Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Music Scores and Recordings

Author: Laura Thompson Last updated 07-27-2023

Purpose or Scope of Collection

A. Curricular, research, programmatic needs

The music collection consists of scores and recordings in all formats. The term “music” will be used consistently to indicate both printed and recorded material, unless otherwise stated.

The music collection exists to support the College of Music curriculum, primarily, and secondarily, to support the needs of all other users. It contains music appropriate to study, instruction, performance, and research in a broad range of fields within music. Undergraduate degrees (B.M.) are offered in composition and theory, music education, music performance, jazz studies, and combinations thereof; a B.A. degree is granted to liberal arts majors with a strong emphasis in music. Masters’ degrees (M.M. or M.A.) are offered in music performance, music education, music theory, composition, musicology, piano pedagogy, jazz studies, and conducting. The D.M.A. is granted for musical performance, conducting, composition, and collaborative piano and a PhD is granted for music education.

The collection must provide resources sufficient to meet the majority of music faculty and student needs. Thus, a broad range of materials at varying levels must be maintained. In keeping with the College of Music curriculum, most library resources focus on Western art music traditions, jazz, and world music.

To meet the needs of the College of Music, the collection contains music for the entire range of single instruments, ensembles of varying sizes, larger ensembles such as band, orchestra and string orchestra, operas, sacred and secular vocal music, choral music, historical sets, and complete works of various composers. Various formats are required: scores and parts for chamber music, full and vocal scores for operas, oratorios, musicals, and other large vocal works, and full or miniature scores (without parts) for larger instrumental ensembles. Multiple editions of standard works, both scores and recordings, are collected when possible. Multiple copies may also be needed in some circumstances.

Users outside the College of Music include area professionals, faculty and students from other MSU colleges and departments, faculty and students from other Michigan institutions, and residents of Michigan. ILL borrowers from a wide range of institutions are also supported.

B. History of the collection/existing strengths and emphases

The College of Music became an official department of Michigan State in 1926, although it was founded in 1919. The library was loosely organized until an unofficial librarian was appointed in the 1950s. The first formally trained librarian was appointed in the late 1950s.  Funding inadequacies, especially for recordings, severely hampered the collection until about the mid-1980s, when the Libraries allocated funding for recordings and increased overall budgets. The collection has grown faster since about 1980 than in the previous years combined.  With the elevation of the Department/School of Music to college status in 2007, the Libraries' support was again increased, to the enthusiasm of the College faculty.

The collection is strong in secular vocal music, vocal scores of operas, woodwind quintets, early music, and contemporary music. Symphonic scores and piano literature are extensive. Purchase of new repertoire in one or more editions is critical to maintaining the collection. Purchase of new copies and/or editions of existing repertoire is constantly required to reflect scholarly developments, replace worn or missing copies, and provide choices of editor and publisher. Recordings by more than one performer or ensemble are needed for standard repertoire, when available.

Weaknesses in the collection were historically most notable in the collected editions and historical sets, primarily in the works of the 19th Century (although, in some cases, these complete works were not yet available). Collected editions and sets are the most expensive portions of the collection, and are usually on standing order. New publishing ventures are started for different composers each year; older sets are revised with new scholarship. The complete works and monuments sets should continue to expand. Another weak area was the collection of chamber music parts; changes in binding have eliminated many of those problems, and the collection has been built significantly.

Facsimile editions, although expensive, are scores of vital importance for scholarly pursuits. Additional facsimiles have been and continue to be purchased. These, as well as complete works, are essential for doctoral students and faculty in particular.

Additional jazz and ethnomusicological resources will continue to be added. Printed European folk music is adequate but newer resources are of increasing importance. Additional printed folk and Indigenous music and recordings for all cultures will be an increasing priority.

Streamed and online resources have become important, with the addition of Met Opera on Demand, Alexander Street Press, and Naxos streaming audio and video recordings. Databases of digitized manuscript or printed music will also continue to be added as necessary.