Sources of Digital Scores

As we enter the last few days of term and many students will be heading home for the Christmas vacation, now seems a good time to draw attention to a few great sources of digital sheet music that you can access anywhere with an internet connection.

Many of you will doubtless already be keen users of IMSLP, which includes PDFs of nearly half a million scores.



It’s a fantastic source of – primarily – public domain scores (though just note that it’s a Canadian site, so some scores which are in the public domain in Canada are still in copyright in the EU and thus can’t be downloaded here in the UK).



But how many other sources of digital scores are you familiar with?

The Jerwood Library’s subscription to the Music Online package from Alexander Street Press includes nearly 12,000 digital scores. This spans a huge range of repertoire, and – because it’s a subscription resource that Trinity Laban pays for on your behalf – it includes contemporary works that are still in copyright. They are great resource for your assignments and can also be used for rehearsal purposes, but just be aware that the licensing terms of the collection mean these scores can’t be used for public performance. You can search these via the Jerwood Library catalogue by limiting your search to digital scores.

Digital score search


There are also many freely accessible websites that focus on particular composers, genres, repertoire or library collections.

The Choral Public Domain Library currently hosts over 30,000 choral and vocal works and also includes a handy function to search for sacred music categorized by season.

A number of music publishers include perusal scores on their website (in some cases you may have to set up a free account to view them). See for example Music Sales, Faber and Boosey and Hawkes.  It’s also worth noting that the British Music Collection includes perusal scores for works by a large number of British composers, again including many contemporary scores.

Whilst you can’t use perusal scores for performance, they may fulfil just the function you need when writing assignments or selecting repertoire. If you come across something that you think it would be useful for the library to buy, do complete a purchase recommendation form.

Some publishers have made the scholarly editions of particular composers available online. Examples include the Neue-Mozart Ausgabe Online, offering a digitized version of the music and commentary of the entire Barenreiter critical edition, and the Carl Nielsen edition comprising a 32 volume critical edition of Nielsen’s works.

Finally, many libraries undertake digitization projects, often focussing on rare or unique holdings within their collections.

The Full English is a collaborative project between the English Folk Dance and Song Society and a number of library partners resulting in the world’s largest collection of English folk manuscripts.

Gallica is the digital library of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France. It includes a wealth of digital documents, with the music scores subset searchable from this page.

The Library of Congress has also undertaken a huge digitization programme with over 90,000 scores available online. To browse these select notated music

LOCand refine your results to those available online.

Loc refined

All that leaves is for me to wish you:

Merry Christmas


Claude Debussy (1862-1918)

Debussy was undoubtedly one of the most important figures in the music of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. It is unlikely that any of the music of our time would sound quite the same had it not been for the remarkable developments and sheer beauty of his work.

To commemorate the centenary of his death, the Jerwood Library is very proud to present an exhibition of materials relating to this great composer.

The display contains examples from the whole range of physical resources available through the library to anyone interested in learning more about Debussy, including sheet music, scores, facsimiles, collected editions, recordings, books and journal articles. And, of course, one must not forget the vast online resources that are also available to Trinity Laban staff and students through the Jerwood Library, including many other scores, recordings, books and articles.

Debussy display

Part of the display of Debussy materials in the Jerwood Library



Library E-Resources: Naxos Music Library

Although the Jerwood library has over 11,500 CDs on our shelves, that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the recordings that students and staff can access. As part of this ongoing series of blog posts that draw attention to some of our online resources, this week I want to highlight the Naxos Music Library.

I think most people are probably familiar with Naxos as one of the biggest classical music record labels in the world, however people might not be aware that they offer a free streaming service to members of any institution with a subscription. As well as releasing their own Naxos-brand recordings, Naxos are also one of the biggest distributors of independent classical record labels, giving you access to an enormous range of high-quality recordings from the entirety of their classical and jazz collections – 140,000 discs at the last count!

If you’re trying to track down a certain recording, simply discover new music or explore a particular artist’s back catalogue, Naxos Music Library is a fantastic place to turn (and contains plenty of recordings which aren’t on Spotify!).

