Music library

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Music library, Leipzig, 1985

A music library contains music-related materials for patron use. Collections may also include non-print materials, such as digitized music scores or audio recordings. Use of such materials may be limited to specific patron groups, especially in private academic institutions. Music library print collections include dictionaries and encyclopedias, indexes and directories, printed music, music serials, bibliographies, and other music literature.


Traditionally, there are four types of music libraries:

  1. Those developed to support departments of music in university or college settings;
  2. Those developed to support conservatories and schools of music;
  3. Those housed within public libraries;
  4. Those developed as independent libraries or archives supporting music organizations.

Musical instrument library[edit]

A musical instrument library lends or shares musical instruments. Examples can be found in Canada;[1][2] Perth, Australia;[3] and Massachusetts,[4][5][6] Illinois,[7] Ohio,[8] Washington[9] and New Paltz, New York[10] in the United States. Such libraries producing diapason is varying from orchestral instruments to ethno.

With the development of the media industry (film production, production of computer games, advertising), musical works created using digital technologies have become especially in demand. Such a genre of musical composition as trailer music was born - music for film advertising (trailer, teaser). A similar genre is characterized by the use of various audio effects libraries and musical instruments. Over the past decade, a galaxy of digital musical instrument library companies has grown. Among the companies, such giants as Spitfire, Cinesamples, Heavyocity, Soundiron, Native Instruments etc. Some are focused on reproducing the sounds of the instruments of the classical orchestra in digital format, others on creating libraries of traditional folk instruments. Famous such libraries as of Arabic instruments, Turkish, Iranian, Indian, Japanese and others. The companies are focused on the production of digital instrument libraries, which are almost as good as the living ones in sound quality. Digitalization of musical instruments is a historical process that takes place in technogenic civilizations.[11]

Other uses[edit]

  • Production music libraries license their copyrighted music for use in film, television, and radio productions.
  • Performance libraries serve performing music groups, particularly large orchestras, by acquiring, preparing, and maintaining music for performance.
  • Digital music libraries and archives preserve recordings and digitized scores or literature in a variety of electronic formats. Many music libraries dedicate part of their duties to digitizing parts of their collection and maintaining digital files. Digital preservation requires specific procedures to avoid decay, obsolescence, and loss. Digital materials may be part of a larger, physical collection, or may compose an entirely electronic collection not physically accessible (usually housed on a network or on the Internet). Access may be limited as a fee-based service, a private service to specific user groups (such as students at a conservatory), or freely accessible to the public.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Joe's M.I.L.L." Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Archived from the original on 30 December 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  2. ^ "Toronto Public Library creates city's 1st musical instrument lending program", CBC, 7 April 2016
  3. ^ "Instrument Lenders Canada Archived 2013-06-11 at the Wayback Machine ... an instrument lending library, situated in Perth County, which supplies instruments mainly to youth at no cost for up to 6 months." Perth County Social Research and Planning Council (2007), Voices of Youth
  4. ^ "The Musary, a Hamilton-based nonprofit "lending library" of musical instruments." James Sullivan (15 Dec 2011), "Sharing the music: in honor of a late Hamilton resident, lending library brings instruments to students at the Beverly School for the Deaf", Boston Globe
  5. ^ The South Shore Folk Music Club of Kingston, Massachusetts, maintains an instrument lending library. Judith Montminy (27 Sep 1998), "For club, it's been 20 years strumming", Boston Globe
  6. ^ Sheffield Bushnell-Sage Library. Ukulele. Massachusetts: CW/MARS. Retrieved Oct 14, 2012.
  7. ^ "Oddmusic Instrumentarium". Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, US. 2010-03-21. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  8. ^ "Guitar Lending Collection at Licking County Library", Library as Incubator Project, USA, December 2014
  9. ^ Seelye, Katharine Q. (March 7, 2014), "Breaking Out of the Library Mold, in Boston and Beyond", New York Times, retrieved March 8, 2014
  10. ^ Ward, Terence P. (8 September 2016). "Music for the masses: The New Paltz instrument library". Hudson Valley One. Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  11. ^ Khandamian, Victor (2021). "Building a Library of Samples (Kontakt) of The Uzbek Traditional Dutar". Eurasian Music Science Journal. 1: 45–52. doi:10.52847/EAMSJ/vol_2021_issue_1/53. S2CID 235681856.
  12. ^ Jeffrey Schnapp; Matthew Battles (2014). Library Beyond the Book. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-72503-4.

Further reading[edit]

  • Anderson, Gillian B. "Putting the Experience of the World at the Nation's Command: Music at the Library of Congress, 1800-1917", Journal of the American Musicological Society, vol. 42 (1989), no. 1, p. [108]-149.
  • Brown, James Duff (1893), Guide to the formation of a music library, London: Sipkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., OL 14010621M
  • Bibliothèque nationale (France), Département de la Phonothèque nationale et de l'Audiovisuel = The National [Sound] Record[ings] and Audiovisual Department of the National Library [of France]. [Paris]: Bibliothèque nationale, [1986]. 9 p.
  • International Association of Music Libraries. Bibliothèques d'établissement d'enseignement musical: Répertoire européen = Libraries in Music Teaching Institution[s]: European Directory. [S.l.]: International Association of Music Libraries, 1994. N.B.: Title and some of the text also in German. Without ISBN
  • Langridge, Derek. Your Jazz Collection. London: C. Bingley, 1970. N.B.: Concerns both library and private jazz music collections. SBN 85157-100-X
  • Lewis, Larry, ed. Union List of Music Periodicals in Canadian Libraries. Second ed. Ottawa, Ont.: Canadian Association of Music Libraries, 1981. N.B.: The title and introd. are also in French.
  • McColvin, Lionel, and Harold Reeves. Music Libraries. Original ed. by Lionel Roy McColvin and Harold Reeves; completely re-written, rev., and extended by Jack Dove, in series, Grafton Book[s]. London: A. Deutsch, 1965. 2 vol. N.B.: Vol. 1 is a study of such libraries and of music librarianship; vol. 2 is a bibliog. of music literature published from 1957 to 1965.
  • Music Library Association. Committee on Musical Instrument Collections. A Survey of Musical Instrument Collections in the United States and Canada, conducted by a committee of the Music Library Association, William Lichtenwanger, chairman & compiler; ed. and produced by James W. Pruitt. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Music Library Association, 1974. xi, 137 p. ISBN 0-914954-00-8
  • Music Library Association. New England Chapter. Directory of Music Libraries and Collections in New England. 9th ed. Providence, R.I.: The Chapter, 1994. Lacks ISBN or ISSN.

External links[edit]