Finding Repertoire for Piano

Find a Known Piece of Music

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

Browsing the Shelves for Music

Useful call numbers for browsing on the shelf:
Call Numbers Description
M 20-32 original music for the piano
M 22 collections by one composer
M 23 sonatas by one composer
M 27 theme and variations, one composer
M 200-213 one piano, three or more hands
M 214-216 two or more pianos
M 1010 piano concertos, etc. - full scores
M 1011 piano with piano reduction of orchestral part
M 1110 piano with string orchestra, concertos, etc.
M 1111 piano + pno. reduction of the string orchestra score
MT 220-258 studies, methods, technique, etc.

To learn more about the Library of Congress classification system for Music, see this handy guide from Yale University: Keyboard (harpsichord, piano, organ, etc.) music

Search by Subject

A SUBJECT search is NOT the same as a KEYWORD search. Library of Congress Subject Headings are assigned by cataloguers. Words or terms from Subject Headings are searched during a KEYWORD search, however a Subject Search will retrieve more "specific" results.

Most music will be found under the subject heading for a specific genre:

WARNING: If you use the subject "piano music" you will find miscellaneous solo works only!

Piano Music Found in Collections

Collected Sets, Complete Works, anthologies, monumenta and Denkmäler, etc.

Examples are the important collections Le Trésor des pianistes (23 vols.) and The London Pianoforte School 1766-1860 (20 vols.). For access to this significant body of literature consult the Music Library's printed handout "Collected Sets, Complete Works, etc."

The contents of many publishers' series are listed in this reference work:

Fuszek, Rita M. Piano Music in Collections: An Index. Detroit: Information Coordinators, 1982. [Ref ML 128.P3 F87]

This work should be used in conjunction with Heyer or The New Grove, as it does not list contents of collected sets, etc.

Piano Music Found in the Solo Music Reference Collection

Much unusual and twentieth-century music for the piano may be found in the Solo Music Reference Collection housed in the Choral/Band/Orchestral Music Library. The general classification number for piano music in the SMRC is MUS 4020.

Ensembles Using the Piano

For information on this topic, consult the handout Piano Ensembles.

Finding Music for Harpsichord

For harpsichord and other keyboard music, follow the techniques described above.

Suggested Sources for Repertoire Lists


Also, the following reference guide is helpful in identifying appropriate Canadian repertoire for the piano:

Canadian Music Centre. Catalogue of Canadian Keyboard Music=Catalogue de Musique Canadienne à Clavier. Toronto: CMC, 1971- . [Ref ML 128.P3 C26 + suppl.]

Lists Canadian works for piano, harpsichord, and organ on deposit at the CMC, which are available for loan or purchase.

Periodicals for Pianists

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

History of the Piano and Piano Music

A Subject search will retrieve all books owned by Western Libraries on the topic of the history of the piano:

Piano History

 These encyclopedias are another great place to begin your explorations into the history of the Piano - be sure to check the bibliography at the end of the article about the piano:

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

and/or GROVEMUSIC ONLINE. For Western-affiliated users only.
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)

Grovemusic contains cross-references, illustrations, bibliographies, biographies, composers' works lists, and links to some sound files.

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

These encyclopedias contain detailed and scholarly information on the history of the piano, piano construction, piano playing and piano repertory. The extensive bibliography lists additional books and articles on the topic. Western Libraries 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 searching by Author or by Title in the catalogue while call numbers for articles may be found by searching for the title of the periodical. Do not try searching by the title of the article in the Western Libraries Catalogue.

Other valuable sources include:

Palmieri, Robert. Piano Information Guide: An Aid to Research. Music Research and Information Guides, 10. New York: Garland Publishing, 1989. [Ref ML 128.P3P34 1989]

The Vienna Urtext Guide to Piano Literature. Valley Forge, Pa.: European American Music Corp., 1995. [Ref ML 700.U53 1995]

Recommended for all piano teachers and serious piano students, this contains in-depth discussions of sources, critical sources, historical background, indexes of musical incipits (by composer) and suggestions for interpretation for those piano works published in urtext by Schott and Universal Editions.

Gordon, Stewart. A History of Keyboard Literature: Music for the Piano and its Forerunners. New York: Schirmer Books, 1996. [ML 700.G65 1996]

A survey of keyboard music from Renaissance to modern times, with a portion of the final chapter devoted to Canadian composers. Discusses composers' outputs, styles, influences and places them in context with their contemporaries. Includes references to women composers and a chapter on 20th-century Spanish, Portuguese and Latin keyboard music. Required reading for students and teachers alike, and great value.

Pollens, Stewart. The Early Pianoforte. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. [ML 655.P65 1994]

This is the first comprehensive historical and technological study of the pianoforte based on important primary source material.' For pianists with an interest in fortepiano and/or harpsichord, this title is well worth investigating.

Performance Practice

The New Grove Dictionary (either edition, print, or GROVEMUSIC ONLINE) article on "Performing Practice" is a great place to begin; browsing the shelves at ML 457 is also recommended. The following are several books of interest to keyboard players:

Rowland, David. A History of Pianoforte Pedalling. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,1993. [MT 227.R72 1993]

Examines the history of pedalling technique and describes the transition from harpsichord and clavichord to the piano. Includes documentary accounts of early pedalling, and translations of three chapters on pedalling from piano tutors by Milchmeyer (1797), Adam (1804) and Steibelt (1809). Also includes a chapter on 'Mozart and his contemporaries.

Witten, David, ed. Nineteenth-century Piano Music: Essays in Performance and Analysis. New York: Garland, 1997. [ML 706.N58 1997]

Contains essays about the piano works of Beethoven, Hensel, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Schubert, Liszt and Brahms.

Komlós, Katalin. Fortepianos and their Music: Germany, Austria, and England, 1760-1800. Oxford: Clarendon, 1995. [ML 720.3.K66 1995]

Examines the instruments, the solo repertory and its dissemination, and the performers of the period. Contemporary accounts of performances are included, as are discussions of several contemporary methods and treatises on keyboard teaching and performance.

Hudson, Richard. Stolen Time : The History of Tempo Rubato. Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1994. [ML 437.H83 1994]

Traces the development of tempo rubato from its beginnings (1723) to the present day, with explanations of the earlier' (pre-1723) and 'later' (romantic) styles of the device. Modern rubato is discussed with reference to Bartok, Orff, and Copland, and with reference to American popular music and jazz. Chapter five is devoted to tempo rubato in keyboard music. Contains bibliography, discography and an index. Highly recommended for performers and teachers alike.

Recordings of Piano Music