The Music Collection supports the study of popular music because popular music is studied by scholars just as any other style.  This means that many popular songs are also available in sheet music editions (“scores”) for recreational or self-study. 

The following are some terms you can use as keywords to help you find what you need in CardCat .  Use “and” to include these types of scores or “not” to exclude them:

  • “Scores, musical:”  when using Advanced Search, this is the format for all printed music
  • “Vocal score” is the descriptive term for any sheet music for voice with piano.  The chords for a guitar are often included.
  • “Anthology” is a collection of songs, usually on a theme.
  • “Excerpts” are songs from a larger work, grouped together.
  • “Original keys” use the exact pitches used on hit recordings by major stars, such as Mariah Carey or Diana Krall.
  • “Fake books” have only the melody and chord symbols for guitar or piano improvisation.
  • Arrangements are indicated by “arr.” in CardCat listings. 

“Author” in CardCat can be a singer, songwriter, bandleader, or lyricist.

“Title” searches for individual songs or titles of songbooks.  It may accidentally return records for  anthologies or songbooks with similar song titles.  Click on “details” then use “Find” in your browser to verify an exact match for your song.

Subject searching usually works only for retrieving whole songbooks devoted to one subject, such as “Bride’s Guide to Wedding Music,” which has the subject heading “Wedding Music.”  If you need assistance finding songs on a theme, there are many resources to help you identify individual songs to search.  Feel free to ask for assistance.

CDs of accompaniment parts come with many songbooks.  A popular series of songbooks with CD is the Hal Leonard Pro Vocal series.  To find these, add “compact” as a keyword to your search.

See the subject guide for Popular Music for more guidance.

Ball State’s Music Librarian, Amy Edmonds, offers one-on-one research consultations in person or by e-mail.  Please contact her if you need assistance.

For assistance in locating scores, recordings, or books, contact Music Collection staff at 765-785-8188, or the music librarian at 765-285-5065.