A comprehensive collection of books on music, scores and periodicals, capable of supporting most aspects of music studies with material from the 15th century to the present.

It covers primarily the music of Europe and the Americas (North and South) from earliest times to the present with smaller sections on the music of Africa and Asia, ethnomusicology, popular music and various forms of dance.

The scores collection is especially strong in collected editions and historical sets in addition to the substantial holdings of individual loanable works.

The collection as a whole is also noted for its strong foreign language component, particularly French, German, Italian and Spanish.


  • The Music Library is located in two separate sections on the 4th floor. The scores and folio size books are located in the Middlesex South Reading Room. Regular size books are located in the Goldsmiths’ Reading Room, 4th floor.
  • Rapid Reference materials (including Grove’s and language dictionaries), large books (indicated by the prefix ‘f’ or ‘folio’) and music scores are located in the Middlesex South Reading Room, 4th floor. The music scores continue in the Gallery and are followed by Miniature scores.

Print periodicals

  • Recent issues of periodicals are on display in the Periodicals Room (North Reading Room), 4th floor.
  • Most back issues of periodicals and some monographs are shelved in the stacks. These will display the location Stack Service. Please request these through the Catalogue using the Fetch Service. Music journals may be searched using the keyword musicjl [broken link].

Finding articles

You can search multiple journals at once using electronic resources such as JSTOR, Academic Search Complete,  International Index of Performing Arts (IIPA), or the International Index to Music Periodicals.


The Music Collection is complimented by a range of Databases. Researchers should begin with the two key bibliographic resources for music research: RILM and RIPM. For a more complete list view the list of Music databases.

Related collections

  • Special Collections: the Littleton collection of early printed music and treatises on music, the Sir George Elvey collection, the Tudor Church Music collection and the George collection of piano music. Special Collections also holds significant music Archives.
  • Reference works: dictionaries, encyclopaedias and guides shelved in the reference section, Periodicals Room (North Reading Room), 4th floor.

Audio Recordings

The Library has over 12,000 LP sound recordings covering all periods of music. Please contact the Music Librarian for more information.

Other notes

Some facsimiles and older editions on the catalogue say ‘Music Library Locked Cupboard’ or ‘Music Library Office.’ Please contact the Music Librarian to consult these.

Detail of Philip Glass playing – image credit

Subject librarian

Andrea Meyer Ludowisy