If you’re on site at Trinity Laban, access Naxos Music Library here
Or if you’re at home, access Naxos Music Library here

The password for Naxos is different from the usual Trinity Laban log-in details and can be found on Moodle here, or via the following pathway:

Moodle > Library links > Jerwood Library Information > Library passwords

New Women Composers Search Limiter

This academic year sees the start of Venus Blazing, in which Trinity Laban will ensure that at least half of the music it chooses for all its major public music performances will be by women composers. The Jerwood Library has introduced the option to limit search results on our catalogue to show works by ‘Women only’, making it easier than ever for students and staff to search for music by women that they may wish to perform as part of this initiative.

Simply select the limiter and then search the catalogue as normal:

We have concentrated on identifying sheet music and scores to help identify repertoire for performance; coverage of recordings is very patchy at present.

A big thanks goes to Dr. Sophie Fuller for assistance in identifying women composers on our database, and Rob Deemer, founder of the Composer Diversity Database, who shared data with us to help automate this process.

It’s a work in progress and if anyone spots sheet music we haven’t labelled with ‘Women composers’ as a subject let us know via and we will make further updates during the year. Similarly, if anyone spots a ‘false positive’ that’s labelled as Women composers incorrectly, send us an email and we will amend this.

A Summer of Sport….in the Jerwood Library


Prompted by the sporting frenzy surrounding England’s unexpected success on the football field in June, overlapping with underwhelming Wimbledon results, and followed shortly by the test cricket season, I wondered whether the Jerwood Library might have material to compliment the sporting theme. A serious five minutes of research on the library catalogue yielded some surprising results, a few of which can be seen in our small display cabinet in the library until the end of the month.

A summer of sport in the Jerwood music library

Searching for the term ‘football’ revealed Charles Ives’ entertaining Yale-Princeton football game (1) subtitled Two halves in two minutes. Ives depicts the crowd’s anticipation, echoes of the Yale long chant (I commend the Youtube video on that topic to enhance your appreciation of the Ives) and a number of other US college songs, the referee’s whistle (piccolo) punctuating events, the crescendo to touchdown, all woven together to depict a particular football game (1897) and over in two minutes. Trinity folks can listen to it here.

Top of the list under ‘tennis’ is Ping! For string quartet, 4 table tennis players and film by Joe Cutler (2). A collaboration between Joe Cutler, the Coull String Quartet and members of the Fusion table tennis club, this audience-friendly piece explores and blends the distinct sounds and rhythms of table tennis with those of the string quartet and requires virtuoso performances from both the string quartet and the table tennis players. It is great fun to watch. First performed March in 2012 at the Warwick Arts Centre, it was also filmed in the foyer of the QEH on 14 July 2012. There is a recording on Naxos and the filmed QEH performance is on YouTube here – well worth a watch.

A more general search under ‘sport’ led to an unexpectedly comic source.  J. Frederic Bridge’s 1918 book A Westminster pilgrim: being a record of service in church, cathedral, and abbey, […] (3) might not seem the obvious place to find amusing sporting reference, however, he does write entertainingly of a cricket match he organised between members of his choir, including a description of his own disastrous batting performance, and the on-going usefulness of that game to what nowadays might be called ‘team building’ in his choir. Besides the cricket match, the book has amusing observations on the perennial problem of encouraging older choir members to retire when their voices begin to deteriorate.

The ‘Sport’ search also returned the score of Paul Ayres Loughborough cantata (4), one of the sizeable list of works composed to celebrate the 2012 London Olympic Games. This three-part piece ranges in mood and style, and won Loughborough University 2012 Composition competition. The brief included the requirement to include a ‘sports anthem’ song .

Developing talent in young people, edited by Benjamin Bloom (5) is an example of the growing corpus of books held here at the Jerwood library which draw parallels between the training needs of sports people and musicians. This volume has chapters on learning to be a concert pianist, alongside similar ones covering diverse subjects including Olympic swimming, tennis and neurology. Andrew Horrall’s Popular culture in London, c. 1890-1918 (6) earned its place in the display cabinet mainly for the boxing illustration on the front cover!

