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Score Call Numbers in the Music Library: Complete Works

How to read M call numbers, M call number browsing, class M outline, and guides for specific genres of music
Last Updated: Oct 2, 2019 3:13 PM

Composers' Collected and Complete Works

The Music Library collects sets of complete works by individual composers. These are collected in addition to the individual works or themed collections in the circulating collection. Complete works editions published as such are shelved in class M05, alphabetically by composer. In a few cases, composers’ collected works are part of historical series, anthologies, or monuments of music (Denkmäler). These are shelved in class M01, arranged by regional focus.

The intent of each complete works edition is usually publication of all of a composer’s works, but not all editions are truly complete. Some were never completed by the publisher, and some are in progress. Some sets include facsimiles or extensive annotations, or even a separate series dedicated to critical commentary and editorial notes. Others are simply collections without explanatory material. It is very important to consider time of publication, faithfulness to a composer’s manuscript, editorial reputability, accompanying notes, and publisher when evaluating which edition suits your purposes.

How are complete works in M05 organized?

The arrangement of volumes varies by edition, even for the same composer. They can be chronological or thematic, and can be published out of sequence. Some editions have published indexes shelved with the sets. Some recent publications such as the Neue Bach-Ausgabe offer an online index through publishers’ websites.

How can I find a specific work? Individual works within a complete works edition in M05 are not usually listed in the Libraries’ Catalog record. If you can’t tell from looking at the contents in the record, you will need to consult the set’s index, the composer’s thematic catalog, or other index or source in order to find out which volume the work is in. The indexes by Heyer and Hill located in the Music Reference section can be used to find individual works within complete works sets and historical series. If you are browsing the shelves, sometimes titles of individual works are printed on the spines.

Can I check them out?

The complete works editions in Reference Scores (M01 and M05) do not circulate. In many cases the library has a different, circulating edition for performance or study, or can assist with interlibrary loan of a circulating edition. Please ask a librarian if you have any questions.

Complete Works Online

Composers with complete works editions online

  • Bach, J.S. Bach Gesellschaft edition (Bach-Gesellschaft Ausgabe; Bach-Gesellschaft, Breitkopf & Hartel). Via IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library.
  • Handel, G.F. Georg Friedrich Händel’s Werke (Chrysander’s Handel Edition). Via IMSLP Petrucci Music Library, George Frideric Handel: Ausgabe der Deutschen Händelgesellschaft.
  • Handel, G.F. Handel edition (Georg Friedrich Händel’s Werke). Digitized by the Münchener Digitalisierungszentrum (MDZ), Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek (Munich Digitization Center of the Bavarian State Library), Georg Friedrich Händel's Werke.
  • Mendelssohn. Rietz Mendelssohn edition (Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdys Werke). Münchener Digitalisierungszentrum (MDZ), Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek (Munich Digitization Center of the Bavarian State Library)
  • Mozart, W.A. The Neue Mozart-Ausgabe (Bärenreiter). Digital Mozart edition, a project of the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum and The Packard Humanities Institute.

More Information

Charles, Sydney Robinson, et. al. The New Grove and Grove Music Online entries, “Editions, historical,” contain listing of composers with complete works, and other collected editions.

Sampsel, Laurie J. “Indexes to Music in Complete Works Editions, Musical Monuments, Historical Series, and Anthologies.” In Music Research: A Handbook, 82-96. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.


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