New U of I concert programs and historic sheet music databases

The Music and Performing Arts Library has two great new online resources, the University of Illinois Historic US Sheet Music Collection and the School of Music Concert and Recital Programs Database.

The Historic US Sheet Music Collection is tool that searches for and gives you information about the historic US sheet music MPAL currently holds in our Special Collections. The Concert and Recital Programs Database provides information about performances in the School of Music over the years, as well as gives you a way to search for specific recitals or concerts. Each of these tools describes items in our collections but does not provide digital reproductions of the sheet music or the concert programs.

To access these online tools, simply go to MPAL’s home page and under “MPAL” in the left hand column, click on “Collections”. It will take you to a list of our music, theater, and dance collections. From here you will be able to access the:

University of Illinois Historic US Sheet Music Collection

and the

School of Music Concert and Recital Programs Database

Once you follow one of these links, you will see a screen like this: bibleaves1

In yellow circle, you can see there are different facets you can search by such as author, contributor, or subject term. In this case, contributor means composer.

In the red circle, you can see the collection we are searching. Both collections have a similar layout so it is important to look at the collection to make sure you are searching the correct one.

Also, on the left hand side, below the collection name, there are different facets to help narrow a search, such as format and publication year. Make sure to try those out when searching!

An example entry from the Historic Sheet Music Collection. The entry provides the composer (contributor) along with telling you the format, call number and location. On the right hand side under “tools” you have the option to send yourself this information for easy reference later. To see any of these items, bring the call number to MPAL’s service desk and let them know the item is in the Historic Sheet Music Collection upstairs in Special Collections.


Below is an entry for the Concert and Recital Programs Database. Under “contributor” you can see the composer, along with the performers in the program. Publication date will tell you when the performance took place. Look under “concert program” to see which volume and page the program is in. To see any of the programs in person, come to MPAL and look in our reference collection, where all of the bound programs are arranged by year at call number ML42.U7I3 C66. Lastly, in notes, you can see if the performance was recorded, which is this case it shows it was.


To find more information about School of Music Recordings, see (Pre-1992) or (Post-1992).

If you are not on campus and would like to request a scan of either items in our historic sheet music collection or in the School of Music concert programs collection, please send us an email at .

If you run into any problems or have questions feel free to Ask Us!


Printing from WorldCat

To print out an individual record for an item with the full description from WorldCat, follow these steps. Click on the pictures below to enlarge them.

1. To the right of the title of the individual record you want to print, click on the Sharing and Permalink drop down menu (see image below with orange circle).

2. In the Sharing/Permalink drop down menu, click on Record link (see orange arrow):


This will open a window with a link for the individual record.WCPrint2

3. Paste this URL link into a new browser tab or window. This will open the detailed WorldCat record for that item.

4. Click on the “Description” section of the detailed record (so the detailed information is showing):


5. Finally, once you have the full description displaying, press Ctrl “P” and this will  print the detailed record with the pertinent info: title, author, edition, publisher, ISBN, OCLC Number, etc.


I had never heard about this alternate form of piano notation before coming across a score using it today. Klavarskribo was developed around 1930. You can read more about it in Grove (in Oxford Music Online for U of I patrons) or in Wikipedia (for non-U of I patrons).

Here is a the first page of Beethoven’s fifth symphony arranged for piano by Liszt in regular notation. You can make out the famous theme pretty easily. (Click on images to enlarge.)


Here is the same opening theme, in klavarskribo. Still somewhat recognizable, but I am not so sure how easy it would be to play!


We have about about two dozen klavarskribo scores in our collection and one book about the system.

Remembering Wars Through Music


The Music and Performing Arts Library has a large collection of historic American sheet music, including some digitized Civil War materials and digitized World War I materials. While we do not have all of it digitized, you can search all of our historic sheet music holdings from the collections’ web page.

The Library of Congress has a Civil War Sheet Music Collection and a World War I Sheet Music Collection.

A helpful text on conducting research about music and war is this title:

Music and war : a research and information guide by Ben Arnold, 1993.
Music & Performing Arts Reference [non-circulating]
Call Number: ML128.W2 A76

We have many materials relating to Civil War songs in our collections.