Of the twelve hits on the search term ‘cricket’, the volume of 2 plays by playwright, Roy Williams justified its display place partly for the title: The no boys cricket club (6) , and partly as a reminder that the library holds a small, select collection of play scripts. The no boys cricket club is set on a London council estate and the lead character, Abi, recalls her glorious past in Jamaica as the greatest all-rounder of the No boys cricket club. Incidentally, Williams won the first (1997) Alfred Fagon Award, and, in 1999, both the John Whiting Award for best new play and the EMMA Award for Starstruck, (the other play in this volume) as well as having a distinguished list of performed work and other awards to his name.

Finally Clive Aslet’s book, The story of Greenwich (7) includes a charming illustration of a 1760s handkerchief depicting ‘holiday gambols’ in Greenwich Park – lots of people running up and down the hill and a musician playing pipe and tabor – bringing the whole subject closer to home here at the Jerwood Library.

(1) The Orchestral music of Charles Ives: premieres and new Ives Society critical editions. Koch International. [CD] Shelved at: ORCHESTRAL: IVE
Here’s the link for Trinity Laban staff and students to the online recording:

(2) Cutler, Joe. Ping! For string quartet, 4 table tennis players and film. [Unpublished, c2012]. Shelved at: 782.99 CUT
Members of Trinity Laban can listen here

(3) J. Frederick Bridge, 1844-1924. A Westminster pilgrim : being a record of service in church, cathedral, and abbey, college, university and concert-room, with a few notes on sport. London: Novello & Co. : Hutchinson & Co., 1918. Shelved at: 784.6 BRI.

(4) Ayres, Paul. Loughborough cantata: for choir SATB and piano. [unpublished?], 2011. Shelved at: 780.43 AYR

(5) Developing talent in young people / edited by Benjamin S. Bloom. New York: Ballantine Books, 1985. Shelved at: 150 DEV

(6) Horrall, Andrew. Popular culture in London, c. 1890-1918: the transformation of entertainment. Manchester University Press, 2001. Shelved at: 941 HOR

(7) Williams, Roy, 1968-. Starstruck [and] The no boys cricket club. London : Methuen, 1999 Shelved at: 822 WIL.

(8) Aslet, Clive. The story of Greenwich. London: Fourth Estate, 1999. Shelved at: 941 : 1999

Celebrating Florence Price

Image of Florence Price

By The New York Times courtesy of University of Arkansas Libraries Special Collections [CC BY-SA 4.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Trinity Laban recently announced the Venus Blazing initiative, which aims to increase the representation of women composers in large-scale public performance programming to 50% during the 2018/19 season. Following on from our recent feature on Ethel Smyth and the Suffragette movement, this month’s small exhibition cabinet showcases another female composer, Florence Price (1887-1953).

Born into an African-American family in Little Rock, Arkansas, Florence Price studied at the New England Conservatory in Boston, then from the 1920s onwards lived in Chicago. Price holds the distinction of being “the first black American woman to have an orchestral work performed by a major American orchestra”[1], following the performance of her Symphony in E minor by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933. (please note: links to recordings and articles in this blog post will allow TL students and staff direct access when on site only)

As well as orchestral works, Price wrote piano and organ music, solo songs and choral works. In addition to her classical composition training, Price’s musical style often draws inspiration from the spirituals and juba dance rhythms of her African-American heritage[2]. Price also wrote music for radio adverts, under the pseudonym Vee Jay[3].

Online and audiovisual resources
Venus Blazing logo

As well as the printed music items currently on display, there is plenty more information about Florence Price to be found in Trinity Laban’s online resource collections. Florence Price’s entry in Grove Music Online is an excellent place to start for biographical information and a list of her compositions. Price is featured in several of the online reference works on Alexander Street Press, and you can also find further references to journal articles and dissertations via QuickSearch.

If you would like to listen to some of Florence Price’s music there are many recordings available on our audiovisual streaming platforms – for example this recording of the celebrated Song to the Dark Virgin on Naxos, or this recording of the Violin concertos via Alexander Street Press.


[1] Brown, Rae Linda, ‘Price [Smith], Florence Bea(trice)’ in Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, <> (accessed May 15, 2018)

[2] Brown, Rae Linda. ‘William Grant Still, Florence Price, and William Dawson: Echoes of the Harlem Renaissance’, in Black music in the Harlem renaissance: a collection of essays, ed. Floyd, Samuel A. Jr. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1990. 71– 86.

