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Resources for music research and for finding materials in Parsons Music Library

Reference Books about the Piano and its Literature


Select "Subject Heading Browse" in the "within" box on the BASIC SEARCH screen

If you simply enter the phrase "piano music," you will get thousands of titles that include books, scores, and recordings. To obtain a more focused result, try choosing words from the following table:

 History of the piano  Piano history
 Piano literature  Piano music analysis, appreciation


 Piano music bibliography


 Piano music history and criticism
 Piano manufacturers  Piano makers
 Piano teaching  Piano instruction and study
 Pianists (in general)  Pianists
 Performance issues  Piano music interpretation

For books about a specific composer or performer, you should choose SUBJECT HEADING BROWSE, and not AUTHOR. Enter the person's name (last name, first name) in the search box. For composers, scan the list of results for headings with the word "piano."

For books about a musical genre like the sonata or the concerto, you may have to try a little harder, since there are relatively few books on specific pianistic genres. Try your genre as a SUBJECT HEADING BROWSE, but make sure that it is in plural form (e.g. Sonatas, not Sonata) and add the word "piano." Add terms like HISTORY AND CRITICISM or ANALYSIS, APPRECIATION to exclude music scores from your results.  The following examples of subject headings can be used as models:

Sonatas (piano) Analysis, appreciation
Concertos (piano) History and criticism

If you have trouble, ask for the book, Music Subject Headings, which is kept behind the circulation desk in the Music Library.

Look out for the subdivision BIBLIOGRAPHY when searching for books about a composer or a genre. This will lead you to book-length bibliographies on your topic.

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Linda Fairtile's picture
Linda Fairtile
Parsons Music Library
Modlin Center for the Arts
University of Richmond, VA 23173
804 287-6849
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