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A Guide to Music Resources

Guide for all aspects of music research and study.

Music Collection Development Policy

Washington University in St. Louis Collection Development Policy

Library / Subject / Collection: Music

Date revised: March 25, 2014

  1. General purpose
    To be the music collection for the entire campus community.

Specifically, to support instruction and research up through the doctoral and faculty research in musicology and music theory in the Music Department and to support of instruction and research up through the master’s level for keyboard studies.

  1. Subjects excluded
    Areas not taught in the Music Department include music therapy and music education.
  2. Overlap with other collections or subjects
    There is little overlap with other collections or subjects other than some vernacular materials in the Islamic Studies and East Asian Studies collections.
  3. Languages included and excluded
    No languages are specifically excluded provided a current faculty member or student has that language facility.  However, there is a predominance of Western European languages with special emphasis on German because of the historical significance of German in musicology.  In the main, basic materials and materials intended to support undergraduate course work are English language materials.
  4. Geographical limitations
    There are no set geographical limitations in regard to requests or specific projects, but the focus of the collection is on the US and major European music traditions.
  5. Chronological limits
  6. Retrospective acquisition
    Retrospective acquisitions are required for some types of research and study.  Often the only available materials (books, scores and sound recordings) are older/rare materials and will be considered for purchase.
  7. Types of material collected and excluded
    All types of relevant materials in all formats will be considered with preference given to currently available/accessible formats.

Outdated formats are collected selectively and as a last resort.

  1. Other factors to consider

Monuments:  The core of the collection is the so-called “monuments” collections which include composer collected works and sets dedicated to a particular theme.  These scores are typically produced with accompanying scholarly apparatuses that make them more authoritative than scores produced for performance alone.

“Urtext” performance scores:  The scores that are of the highest value among the performance scores are those that attempt to use the most significant sources (composer’s manuscripts, corrected publisher proofs, etc.) in creating the edition.

Repertoire performance scores:  These scores are used heavily by those students taking lessons and are not considered as permanent additions to the collection but are expected to be replaced over the years as they become worn.  It is usually better to purchase replacement copies of these score rather than repairing/rebinding, etc.

Teaching performance scores:  Method books are used by those learning or mastering an instrument.  These scores also include works by lesser known composers whose work is appropriate for student performance.

Sound recordings:  With the subscription of online audio service such as Naxos, we have had the opportunity to rethink how sound recordings are collected.  Sound recordings are added to the collection mostly on an “as requested” basis.  CDs are purchased to support teaching and research.  Only those LPs with the highest level of significance for teaching and research (and not available in other formats) will be added.

Video recordings:  At this point, DVDs are collected much like sound recordings above with the caveat that we currently do not have an online equivalent for music online videos (operas, musicals, ethnographic, jazz and classical performances).