[3] Walker-Hill, Helen. Piano music by black women composers: a catalog of solo and ensemble works. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992.



From the Library of Julian Bream – An Exhibition of his Scores and Manuscripts

We are delighted to have added to our special collections the personal music library of guitarist Julian Bream. The scores in the collection reflect every aspect of his long career as one of the world’s greatest guitar players, and many items contain an abundance of markings from his performances and recordings of the pieces.

photo by S.Hurok (public domain)

Bream’s tireless work in expanding the guitar’s repertoire is reflected in both original manuscript copies of his arrangements, as well as copies of works specially-commissioned by Bream from leading twentieth-century composers, including Benjamin Britten, Peter Maxwell-Davies, Lennox Berkeley and Hans Werner Henze, among others.


Bream’s Life & Legacy

It’s hard to overstate Julian Bream’s contribution to the classical guitar. Through his long career of performances, recordings and arrangements, it seems fair to say that no-one since Andrés Segovia has done so much to increase both the reputation and the repertoire of the classical guitar. As Graham Wade puts it:

“Bream’s stature as one of the greatest masters of the guitar has been established for many years. The deep intensity of his playing, the sheer beauty of his tone control, and his profound empathy with a great range of music, have enabled him to achieve a radical extension of the guitar repertory and to reach the widest possible audience for half a century.”[1]

Some of Bream’s arrangements on display

Something that makes Bream’s achievements all the more remarkable is that his guitar technique was ‘home-made’, as he puts it. After initial lessons with his father, he did later attend the Royal College of Music with a full scholarship, but he did so as a student of cello and piano, as guitar wasn’t taught at the college at the time. Beginning with a debut at the Wigmore hall in 1950, Bream soon began to play a significant part in changing the status of the guitar with recitals throughout Britain, followed by European, then North and South American concert tours in subsequent years.

It was around the time of Bream’s first guitar recitals that he also picked up the lute and, as Diana Poulton remarks in her book John Dowland, as early as 1951, ‘astonished everyone with the brilliance of his musicianship and his complete technical mastery of the lute’.[2] Again, as with the guitar, his achievements are all the more exceptional in light of his position as a self-taught pioneer of the instrument:

”When I began playing the lute, in 1950, there were not too many lutenists around. I had to work hard, writing out music in museums and libraries. […] And I had just picked up the lute, adapted my guitar technique to it and went from there.”[3]

A few years later, in 1959, he formed the Julian Bream Consort, a period-instrument ensemble with Bream as lutenist. The group was initially put together simply in order to play Morley’s First Book of Consort Lessons, but their subsequent success did a lot to stimulate the popularity of early consort music in general.

Another important element in Bream’s career is his extensive back catalogue of recordings. His prolific recording output covers the whole spectrum of repertoire for guitar and lute, including his large catalogue of iconic RCA recordings, television masterclasses and his ‘¡Guitarra!’ documentary, wherein he explored the whole history of the vihuela and guitar in Spain, playing specially-commissioned historic instruments for the project.

Expanding the Repertoire

Julian Bream commissioned, performed and recorded works by some of the twentieth-century’s leading composers. On display from the Jerwood Library’s new collection are pieces from Peter Maxwell-Davies, Stephen Dodgson, Reginald Smith-Brindle, Joaquín Rodrigo and Benjamin Britten, all containing gracious notes and dedications to the guitarist. Other well-known composers that Bream inspired to write for the guitar include Malcolm Arnold (Guitar Concerto, Fantasy), Michael Tippett (The Blue Guitar), Leo Brouwer (Concerto elegiaco, Sonata), Lennox Berkeley (Guitar Concerto, Sonatina, Theme and Variations), Richard Rodney Bennett (Guitar Concerto, Impromptus, Sonata), Alan Rawsthorne (Elegy) and William Walton (Five Bagatelles).[4] Bream’s efforts in this area made great strides in expanding the horizons of the twentieth-century guitar beyond its previous limits as an almost exclusively Spanish art form—as it was in the hands of older composers like Pujol, Torroba, Mompou & Rodrigo—to a more eclectic range of international styles and approaches.

