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University of York Library
Library Subject Guides

Music (School of Arts & Creative Technologies)

Find resources

Welcome to your online guide to finding resources for Music!

Choosing the right resources

As a School of ACT student, you are expected to find and use high-quality literature. You'll need to use a range of different sources and demonstrate your ability to find good results in order to impress your tutors and to develop your research skills.

This page shows you the best music related resources to use: 


Book shelves in the Library

The Library's collection of music books is a great place to start your research. The books contain useful summaries about what's happening in the field and can help you to establish the key theories and background of your research. As well as books specifically covering your subject, the Library also holds lots of titles to help you develop your study skills.

How to find them

Use YorSearch, the Library catalogue. Some titles will be available as e-books that you can access online from anywhere; look for the View It link in YorSearch.

Each of your modules will have a reading list of suggested books - look for the Resources link on each module site in the VLE.

Most of the books that you need will be located in the John Paynter Music Library, shelved under the class mark LM, although you may also need to look elsewhere.

Click to reveal a list of common shelf marks for Music



Scores are an extremely important primary source for music students. The Library has an extensive print collection located alongside the music books in the John Paynter Music Library. Use Yorsearch to locate the score that you need. 

The collection includes the complete works of over 65 significant composers. Please see the Finding Scores guide for more information on how to use the Complete Works. 

Electronic Scores

The Music Microfiche collection is an amazing resource containing thousands of facsimile images of early music manuscripts. As the name suggests, the images are vastly reduced in size, meaning that you need to use a special machine to read them. The microfiche are housed in the main reading room of the Burton Library and you can search for their exact locations on YorSearch

Once you have located the microfilm reel that you wish to view you need to take it into the Borthwick's microfilm room which can be accessed via their reception, across the landing from the Burton reading room. There are a number of microfiche readers available to use, including two that allow you to save relevant extracts that you find onto a memory stick.

Audio/Film Resources

Image of a girl with headphones

The Library has a fantastic collection of online audio and film resources.

Many of them allow you to create and save your own play lists. Please make sure that you sign out once you are finished to allow other users to access the resource.

Reference Resources

Comprising of dictionaries, encyclopedias as well as a range of historical music sources the list of resources shown here allow immediate access to the full text online.

Music Resources
Historic Resources
General Reference


Journals, sometimes called periodicals, are collections of articles published regularly. Articles contain the most-up-to-date research content and often go into more depth than books. They are a fantastic source of criticism and discussion of issues in practice and research.

Some journals are more academic in focus and contain summaries of research; some are more focused on current professional issues that you might encounter in practice.

Image of the journal

Some important music journals are:


How to find them

If you know the name of the journal you need, you can search for it in YorSearch. Most journals can be accessed online by logging in with your University username and password; look for the View It link. Some will also be available in print in the Library.

In addition to the individual journal titles suggested above the Library subscribes to some full text e-journal collections that you may wish to try:


Shelves and PCs

To start a more detailed search for articles and other research evidence, you'll need to use online databases. These are collections of resources that allow you to search for articles from hundreds of different journals at the same time.


Key databases for Music
Cross disciplinary databases
Other useful databases

You'll find our full range of databases through the E-resources Guide.

Useful Websites

Music Indexes
Free Online Scores