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UBC Music Librarian

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Kevin Madill
Music, Art & Architecture Library
I K Barber Learning Centre
#414 - 1961 East Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1
Phone: 604-827-2197

How to use this guide

The UBC Music Research Guide lists print and electronic resources supporting teaching, learning and research at the UBC School of Music.

Searching for a specific music database? Use the All Music Databases A-Z tab to the left.

Starting your music research? Use the Where to begin your research box below.

Expanding your music research? Use the tabs to the left on this guide for enhanced lists of music databases both subscription and open access.

Visiting and browsing the collection? Use the Browsing the physical collection box below to find print music materials by subject category headings.

For further assistance, please contact Kevin Madill at

I'm here to help.

Where to begin your research



Listed below are several key library music resources I recommend to start your research process.

Browsing the physical collection

Materials in a music library are assigned unique Library of Congress (LC) call numbers and shelved according to call number range. LC call numbers are alpha-numeric. The letter portion includes one or more capital letters to indicate the general subject area. The number portion includes one or more arabic numbers to subdivide the subject area.

The Library of Congress (LC) Classification Outline for Music provides detailed information regarding the general subject area locations of music materials in an academic music library and serves as a helpful guide for browsing physical collections.

Below is an abbreviated version.

Class M, for music, is subdivided into three main sections:
M notated music (scores)
ML literature on music (books about music, such as biographies, histories, discographies, thematic indexes, etc.)
MT musical instruction and study (method books, pedagogical studies and exercises, treatises, books on music theory, etc.)

Class M
M2: Monuments, sources, reprints, etc. 
M3: Complete and collected works of individual composers 
M5-M1450: Instrumental music 

  • M6: one instrument 
  • M20: piano 
  • M40: stringed instruments 
  • M60: wind instruments 
  • M177: duos 
  • M300: trios 
  • M400-900: quartets-nonets 
  • M1000-1075: orchestra
  • M1100-1160: string orchestra 
  • M1200-1270: band

M1495-M2199: vocal music 

  • M1495: collections
  • M1497-M1998: secular 
  • M1500: dramatic 
  • M1530: choral 
  • M1611: one solo voice 
  • M1627-M1853: folk, national, ethnic
  • M1999-M2199: sacred 
  • M1999: collections
  • M2000: oratorios, masses, services, etc. 
  • M2018-2019.5: two or more solo voices
  • M2020-2105.5: choruses
  • M2102-2114.8: one solo voice
  • M2115: hymnals
  • M2147: liturgy and ritual

Class ML

  • ML1-5: periodicals, serials
  • ML13: directories, almanacs, etc. 
  • ML47-54.8: librettos
  • ML55: essays, papers, addresses, etc. 
  • ML93-96.5: manuscript studies 
  • ML100: dictionaries, encyclopedias
  • ML110-11.5: music librarianship 
  • ML134: bibliography by composer (research guides)
  • ML159: history and criticism
  • ML162: by chronological period 
  • ML198: by country 
  • ML410: biographies of composers 
  • ML459: instruments and instrumental music 
  • ML1400: vocal music 
  • ML3544: folk, national, ethnic
  • ML3795: music as a profession, vocational guidance
  • ML3800: philosophical and psychological aspects of music
  • ML3805: physics, acoustics
  • ML3845: aesthetics
  • ML3880: criticism
  • ML3916: social and political aspects of music 

Class MT 

  • MT3: history and criticism of theory
  • MT5.5-7: music theory
  • MT9-15: printed pedagogical aids 
  • MT20-34: systems and methods
  • MT40-67: composition 
  • MT68: improvisation
  • MT70-74: instrumentation and orchestration 
  • MT75: interpretation
  • MT85: conducting, score reading and playing
  • MT90: analysis and appreciation of musical works
  • MT170-810: instrumental techniques 
  • MT820-915: singing and vocal technique