Bream’s copy of the final page of Britten’s Nocturnal

In particular, Benjamin Britten’s Nocturnal After John Dowland, op.70—written for and premiered by Bream—is widely considered to be a crowning jewel of the twentieth-century guitar repertoire.  The Nocturnal takes the form of an unorthodox set of theme and variations, with each of the work’s eight movements coming gradually closer to Dowland’s Come, Heavy Sleep from his First Book of Songs, which is eventually quoted in full at the conclusion of the work. Included in the collection is Bream’s 2nd working copy of the piece, with many interesting differences in fingering from the original published copy.

A selection of Bream’s hand-written transcriptions of works by Weiss, Tárrega and Cimarosa

As well as commissioning new work, Bream made great strides in increasing the breadth and depth of the music available for guitar through his work as an editor and arranger. Included in the exhibition are a selection of the guitarist’s own handwritten arrangements of pieces for the solo guitar, including works by Tárrega, Weiss, Cimarosa, Albéniz and Granados. His recordings and performances of pieces like these went a long way to establishing many of them as staples of the guitar repertoire.

For anyone interested in learning more about Julian Bream’s fascinating career, an excellent place to start is the feature-length DVD ‘Julian Bream: My Life in Music‘ (available in the library at the DVD class-mark PER: BRE).

Accessing the Collection

The collection is held in closed access, but specific items of interest can be retrieved by library staff. The contents are currently being catalogued to item level on the Jerwood Library catalogue and may be browsed by choosing ‘Julian Bream Collection’ from the ‘Source’ option. Items of particular interest can also be browsed via the collection handlist. Viewing specific items in person during library opening hours is by appointment via

[1] Peter Sensier and Graham Wade, ‘Bream, Julian’ in Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online, <> (accessed 26/4/18)

[2] Diana Poulton. John Dowland (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982),447

[3] Allan Kozinn, ‘Julian Bream Sets off in  New (Old) Direction’, The New York Times Online (accessed 19/4/18)Ibid.

[4] Peter Sensier and Graham Wade, ‘Bream, Julian’ in Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online, <> (accessed 26/4/18)

Jerwood Library Who’s Who: Marion Harris

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role in the Jerwood Library

Photograph of Marion HarrisI studied Music at the University of Birmingham, and began my library career in 2011 as a Graduate Trainee at the University of Essex. I have since held positions at the University of Reading and Goldsmiths College, and joined Trinity Laban in February 2018, which makes me the newest staff member! I have an MSc(Econ) in Information and Library Studies, which I completed by distance learning with Aberystwyth University between 2012-2015.

I am one of the Jerwood Library’s two “Cataloguing, Enquiries and Acquisitions” Librarians, alongside my colleague Helen Mason.

What is a typical day at work like for you?

No two days are ever the same, but in general my work splits into 3 areas.

Cataloguing is a form of behind-the-scenes library work that involves writing descriptions of all the items in the library so that our students and staff can look them up on the online catalogue. In the last couple of months I have been focusing on cataloguing a big donation of horn and brass ensemble music. There is more information about what library cataloguing involves in my colleague Helen’s blog post from a couple of years ago.

Enquiries, obviously enough, is the time I spend answering questions from our library users, either in person at the desk or in writing via email or the online chat service. Enquiries can cover absolutely anything from a simple “do you have this piece of music in stock?”, to a more complex question about whether a piece is in copyright, or an extended archives query about someone who studied at Trinity in the 1920s which means digging through the old registers in our reserve stack room.

Acquisitions means purchasing new stock for the library. Certain staff members are responsible for purchasing different types of resources; my area of responsibility is for printed music requests. So if there is a score you would like the library to purchase, you can collect a Purchase recommendation form from the issue desk or download it from Moodle and I will do my best to order it for you (remember to get the form signed by your teacher first!). Some examples of music requests I have ordered recently are scores by Nicola LeFanu, Mel Bonis, Wolfgang Rihm and Eric Ewazen.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

After working for several years in university libraries more generally, I am enjoying working in a specialist music library where I can use my subject knowledge. Another interesting part of working in a small library is that there is lots of variety – because we are such a small team, I may be called upon do to anything from binding scores for a composition deadline to searching for photographs in the special collections.

Are there any hidden or little-known aspects of your work you’d like to share?