For more information about World War I songs, see also:

World War I sheet music : 9,670 patriotic songs published in the United States, 1914-1920, with more than 600 covers illustrated
by Parker, Bernard S., 2007.
Music & Performing Arts Reference [non-circulating]
Call Number: ML128.W2 P37

World War I songs : a history and dictionary of popular American patriotic tunes, with over 300 complete lyrics by Frederick G. Vogel,1995.
Music & Performing Arts Reference [non-circulating]
Call Number: ML3561.W3 V63

We have many other books, music scores, and recordings in our collections related to music and war. Check them out!

From “Blurred Lines” to “Fair Trade” Music: Developments in Music Copyright and the Music Industry

Whether you actively compose music, perform it, or just simply enjoy listening to it, the recent developments surrounding music copyright and the music industry may be of interest to you.

“Blurred Lines” Case Blurring the Lines for Artists

In early March, a California jury decided that Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke’s song “Blurred Lines” did in fact infringe upon the copyright for the 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up” held by the Marvin Gaye estate. (Not familiar with the case? You can read a brief summary of events and listen to both songs in this article from the Guardian.)

Why does this matter? As students, you are able to exercise certain rights under Fair Use. But as soon as you leave the university, this all changes. You may not study/play/compose popular music, but if you write any kind of music then this case is relevant.

This case is a scary development in music copyright law and many fear it may set a legal precedent that negatively impacts artists’ ability to produce creative works. In order to understand why, we’ll need to take a look at copyright law.

In the United States Constitution, Article I, Section 8, congress is given the power to

Promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

This protection is extended to original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression in the following categories:

  • literary works;
  • musical works, including any accompanying words;
  • dramatic works, including any accompanying music;
  • pantomimes and choreographic works;
  • pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;
  • motion pictures and other audiovisual works;
  • sound recordings; and
  • architectural works.

“Musical works, including any accompanying words” and “sound recordings” are of relevance to any copyright case involving music. In this case, the Gaye estate only holds the copyright for the musical work “Got to Give It Up” and not for the sound recording. There was no infringement upon or sampling from the sound recording you can hear today.

Although it is no longer required to register a work with the copyright office because a work is immediately copyrighted when it is fixed in a tangible medium, in 1977 when Gaye wrote “Got to Give It Up,” registration was required.  Now, what is most likely filed with this registration is the “lead sheet” for the song, or a document that only has the melody, chord progressions, and lyrics. It will not contain the other aspects of the final production, the “feel” and characteristics of that musical style during that time period, that were argued as infringement. Curious what helped sway the jury to make their decision? You can read the musicologist’s full report from the

So why is this verdict scary for artists? Well, it sets a precedent that any work showing influence from another work can be considered copyright infringement. Plus, it questions our understanding of which aspects of music are copyrightable.

U.S. Copyright Office Releases Study “Copyright and the Musical Marketplace”

Back in February, the United States Copyright Office released a 202 page (plus appendices!) report discussing the current music licensing framework and its place in the twenty-first century. The report reviews the current system, identifies its shortcomings, and makes several recommendations that would improve current conditions. Some key highlights from the report include:

“The Copyright Office’s study revealed broad consensus among study participants on four key principles:

  • Music creators should be fairly compensated for their contributions.
  • The licensing process should be more efficient.
  • Market participants should have access to authoritative data to identify and license sound recordings and musical works.
  • Usage and payment information should be transparent and accessible to rightsowners.

“Additional principles that it believes should also guide any process of reform:

  • Government licensing processes should aspire to treat like uses of music alike.
  • Government supervision should enable voluntary transactions while still supporting collective solutions.
  • Ratesetting and enforcement of antitrust laws should be separately managed and addressed.
  • A single, market‐oriented ratesetting standard should apply to all music uses under statutory licenses.

“The Copyright Office believes that any overhaul of our music licensing system should strive to achieve greater consistency in the way it regulates (or does not regulate) analogous platforms and uses.

  • Regulate musical works and sound recordings in a consistent manner.
  • Extend the public performance right in sound recordings to terrestrial radio broadcasts.
  • Fully federalize pre‐1972 sound recordings.
  • Adopt a uniform market‐based ratesetting standard for all government rates.”

The full report can be accessed on the Copyright Office’s website.

There have been a variety of responses to the report, from supporting the copyright overhaul to believing it will do more harm than good. ASCAP President Paul Williams believes the report to be an “important step towards meaningful reform” while the Digital Media Association feels the report “reflects a missed opportunity.” What do you think?

