The BOOK collection covers most areas of musical study, including biography, history and criticism, theory, composition, ethnomusicology, and music education. The reference collection of approximately 2000 volumes includes important music indexes, directories, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and bibliographies.


Scores are available in various formats to meet differing needs: full conductor’s scores, miniature scores for study purposes, vocal scores of operas and other dramatic vocal works, chamber scores and parts, as well as solo performance music. Composers’ complete works, monuments and historical sets are treated as reference materials available for consultation and study in the library. A large collection of song anthologies is also available.


Access to articles, in more than 100 PERIODICALS currently received, is available through Music and Performing Arts Online (IIMP & IIPA), Music Index Online , and RILM Abstracts as well as general online databases including Academic Search Premier, UT e-journals, or Expanded Academic ASAP, Ingenta. Use this link: Databases to access the full list of databases.

Sound Recordings

Sound Recordings (cassettes and compact discs) are available for study in the library and as supporting material for classroom presentation. Graduate Students may now check out compact discs. Please ask for a copy of the policy at the circulation desk. Videos of operas, master classes, jazz performance and instruction, and music history topics are also available.

Faculty and Graduate students may check out audio compact discs for a 3-day period. Graduate students are limited to 3 cds at any one time. Cassettes are located in storage and may be requested through the online catalog.

Multimedia Resources

Look for interactive MULTIMEDIA resources in the Music Library. These materials include electronic books and instruction relating to specific musical compositions:

  • A Hard Day’s Night, which includes the complete Beatles’
  • Beethoven’s Symphony, no. 9, op. 131
  • Dvorak’s From the New World (Symphony, no. 9)
  • Jazz: A Multimedia History based on Lewis Porter’s book,
    Jazz: From its Origins to the Present
  • Mozart’s String Quartet, C major, K. 465, the ‘Dissonant’
  • Schubert’s Quintet, A major, D. 667, the ‘Trout’ Quintet
  • Three Tone Poems by Richard Strauss: Don Juan, Death and
    Transfiguration, Till Eulenspiegel
  • Subotnick’s All My Hummingbirds Have Alibis and 5 Scenes
    from an Imaginary Ballet

Collection Policy

General Purpose

The Music Library is the University’s primary source for music and music literature. All M-class (M, ML, and MT) materials are generally housed in the branch library. Additionally, a significant portion of low-usage music materials is housed in separate storage facilities on the UT campus. The storage collection also includes older formats such as: VHS recordings, audiocassettes, LPs, microfilm, and microfiche.

Primary clientele includes students majoring in music while pursuing one of the following degrees: 1.) B.A. with music interest; 2.) B.A. in Music Business; 3.) B.M. degree programs (music education, music theory/composition, organ, piano, sacred music, strings, studio music and jazz, voice, woodwinds, brass, and percussion instruments); 4.) M.A. in musicology or theory; 5.) M.M. degree programs (accompanying, choral conducting, composition, instrumental conducting, jazz, music education, music theory, organ, piano, sacred music, strings, voice, winds or percussion); 6). Artist Certificate programs (accompanying, piano, strings, voice, winds, or percussion); 7.) or Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction.

The music courses offered at the University of Tennessee represent a broad range of styles and musical genres. Therefore, few areas of music are excluded outright from this collection, but those not included within the curricula, such as instruction in classical guitar or harp, are treated very selectively.

The music collection supports instruction and research for: 1.) students and faculty in the School of Music; 2.) service courses to undergraduates taking humanities electives; 3.) departments such as theater, dance, art, architecture, history, religion, and cultural studies when music materials are needed for interdisciplinary study; and 4.) music information needs of the University community and general public. The collection serves the gamut of needs from vocational to research.

Subject Description

Music literature includes general music (appreciation, listener’s guides), bibliography and reference, music history (by period, by genre, by country, biography, performance practice), ethnomusicology (non-Western folk, popular, and art music; Western folk and popular music), notation and music theory, composition, conducting, jazz, instrumental and vocal pedagogy. Music education literature includes history and philosophy, methodology, psychology and testing, administration, instrumental and vocal pedagogy, conducting, juvenile literature, and music therapy.

