)

Piano music (Boogie woogie) - M20-M32

Piano music (Jazz)- M20-M32

Piano music (Ragtime) – M20-M32

Score-reading and playing

Sight reading (Music)

Singers –

            ML400 (Biography: Collective)

            ML420 (biography: Individual)

May narrow by type of singer: Baritones, Basses, Contraltos, Folk singers, Jazz singers, Male singers, Mezzo-sopranos, Sopranos, Tenors, Women singers, etc.

Singing –

            ML1460  (History)

            MT820-MT915 (Instruction)

SEE ALSO types of singing – (Bel canto, Coral singing, Ensemble singing, etc.)

Singing - Auditions

Singing – Breathing exercises

Singing – Diction – MT883

Singing – Instruction and study – MT820-MT893

Singing – Interpretation (Phrasing, dynamics, etc.) - MT892

Singing – Methods – MT825-MT850

Singing – Religious aspects

Singers Opera

            ML1700-ML2110 (History and criticism)

            ML3858 (Aesthetics)

Operas – History and criticism

Opera – Biography

Songbooks – M1977.C5

Songs – Used for Arias, Art songs, and Lieder

Types of songs –

            Ballads, Children’s songs, Folk songs, Jazz Vocals, Love songs, Lullabies, National songs, Sacred songs, Sola cantatas, Sonatas, Vocalizes, etc.)

Songs – Accompaniments

Songs – History and criticism -

            ML2500-ML2862 (History)

            L3875 (Aesthetics)

Songs – United States

Songs, Arabic

Songs, English

Songs, French

Songs (Low voice)

Songs (High voice)

Songs (Medium voice)

Sources on Books

1. If you want a physical book, start with OneSearch. Select Thrift Library Catalog. Conduct your search. This does not guarantee you will find books instead of eBooks since OneSearch calls them both "books" but it will greatly increase your odds. 

Notice in this example the presence of a Call  Number. Only physical books have call numbers. 


2.If you cannot find a suitable physical book using the Thrift Library Catalog limiter, you can switch to the PASCAL Delivers limiter. This allows you to search the 12 million books found in the catalogs of all of South Carolina's college libraries. You can then borrow these books via the PASCAL Delivers service.


 3.  WorldCat - The WorldCat search engine contains 1.5 billion titles and covers 10,000 libraries worldwide. It contains citations to books, ebooks, videos, music and music scores, dissertations, and even some articles. No full text is available, only citations! You can create an account in WorldCat, if you wish, by setting up a user name and password. but you do not have to have one to conduct searches. However, account holders can create and name lists, share lists, print lists, view other people's lists, and compose notes to describe your lists. Also, WorldCat generates citations in APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA, and Turabian styles. You can also sign up for a RSS feed

You can borrow the titles you find in WorldCat through Interlibrary Loan. Most loans arrive within 7 days and can be kept 2 to 3 weeks.

Subject Guide

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Fred Guyette
Thrift Library
Anderson University
316 Boulevard
Anderson, SC 29621

Browsing the Shelves


Library of Congress System – The Library of Congress System arranges books (as well as scores and audio visuals) on the shelf according to subject. Music materials are stored in the M’s. There are three main categories.

     M –Scores

     ML – Literature on music

     MT – Musical Instruction and Study

These main categories are then divided into major and minor topics.


     MT 1-960 Instruction and study

     MT 1  General works

     MT 2.5  Music study abroad

     MT 3-5  History

     MT 5.5-7  Music theory

     MT 9-15  Printed pedagogical aids

     MT 9  Examinations, exercises, etc.

     MT 10  Teachers’ and supervisors’

You can browse for materials on a like topic by starting with the appropriate Library of Congress number.

  • Scores are found in the M’s.
  • Biographies of composers are found in ML 410, and are arranged alphabetically by composer.
  • Criticisms are found in MT 2 - MT 5, but can be included in Dictionaries and Encyclopedias (ML 100- 110), History and Criticism (ML 159-189) and specific forms of music.
  • Check the indexes of books. Even if the book is not about your topic, it might have a chapter or portion of a chapter on it.
  • Most scholarly books have extensive bibliographies, either at the end of the book or at the end of each chapter.
  • Most scholarly articles have extensive bibliographies.