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Music Library collections


General information

The Music Library's prime responsibility is to provide information services for the School of Music. It focuses on music research materials and houses a wide selection of books, journals and scores as well as CDs and DVDs. The music reference collection includes dictionaries, encyclopaedias, research guides, catalogues of special collections, and composer bio-bibliographies. There are also several facsimiles and collected edition score series of important academic interest.

Location and collections

The Music Library at Aberdare Hall is located on the ground floor of the Library Wing, Aberdare Hall, Corbett Road. The Library also holds materials within the Music Building ("Music Store") and Cardiff University's Ian Hall Research Reserve ("Store").

Using the Library

Please carry your University ID card at all times when visiting the Library. You will also need it whenever you borrow items. You are responsible for all materials issued on your card so do not lend it to anyone else. Please keep your card safe and let us know at once if you lose it. Find out more about using the libraries.

Finding information

Use LibrarySearch (Cardiff University's online library catalogue) to:

  • Locate items in any of Cardiff University's libraries plus over 20 other NHS Trust /Postgraduate Centre Libraries across Wales
  • Check whether items are on loan
  • Place reservations on items which are on loan
  • Renew the loan for items you have borrowed
  • Monitor due dates, reservations and fines
  • Save item records to your e-Shelf
  • Save searches and create alerts
  • Add publically visible tags and reviews to items records

You can access LibrarySearch from the library computers or from any computer/mobile device with internet access. 


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Music Library resources


All items in the Library have been assigned a classification number (classmark) and are arranged on the shelves in that order. Please be advised that most classmarks used in libraries around the world make use of decimals, which means that an item with the numbers 1.127 will be filed before 1.13.


Books are arranged on the shelves according to subject, and the classmark on each book reflects this. Items with classmarks beginning in ML (L = Literature) generally contain biographies (ML410), histories and other musicological topics, and can be found on the rolling shelves. Items with classmarks beginning MT (T = Theory/Technique) are more technically orientated and can be found in the Memorial Reading Room in the glass cabinets on the right-hand side.

School of Music PhD theses from the past five years, MT and ML folio books, and general reference materials such as local street maps, dictionaries for a variety of languages and style guides can all be found in the Memorial Reading Room.

Music reference materials such as thematic and composer catalogues, abstracts, indexes, music encyclopædias and dictionaries can be found in the Multimedia Room, opposite the CDs.


Scores are located on the rolling shelves. They begin with collections of musical sources (M1 and M2) and continue with the works of individual composers (M3). Collected editions and facsimiles are integrated with the performance and larger study scores.

Miniature scores are located at the end of the Main Room and extend into the Memorial Reading Room, while folio and elephant folio scores are located in the Photocopy and Print Room.


Journals are arranged alphabetically by title on the wall of the Main Room. Older journal issues are held in both "Store" and "Music Store". Please ask for assistance in obtaining these items. In addition, many journals are available electronically. You can access these through LibrarySearch or through Cardiff Portal.


CDs, DVDs and videos are on shelves in the Multimedia Room arranged in order of when they were added to the collection. LPs are located in Music Store, and require assistance from the Library staff to access.


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Choir and orchestra

Much of the material you will need for choir and orchestra will be processed by the Library, but distributed via the Concert Coordinator and choir/orchestra monitors. These loans will not form part of your normal loan allowance. All items will be due for return the day following the concert (or final concert if there is more than one). All scores and parts must be returned promptly as many are borrowed from other institutions.


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Other music resources in Cardiff University

University Library Service

Music special collections are held in SCOLAR (Special Collections and Archives) and can be accessed by appointment through the University Archivists. Music materials (including many music scores and CDs) for the University's LEARN programme can be found in the Senghennydd Library

Interdisciplinary studies in fields such as acoustics, culture, politics, sociology, therapy, and journalism have lead to the existence of many relevant music titles in other libraries, in particular the Arts and Social Studies and Bute Libraries.

School of Music

The School of Music maintains its own collection of choir, orchestra and study score sets, as well as supplementary collections in support of their two research centres. The School also holds its own archives, including the newly-added Fairley World Music Collection.


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Accessing music resources outside of Cardiff University

In Cardiff

Reciprocal borrowing schemes exist between the Music Library and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (highlights include performance scores, trade magazines and music therapy resources), and between Cardiff University and Cardiff Metropolitan University (highlights include books on popular music and culture). Cardiff University staff and students are also able to present their ID cards to apply for membership at the Cardiff Central Library, which holds a large collection of CDs and DVDs that can be borrowed for a nominal fee. 

There are four other smaller and more niche music collections in Cardiff. For more information, please ask the Library staff.

In the United Kingdom

Staff members and Postgraduate Research students are encouraged to get SCONUL cards to enable them to use and borrow library materials from a wide range of educational institutions across the United Kingdom. Extensive music research resources can be found in London at the British Library and various conservatoires. Some of these items will be available via Inter-library Loan (ILL). Other materials necessitate on-site viewing, and the holding institution may require a letter of confirmation from your home librarian to make an appointment. 

Please see the Library staff for assistance with accessing resources outside of Cardiff.


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