A lot of the work library staff do is hidden, as most of our users only see us when we are working at the issue desk or reshelving books. However, there is a whole range of behind-the-scenes work we do in the library office to keep things running smoothly. In my case, cataloguing is a classic example of “hidden” work as there is a lot of detail needed to keep the online catalogue running effectively. As well as obvious things like the title and author/composer, there are many other small details we record such as the date and place of publication, number of pages and parts, size and format of ensemble, and any identification numbers such as an ISBN or ISMN. We also include descriptions called “subject headings” which tell you more about the genre and contents of the item, so that when you are searching the catalogue you can hyperlink between related items.

Acquisitions also involves a lot of work behind the scenes. When I receive students’ purchase request forms I have to ensure I buy the correct version of the piece, for example it may need to be a specific edition or a particular format, such as miniature score or score + parts. I also need to consider which companies to buy music from, based on who can supply the item quickest or at the best price.

Finally, could you tell us something people may not know about you?

When I am not working in the library, one of my favourite things to do is choral singing. I am a member of an early music ensemble called The Iken Scholars.

Shout out to Musical Theatre students

As you’re all getting ready to head off home for some well-deserved rest and recuperation following your end of term performances, what better time to draw your attention to some recent collection building we’ve undertaken specifically to support your study when you’re away from KCC (whether that be at home, at Laurie Grove or on the bus to your next audition!)

In order to browse ebooks relating to musical theatre, go to the Jerwood Library catalogue, type musicals$ in the subject field and select E-book from the drop-down menu in the type field.

You can access these anywhere you have an internet connection, so whether it be a beautiful mornin’ or an enchanted evening, why not catch up with some holiday reading between those loverly Easter eggs!

Deeds not words: from Ethel Smyth to Venus Blazing

Library display case titled Deeds not Words showing items relating to Ethel Smyth, suffragettes and Venus Blazing at Trinity Laban

We’re nearly at the end of Women’s History Month, and our current display highlights the history of women in the UK who fought for the right to vote over 100 years ago, finally winning a partial victory in 1918. The display, ‘Deeds not Words’, highlights Ethel Smyth, a renowned composer born in Sidcup, southeast London, who put her burgeoning musical career on hold for two years to join the suffragettes’ struggle for the vote.

John Singer Sargent Dame Ethel Smyth

Ethel Smyth by John Singer Sargent [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ethel Smyth’s suffragette activism led to a sentence of two months’ imprisonment for breaking a window. One day she memorably conducted her rousing The March of the Women anthem for the movement from her cell window brandishing a toothbrush as a baton: sadly no photo exists, so in our display we have settled for an image of Smyth supporting her dear friend Emmeline Pankhurst when the police came to arrest her outside Smyth’s home.

Smyth showed an early appetite for direct action, going on ‘strike’ as a teenager when her father refused permission to study at the Leipzig Conservatory, eventually confining herself to her room and refusing to attend meals or social occasions until her father relented.[1]

Her persistence paid off with a long and successful career as a composer, conductor and broadcaster which TL students and staff can read about in Ethel Smyth’s entry in Grove Online, penned by none other than Dr Sophie Fuller, Programme Leader of Trinity Laban’s Masters programmes![2]


We’re delighted that the motto ‘Deeds not Words’ rings true to this day amongst many people and organisations working towards equality. Trinity Laban’s Venus Blazing initiative for 2018/19 is an example of taking action: at least half (by duration) of the works in TL’s large-scale performances will be by women composers. The name comes from a violin concerto by TL composer Deirdre Gribbin which can be listened to via the library’s listening station.

The library has recently purchased a number of works by women to develop our collection – thanks to a generous financial donation from former Trinity Laban Board member Esther Cavett – a number of which are on display on the new items shelves in the library.

Four shelves showing items purchased by the Jerwood Library to support Venus Blazing

As the Jerwood Library’s systems librarian, I’ve been working on improvements to our catalogue to make these works easier to track down and these are close to fruition: watch this space…

[1] Bexley Civic Society article on Ethel Smyth. 23 Mar. 2018.

[2] Fuller, Sophie. “Smyth, Dame Ethel.” Grove Music Online. 23 Mar. 2018.