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Collected Works and Thematic Catalogs Print Page


Performing editions: These are the scores that you'll find on the 2nd floor of MPAL. They have been edited by publishers and teachers/performers to include fingerings, phrasing, and sometimes tempo indications. These editions range in quality, but you'll find that publishers such as Henle, Wiener Urtext, Breitkopf and Hartel (among others) tend to put out better editions than, for example, International.

Collection editions/critical editions: These are sets of composers' collected works. They have been compiled by scholarly editors to try to give the closest indication of what the composer truly intended. Critical commentary is included that discusses any alterations in accidentals, notes, ornaments, and so forth. The editors refer to any manuscript sources available and also research whether the composer later made changes (such as notes or cuts, etc.). These editions are also sometimes called ‘complete editions’ or ‘Gesamtausgabe’.

Monuments or Denkmäler: Are collected editions that focus on a particular country, region, or type of music rather than a single composer.

See Sydney Robinson Charles, et al. "Editions, historical." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. 25 Aug. 2008 <> for a more complete definition.



Abkuerzungen:  abbreviations
Anmerkung: remarks/observations
Ausgaben:  editions
: manuscript
Bearbeitungen: arrangements
Begleitung: accompaniment
Besetzung: instrumentation
Briefe: Letters (correspondence)
Druck: print
Faksimile: exact copy
(usually of a manuscript)
Kritischer bericht: critical commentary
Literatur: articles/studies about work
Opera Omnia: all works
Opus Zahl: Opus (work) number
Partituren: scores
Quellen: sources
Reihe: Row or series
Sammtlicher: collected
Skizzen: sketches
Stimmen: voices/parts
Takte: measures
Thematisches-Verzeichnis: catalog, inventory
Teil: part
Vergleiche (Vgl.): see also, compare
Werke: works
Widmung: dedication (gewidmet= dedicated to


Finding Pieces in Collected Editions

To locate individual items in a collected works set using Grove in Oxford Music Online, first select the "Works" tab under the entry for the composer.

Grove heading

Collected editions for that composer will be listed at the top of the page. Note the abbreviation in brackets at the end of each listing.

Grove editions

Find the piece you are looking for in the works list. The right-hand columns will tell you where in the composer's collected works you can find that piece.

Grove works list

It can also be useful to refer to the following print resources to identify a collection edition.

  • A.H. Heyer: Historical Sets, Collected Editions, and Monuments of Music: a Guide to their Contents (Chicago, 1957, 3/1980) ML113 H491980 (Reference)

    Hill will tell you whether a collected edition exists, but doesn't provide volume contents listings.
  • G.R. Hill and N.L. Stephens: Collected Editions, Historical Series, & Sets & Monuments of Music: a Bibliography (Berkeley, 1997) ML113 H54 (Reference)


Thematic Catalogs

Thematic catalogues provide lists of composer's works in an organized fashion; many include incipits for the beginning of each work/movement. Often this is by opus number or chronology. Well-known examples are Otto Deutsch's Schubert thematic catalogue and Bach's BWV Bach Werkeā€Verzeichnis (Index to Bach's Works). For a more detailed definition, see the entry in Grove. Thematic catalogs can also help you locate individual works in a composer's collected edition.

To find a thematic catalogue for a particular composer you can:

  1. search in the library catalog for the composer's name and "catalog?", and/or
  2. check in Barry S. Brook's Thematic Catalogues in Music: An Annotated Bibliography ML113 B8955 T4 1997 (Ready Reference)
  3. check the Grove entry for the composer, which often lists the thematic catalog before the works list.

To find a thematic catalogue for a composer using Grove Online, first select the "Works" tab under the entry for that composer.

Grove heading

Thematic catalogues for that composer will be listed before the works list.

Grove catalogs

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Locating Collected Editions in the Library

Collected editions for composers are primarily classified in the M3s (located on the first floor at the back of the Reference collection). Monuments or Gesamtausgabe are in the M2s. Once you become familiar with the section you can scan it to find the set you are looking for, but otherwise you'll need to find the call number for the set you need. You can search the library catalog with the title you find in Grove, Heyer, or Hill, or, you can simply do a keyword search for [composer name] and works. This isn't precise, but will give you something to start with.

Caveat lector: sometimes we call things by nicknames, and you won't find those in the catalog. Perhaps the best example of this is the Neue Bach Ausgabe. This is what we call it, but the official name, and the name under which it is listed in the library catalog, is Neue Ausgabe sämtlicher Werke.


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