Overlap with Other Subjects

Generally, there is very little overlap; however, there are interrelationships with other subjects such as acoustics, aesthetics, art, architecture, business, dance, education, fine arts administration, psychology, religion, sociology, and technology (computers, electronics).

Languages Collected and Excluded

English is the primary language of the collection; however, works in western European languages are regularly collected. Scores and sound recordings are collected without regard to language.

Geographic Parameters

Publications are predominantly from North America and Europe.

Chronological Scope

Music from the Middle Ages to the present is collected.

Dates of Publication

Mainly, current publications are acquired for the book collection. However, currency of publication is far less important for scores and audio materials. Weeding decisions are rarely affected by date of publication.

Retrospective Acquisitions

No emphasis is placed on retrospective monograph collecting, but it does occur for scores, sound recordings, and dissertations on microfilm. Acquisition of out-of-print print materials is attempted in rare cases only.

Types of Materials Collected and Excluded

To represent historical change in scholarship and performance practices, multiple formats of scores, multiple editions of scores, and multiple performances on sound recordings are extensively acquired. Music reference materials, composers’ complete works and historical sets (M2-M3) are emphasized. Upper division and graduate level texts and books about all music subjects are collected.

Selectivity is applied in collecting reprints, scores for instruments not represented in the curriculum, juvenile materials for instructional purposes (including school music textbooks and accompanying recordings), books from allied subject areas (e.g., church liturgy, aesthetics, acoustics, dance), and popular, general interest titles.

Exclusions include manuscripts (original sketches, complete manuscripts, letters, and memorabilia related to music are housed in Special Collections), multiple copies, vocal and piano sheet music, octavo choral music, sets of band, choral and orchestral parts, realia, and kits containing teaching accessories.

Formats of Materials Collected and Excluded

Music itself, as represented in the collection, consists of scores, sound recordings, and video recordings.

Books, music scores (includes collected editions, monuments, study scores, full scores, vocal scores, score and parts, performance editions); compact discs, DVDs; electronic reference sources (includes reference databases, streaming audio & video, and score databases as requested); periodicals, microforms, facsimiles of manuscripts, music scores, sketches and treatises; libretti, standard vocal and instrumental instruction materials and pedagogical editions; theses and dissertations, especially in music education; vertical file materials (publishers’ catalogs, pamphlets, illustrations) are all collected.

Excluded are scores containing more than ten performing parts (collected by School of Music ensemble libraries), 78 rpm recordings and cassettes. Micro-format for scores is generally avoided.

Audiovisual streaming services provide access to a vast range of commercial video and audio recordings. Subscription to these services allow for access by UT faculty, staff, and students with regular borrowing privileges. Generally, we do not purchase physical recordings of items available through these streaming services.

Printed music in digital format is available through subscription services (Classical Score Library, Nkoda, and others). Printed music that is only available through a digital purchase may be, with permission, printed out and processed for inclusion in our physical collection. At this time, the Music Library does not purchase digital scores or other electronic files of printed music that cannot be physically produced and stored.

While the collection contains CD-ROM formats, new purchases of this format are rarely acquired.

Cooperation with Other Libraries

No formal cooperative collection development agreements are in place. However, there are extended interlibrary services agreements with the University of Kentucky and Vanderbilt University for the lending and borrowing of non-circulating materials.

Alternative Acquisition of Resources

Interlibrary loan is a source of materials not in the UT collection.

Positions Responsible for Collection in the Discipline

Music Librarian, Nathalie Hristov Music Librarian, Chris Durman

Corresponding Fund

Humanities and restricted accounts, Musical Heritage Fund

Other Factors

Requests from university students, faculty and staff are accepted and encouraged to provide a greater variety of materials to be added to the collection which will be representative of subjects being currently studied by the constituents of the School of Music.

Physical equipment and software purchased will support the School of Music students and faculty in scholarship and performance. Resources include: MIDI USB keyboard, audio recorders, video recorders with accessories, iPads with accessories, as well as cables to connect and charge various electronic devices.

Revision date: March 23, 2022

Collection Statistics (as of July 1, 2010)

  • 27,521 scores
  • 26,795 books
  • 26,429 sound recordings
  • 1,949 videos
  • 2,745 microfilm reels
  • 76 CD-ROMs

Music Library total = 65,538 collection items

Storage Building = 19,977 collection items