Online notated music collections

Welcoming our new students in a predominantly online environment in October was quite an unusual and for many also an unsettling experience.

Now that we are entering a new stage of COVID-19 lockdown MusiCB3 will briefly reflect on how our gradual paradigm shift towards online music resources has become more important than ever. 

Cambridge University Libraries contains many brilliant music collections. Content and formats are continuously developing. This is not only reflected in our collection development policies, but also in the way we make our collections available to our users.

Reading Lists Online for example provides an easy way to find set reading for taught courses. Music students however, in addition to core texts also need access to a wide range of musical repertoire supporting various courses. In this blog we will give you a few pointers to resources for notated music in a digital environment. 

Many music students will already be familiar with some of the freely available resources.  Everyone will at some point have used IMSLP, the Petrucci Music Library of public domain music.  For music studies at Cambridge this remains a useful resource, but students also need to look further and study more recent music editions and more recent repertoire that has not yet entered the public domain. 

This is where our three online subscription packages to notated music come in.

Babelscores Online Library offers access to contemporary music through online scores and recordings. The guided tour will help you find your way around the resource. Babelscores offers a “contact the composer” button enabling you to ask composers questions. The subscription includes a limited printing allocation. Access is available to anyone with a Raven password. Links can be found on the Music LibGuide and A-Z Databases

Nkoda is an app based library of sheet music, scores and parts offering access to editions  from well known music publishers. Content includes hire only materials. In order to get started you need to download the app and sign up using your University of Cambridge email address. Step-by-step instructions are available. There is a limit on simultaneous users. Although the app does not offer printing, you can make, save and share online annotations. 

RRIMO offers access to the seven Recent Researches in Music series published since 2018 as well as the legacy collection. The latter will be built over time so some earlier editions may not yet be included in the online package. Cambridge University Library has made the transition from print to online over the summer. Later in the year online titles from RRIMO will become discoverable through iDiscover. For now, you can follow the link from our Music LibGuide or the A-Z Databases and browse the collections. From the home page you can select a series and then browse titles. This will lead you to the downloadable publications in pdf format.

Going back to the world of freely available resources, there is no one-stop point to access digitized notated music. RISM is an excellent starting point for finding primary resources for early manuscripts and early printed editions. Other initiatives worth mentioning are Digital Resources for Musicology and the List of Online Digital Musical Document Libraries.

If you have any questions, you can always contact a member of the music team. Now that it’s rather difficult to wander in to our libraries for in person enquiries we are available for online one to one chats. At the time of writing, bookable services at the University Library and Pendlebury Library continue to be available.



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2 Responses to Online notated music collections

  1. Pingback: Read, annotate & share scores online – nkoda digital sheet music comes to Cambridge University – ejournals@cambridge

  2. Pingback: Exploring online music resources | MusiCB3 Blog

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