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Call Number Guides

Guides for finding instrumental and vocal music

This research guide contains the Library of Congress classification system (call numbers) for books and scores for individual instruments (bassoon, horn, etc.). Knowing the call numbers will allow you to browse the shelves for scores and books for your instrument. 

How Call Numbers Work

Call numbers begin with a letter which stands for the subject:

  • M = Scores
  • ML = Music Literature
  • MT = Music theory, Music pedagogy, and Music instruction

Next comes a number which stands for a narrower subject:

  • M 23 = Piano sonata scores
  • ML 410 = Composer biographies
  • MT 425 = Horn studies and exercises

This is followed by a decimal point, a letter, and a number which stands for the composer or author:

  • M 23 .M939 = Mozart piano sonatas
  • ML 410 .B853 = A biography of Benjamin Britten
  • MT 425 .G3 = Horn etudes by Gallay

Sometimes these are followed by other letters or numbers such as op., no., or other work number:

  • M 23 .M939 K.310 = Mozart piano sonata, K. 310
  • MT 425 .G3 op.57 = The opus 57 horn etudes by Gallay

Finding the call number on the shelf

Go alphabetically by the subject letter:

  • M 452 .B118 no.4 = String quartet no. 4 by Milton Babbit
  • ML 270 .C36 = A history of French Music
  • MT 801 .B3 = Teaching pieces for banjo

Remember--the numbers after the decimal point are decimals!

  • ML 134 .A56 comes before
  • ML 134.5 .L45


  • ML 410 .L2857 comes before
  • ML 410 .L287 which comes before
  • ML 410 .L3
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