Find Repertoire for Percussion

Find a Known Piece of Music

Check out the Helpful Hints on our main Finding Repertoire page or download the Percussion Handout PDF.

Browse the Shelves for Percussion Music

Solo instruments

Useful call numbers for solo instruments
Call Numbers Description
M 146 timpani, side drum, and similar insturments
M 147 bells, glockenspiel, etc.
M 175 .C35 - castanets
.C44 - celesta
.X6 - xylophone, marimba, vibraphone

Two instruments

Useful call numbers for two instruments
Call Numbers Description
M 284-5 piano and other
.B4 - bells
.C4 - celesta
.C94 - cymbals
.D8 - drums
.G65 - Glockenspiel
.K4 - kettledrum
.P4 - percussion
.X9 - xylophone, marimba, vibraphone
M 298 other combinations of specified instruments

Three instruments

Useful call numbers for three instruments
Call Numbers Description
M 340-4 piano and two other instruments
M 385 other combinations of specified instruments

Four to nine instruments

Useful call numbers for four to nine instruments
Call Numbers Description
M 445-9 piano and four other instruments
M 485 other combinations of specified instruments
M 545-9 piano and five other instruments
M 585 to
M 945-9
M 985
other combinations of specified instruments

Percussion with orchestra or string orchestra

Useful call numbers for percussion with orchestra or string orchestra
Call Numbers Description
M 1038 percussion with orchestra, full score
M 1039 percussion with orchestra, piano reduction
M 1039.4 other instruments, A-Z
M 1138.9 as above with string orchestra
M 1139.4 other instruments, A-Z with string orchestra

Method books, etc.

Useful call numbers for method books, etc.
Call Numbers Description
MT 655-655.8 general
MT 660-660.8 timpani
MT 662-662.8 side drum, small drum, etc.
MT 719- 719.8 xylophone, marimba, vibraphone
MT 801 systems and methods by instrument, A-Z
.D7 drum
.C9 xylophone, marimba

Search by Subject

A SUBJECT search is NOT the same as a KEYWORD search. Library of Congress Subject Headings are assigned by cataloguers. Searching by Subject Headings will retrieve very specific (and often highly-desirable) results. KEYWORD searches will retrieve words from Subject Headings, plus words from a great many other places in the bibliographic record.

WARNING: If, for example, you use the Subject "Percussion Music" you will find miscellaneous solo works only!

Most music will be found under the Subject Heading for a specific genre.

Words or terms from Subject Headings may be used in KEYWORD searching.

Percussion Music Found in the Solo Music Reference Collection

Much unusual and twentieth-century music for percussion instruments may be found in the Solo Music Reference Collection housed in the Choral/Band/Orchestral Music Library. The general classification number for percussion music in the SMRC is MUS 4655.

Jazz and Percussion

Percussion instruments of various kinds have played an important role in the development of the jazz idiom. Some important sources for information on percussion instruments in this idiom include:

The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2 vols.(London: Macmillan, 1988). [Ref ML 102.J3N48 2002]

The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. Refer to the articles on percussion and on specific instruments.

For a broad overview of the development of jazz in the United States, consult the:

New Grove Dictionary of American Music, 8 vols. (New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 2013) [Ref ML 101.U6N48 2013].

Also, check GROVEMUSIC - The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians [online].
Grovemusic provides access to the full text of:

  • The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd. ed., 29 vols., published in 2001 (25 million words; 29,000 articles), plus the complete text of
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Opera (1992),
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 2nd edition, 
  • The Norton Grove Dictionary of Women Composers (1994), 
  • The Grove Dictionary of American Music, 2nd edition (2013), and
  • The Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, 2nd edition (2014)

Long considered to be the premier English-language resource for classical or Western art music, New Grove II contains information on popular music performers and genres, world music, jazz and 20th-century music. Grovemusic contains cross-references, illustrations, bibliographies, biographies, composers' works lists, and links to some sound files.

Additional information can be located by using the SUBJECT index for searching. Some useful headings are:

Percussion in "Non-Western" Music

The percussion articles in the New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments generally explore the history of the instruments, and discuss their use in the music of non-Western cultures.

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians contains a glossary in volume 20 which includes many non-Western instruments and indicates where to find references to them in the Dictionary.

Also, check the percussion articles in GROVEMUSIC The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians [online].

Relevant subject headings include:

  • Drum - for books about the drum, its history, etc.
  • Ethnomusicology - for books about non-western music in general

Suggested Sources for Repertoire Lists

A Subject Search on Percussion Music Bibliographies will search for books which contain lists percussion music - all of these books can be found in the Western Libraries Catalogue, but not all of the music listed in them will be available here - you may need to try RACER, our inter-library loans service for titles at other university libraries.

Periodicals for Percussionists

Western Libraries subscribes to many periodicals of interest to percussionists, including:

Other periodicals of interest to percussionists include:

History of Percussion Instruments and Percussion Music

Books about percussion instruments can be found in the Music Library (or in our storage locations) by searching by this Subject Heading Percussion Instruments.

Reliable and scholarly information about percussion instruments can be found in Western's Music Library, in the following reference sources:

New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians Ref ML 100.G8 2001 - on the Dictionary Table.

GROVEMUSIC - The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians [online] London : Macmillan Reference ; New York : Grove's Dictionaries, [2002]-

New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments Ref ML 102.I5 N48 1984

These encyclopedias contain detailed and scholarly information on the history of percussion, instrument construction, pipercussion playing and percussion repertory. The extensive bibliography lists additional books and articles on the topic. The Music Library has many of the books and articles cited.

Be careful to distinguish between books (titles ALWAYS listed in italics) and periodical articles ("titles ALWAYS listed in quotation marks") as they appear in bibliographies.

Call numbers for books may be found by Browsing by Author or by Title in the library catalogue while call numbers for articles in printed journals may be found by searching for the title of the periodical. Do not try and search by the title of the article in the Western Libraries Catalogue.

Recordings of Percussion Music