The Fair Play Fair Pay Act

Recently, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Congressman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced a bipartisan legislation called the Fair Play Fair Pay Act. This act would primarily create a terrestrial performance right, ensuring that artists would receive fair pay when their performances are broadcast on AM/FM radio. It would also end the dispute between terrestrial radio stations who do not currently pay performance royalties and the internet and satellite competitors who do pay these royalties. You can read a press release from Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s website for more information and a statement of support from SoundExchange CEO Michael Huppe.

Welcome to our New Blog!

Welcome to the Music & Performing Arts Library’s new blog! Here we’ll share information about news and tools relevant to music, dance, and theatre researchers and performers, as well as information about new items in the collection. We’ll also post about news in the arts world that may be of interest to the Music and Performing Arts Library’s users.

Looking for a previous post? Our old blog is still active and can be found here.

Audio holdings in the British Library Endangered Archives Programme

The British Library Endangered Archives Programme “[aims] to contribute to the preservation of archival material that is in danger of destruction, neglect or physical deterioration world-wide.”

A quick search of the word “audio” brings up these collections which will no doubt be of interest to world music scholars. Not all of these projects have been completed, so not all content is yet available online.

EAP736: Preservation of the music and dance archive at the Music Museum of Nepal (NFMIM)

EAP008: Folk Theatre Tales: Preserving images, sounds and voices of rural Tuscany

EAP088: The Golha radio programmes (Flowers of Persian Song and Poetry)

EAP115: Collection and digitisation of old music in pre-literate Micronesian society

EAP124: Pages of Azerbaijan sound heritage

EAP190: Digitising archival material pertaining to ‘Young India’ label gramophone records

EAP298: Preserving endangered ethnographic audiovisual materials of expressive culture in Peru

EAP468: To preserve Indian recordings on ‘Odeon’ label shellac discs

EAP592: The music of Burma on record

The EAP also offers grants to researchers

Vote on a New MPAL Website!

We’re currently working on a redesign for our library website and we want your feedback! Even though we really want to give the website a visual facelift, we also want it to function and serve the needs of our users (aka you!). Please consider the following questions when looking at our two new mockups:

    • What do you usually use the Music and Performing Arts Library website for? Can you still do this on the mockup?
    • Could you find your way to article resources in your subject area?
    • Is there anything you can’t find your way to in either design?
    • Which mockup do you prefer? Why?

Click the links below to view the two options. (Keep in mind they’re just images created in Paint, so any font/color/alignment issues won’t actually exist in the real thing.)

Version 1

Version 2

Please feel free to shoot us an email at with your feedback! We appreciate you taking the time to do this.

Updates from the Music & Performing Arts Library

We’ve a got a few new things happening at MPAL this semester:


  • Listening rooms 3, 4, and 5 now have upgraded equipment with new speakers, turntables, cassette decks, and CD players. Check it out in the picture to the right, or stop by the Circulation Desk to ask for a key so you can see it in person! (Don’t forget–there are also keyboards in these rooms.)
  • The upstairs service desk is now open from 1-4pm, Mon-Fri. Feel free to check out scores there, ask about the items in our Special Collections, or just say hi!
  • Planning on checking out a show at Krannert this semester? Take a look at our monthly Krannert Library Guides for library resources about the artists, genres, works, and more.
  • We’re now circulating 5 iPads for a one week loan period. Stop by the Circulation Desk to ask about borrowing one! You can also find more information in our previous blog post.
  • Minrva, the library’s Wayfinder/GPS locator tool, now has MPAL capabilities! Use it to help you find that sneaky book or score in the stacks. More information can be found in this blog post.
  • We recently procured a new microfilm/fiche reader and scanner with some pretty cool capabilities. If you run into any issues when using it, please feel free to ask a staff member for help or view the tutorials listed here.
  • There’s a new 8″x11″ scanner on the second floor near the service desk so you don’t have to wait for the ones downstairs! We still have the two 8×11″ scanners and the large format (11″x17″) scanner in the downstairs computer area as well.


New microform reader/scanner

You might have noticed that MPAL got a new microform reader/scanner this semester. If you need help using it, feel free to ask a staff member, or check out these short YouTube tutorial videos from another library.* We have a slightly newer model of scanner, but the instructions should work the same.

How to Use the Microform Reader: Introduction

How to Adjust Images on the Microform Reader

How to Find Your Place on the Microform Reader

How to Print and Save on the Microform Reader
(This one is slightly different than our procedures, as we have a different printing system.)

Happy scanning!

*Thanks Center for Jewish History!