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How To Find a Song at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts: Home

This guide will help you get started in your search for that famous or little-known song.

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts has hundreds of thousands of songs within its holdings.

It would be wonderful for our users if all our songs were indexed and findable in a manner of seconds. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

The order and structure of this guide takes you from searching for frequently-requested songs through searching for obscure works. Although the focus of this guide is on printed music, some of the searching techniques are applicable to recordings.  (See the tab Searching the Catalog for Songs.)

Important Reminder

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts holds the printed music to many thousands of songs. Our various collections as outlined in this guide evolved as a way to manage large amounts of music. One should never assume that all of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts's holdings are within any one of these collections.  One must look carefully— sometimes through multiple categoriesto determine whether the Library has a certain item and where it is located.

If you don't find what you're seeking, do not assume the Library does not have the item.  Email us and we will help you with your search.

Copying

The issues and legalities of photocopying are too complex to be considered here. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts has photocopying machines that double as scanners for the benefit of researchers (bring your own thumb drive). Additionally, most cellphones can make reasonable copies of almost anything.

Librarian, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Music Division