Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Music Scores and Recordings

Factors Influencing Collection Policy

A. Anticipated Future Trends

The Music collection will continue to be the most significant collection of music in central Michigan and is one of the most approachable for patrons outside the University.

Enrollment in the College of Music continues to increase, as does the number of faculty. Meeting the needs of our primary constituents is vital; needs of other users are considered as they fit the collection policies.

The Community Music School has been extremely successful. Although the students are often too young to use our collections, the CMS faculty seeks appropriate teaching material, and many of the students will become library users in the future.

The music collection became more visible with its move to the Main Library in 1994. It grew in visibility again in 2019, when the Fine Arts--Music Library was split, and a new separate Music Library was established, where the music collections are now primarily housed. This has not affected collection development policies; however, the management of the unit and its components has changed.

Western art music traditions are historical strengths of the College of Music and the Music Library. In addition, art music traditions outside Western Europe and North America are increasingly studied (for example, the music of the Orthodox Church or Chinese classical music) and continue to require resources.

Ethnomusicology and jazz are areas of emphasis as majors within the College of Music. In addition, ethnomusicological and world music emphases are being incorporated into standard music classes. Both areas will continue to require resources.

Musicals and excerpts of musicals are collected at a fairly high level, especially given the number of popular, jazz, and theater majors interested in show tunes and ballads. Film music is increasingly collected as it continues to grow as an area of scholarly research.

Since current popular music, such as rap, hip hop, rock, etc., continues to grow as an area of scholarly research, it is increasingly collected. The wider availability of more popular artists and genres through commercial publishers and platforms makes it less of a priority where sound recordings are concerned.

All instrumental majors are required to participate in at least one chamber group each year. These, plus the major “standing” faculty and student groups and the “ad hoc” groups which students form on their own, put heavy pressure on the chamber music collection. Constant replacement of parts is necessary, as is expansion of the repertoire. Scores and parts, where available, are acquired for most chamber music up to 9 individual parts. The collection will not include individual parts for ensembles above 9 parts.

Programs in graduate choral, band and orchestral conducting are extremely strong, and will continue to require both new and replacement scores and recordings.

Listening equipment has been upgraded and will continue to need periodic repair and replacement.  The number of listening stations and headphones has been reduced although the equipment is still used. The rise of commercial streaming services has meant some reduction in use of physical recordings but these still have an important role to play for students, faculty and community users alike.

Records are generally no longer actively purchased, except where the content is difficult to obtain otherwise or where the format is a central part of the work itself. The many donations of records from patrons have added thousands of titles to our holdings. Though streaming platforms provide online access to many recordings, CDs are still actively purchased, especially where the work(s) would otherwise be difficult to obtain.

Faculty involvement is important. Faculty and student requests in alignment with collection development policies are honored, if the material is in print. Also, asking two or three faculty members per year to provide a list of repertoire has proven successful in expanding the practical teaching and performance collections.

The Music Manuscript Collection will continue to solicit and accept new donations, particularly from individuals associated with MSU in past or present. Minimal preservation and cataloging will be done as the items are accepted; University Archives and Historical Collections is now housing the Music Manuscript Collections, but close contact is maintained for indexing the collections and assisting with their use. 

B. Relationship with Other Resources

    • On-campus or Format Collections
      • Music literature
      • Art book and journal collections
      • Special Collections (scores of rare works, manuscripts, Gospel songbooks, popular music; MSU Archives and Historical Collections: for MSU-related composers’ works and archives)
      • College of Music departmental collections (band, orchestra, choral, jazz) - these are not available to the general public
    • Regional
      • University of Michigan (scores, recordings)
      • Detroit Public Library (popular music, choral octavos)
      • Local public libraries (recorded popular music in particular)
      • CIC, CRL member institutions (primarily scores, as few circulate recordings through ILL; some digitized recordings available)
      • Other Michigan college and university libraries (primarily scores or in-house listening)
      • Library of Michigan (some scores but not a large collection)
    • Other policy statements
      • Music literature
      • Digital/Vincent Voice Library 
      • Special Collections
      • Area selectors
      • Subject selectors in art, psychology, theology, performance medicine, performing arts, languages