Music blog

Music news and views

26 March 2020

Accessing our online Music Collections

Following the closure of our physical sites in London and Boston Spa last week we have put together a list of our online Music collections that can still be accessed remotely on our website for research as well as enjoyment.

Digitised Music Manuscripts

Our digitised music manuscripts can be accessed via the Digitised Manuscripts website. You can search this website by a manuscript’s shelfmark or by keyword, such as a composer’s name. You can also browse this collection by downloading the spreadsheet below which lists all music manuscripts currently available on Digitised Manuscripts.

Download: list of British Library digitised music manuscripts online

The British Library's Digitised Manuscripts website


Digitised Printed Music

Our digitised printed music collections can be accessed via the Explore the British Library catalogue. These consists of scores as well as books digitised as part of collaborative projects, such as Google books, Microsoft Books and Early Music Online. In order to browse content within these collections please use the search terms ‘blgooglebooks’ or ‘blmsd’ or ‘Early Music Online’ using the advanced search option. You can also perform a more specific search within these collections by adding a particular composer or publisher’s name, or other keyword in the search options.

You can also carry out an advanced search for the material you are looking for across our digitised printed music collections by selecting 'Scores' or ‘Books’ in the 'Material Type' field and then limit the results to items that can be viewed online using the 'Online' filter under 'Access options'. Click on ‘Digitised content’ in the ‘I want this’ tab to view the content.

The Google and Microsoft digitised printed music is available for view and download via the Library’s IIIF standard enabled Universal Viewer.

Digitised printed music

Help with accessing digitised Music collections

If you need help with searching our online Music collections our Music Reference Team can be contacted via the Ask the Reference Enquiry Team page; follow the 'Ask the Music Reference Team' link to send them an email. The team is also still able to answer general Music enquiries regarding the use of our online catalogues and reference services.

Highlights from our Music blog

As well as posting new content on our Music blog in the coming weeks we will be selecting highlights of previously published blog posts. Below is a selection of articles relating to our Beethoven collection items. 2020 marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth and the Library is currently preparing an exhibition to mark this anniversary. More details to follow!

Beethoven’s tuning fork

Beethoven’s Violin Concerto op.61

Beethoven’s last laundry list

Last by not least, our online Music exhibition Discovering Music contains 22 articles and over 100 collection items on music topics covering the first half of the 20th century, with new content being added to it at regular intervals.


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