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Music Research Guide


Locating Songs

This guide provides information on some of the music resources and services available in the Boston College Libraries.

Sheet Music for Songs

Finding the lyrics for a song is relatively easy compared to finding the sheet music. The music for many popular songs is often only available as part of a collection. Library catalog records for these collections usually do not include a list of all the songs in the collection.

Use the sources below to find what collection the music may be in. You can then check Catalog, to see if the library has a copy of that collection or you can request the item through interlibrary loan

Popular Song Index. (O'Neill  ML 128 .S3 H4 1974-2002) Use this index to locate the words and music for folks songs, popular tunes, spirituals, hymns, children's songs, sea chanteys, and blues. Index is arranged by title, first line, composer and lyrics and has references to collections published between 1940 and 2002.

SongCite: an index to popular songs. (O'Neill  ML128.P63 G65 1995) Indexes anthologies of music published after 1988 which contain rock music, country music, musical show selections, popular standards and some jazz, folk, holiday and gospel. Find entries by title/first line, composers or by the name of a television program, film or musical.

Song index; an index to more than 12,000 songs in 177 song collections comprising 262 volumes. (O'Neill ML128.S3 S31 1934)

The great song thesaurus. (O'Neill  ML128.S3 L4 1989)
A compendium of various lists ("greatest songs" from the 16th century to the present, award winners, song titles) and a thesaurus of songs by subject, keyword and category. Helpful for identifying the full title, date and composer of a song when only a portion of the title or the subject is known.

Song Lyrics

Lyrics for popular music are usually easy to find. One of the best places to look for them is through a google search.  Use a few key words from the song and add the word "lyrics" to your search.