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Music: Music Library

Subject guide for music

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Contact the Presser Music Library staff for login information.

About the Presser Music Library

The Presser Music Library is named in honor of the Presser Foundation, which generously contributed to its construction costs in the new School of Music and Performing Arts Center (SOMPAC).  It is the only department of the West Chester University library system that is located outside of the F.H. Green Library building.  If you use either of the main entrances of the SOMPAC, from the parking lot between Matlack and High streets, turn right at the long corridor that runs parallel to High Street.  The library's entrance is at the north end of the corridor.  If you enter the building on the High Street side, please notice the library's book drop on your right.  Then walk past the School of Music offices, turn left, and left again beyond the elevator door.

Resources include:

Circulating books. These may be borrowed by students for six weeks and by faculty for a semester.

Scores.  This is the standard shorthand term in libraries for all forms of printed music, although    strictly speaking a musical score provides the notes for more than one performer at a time, with every performer's note for a given moment at the same horizontal position on a page, for conducting or study.  Ensemble music is usually published in "parts" as well, each part being read by one or two performers.  The library's score collection often includes parts for small-ensemble music, either in a pocket in the same volume as the score, or in one or more separate volumes.   The library does not collect parts for large ensembles, such as orchestra or band.

Music is published in various editions for various purposes.  An important category in our Music Library is the scholarly sets of complete works for various great composers.  Because for a long time the Germans were pre-eminent in musicology, and most of these sets were published in Germany, they are often referred to as Gesamtausgaben. These bear the Dewey Decimal number 780.81 and may be checked out only by faculty.   Most of the other scores may be borrowed on the same basis as the books.

Some small, infrequently used scores and parts are kept in file cabinets.  The catalog identifies their location as: "WCU Presser Music Library Vertical File."  Other protected materials are in "WCU Presser Music Library Closed Stacks".  To request them, please ask at the service desk.  Although they are not browsable by the public, vertical-file and closed-stacks circulate normally.  Another sub-location is "Oversize".  These scores are located in the north corner, beyond the main stacks. 

Scores and Books are both classified using an adaptation of the Dewey Decimal System, but they are kept in separate areas of the stacks: scores near the service desk, books further back. 

Periodicals:   Current periodicals are on shelves in the east end of the study area.  Bound periodicals are kept in a remote storage area.  Please ask for a periodical request form at the service desk to ask for a volume to be brought on the same or the following day.  Faculty may borrow periodicals for several days; others must use them in the library.

Compact discs:  Our collection of CDs (compact digital discs), some ten thousand and growing, are especially in demand by the entire student body, not just music majors, since we extended borrowing privileges to students for up to five CDs for three days.  We are especially blessed by a recent generous donation of thousands of CDs from Mr. Charles Knott, which includes music in many different styles.  They are still being processed and added to the shelves, for the most part still with incomplete cataloging.  A sidebar of this guide lists the rudimentary classification whereby our CDs and LPs are both organized.

Vinyl discs:  We have as many vinyl LP (long-playing) discs as compact discs.  Many LP recordings have not been re-released on CD.  Audiophiles say that an LP in good condition played on fine equipment sounds better than a CD because the analog technology is more realistic than digital sampling.  Properly maintained, vinyl discs have a longer life expectancy than CDs.   They are still being made and their popularity is reviving.  A sidebar provides tips on playing and care of LPs.  Their classification on the shelves is similar to that for CDs. 

Video recordings: These include both DVDs and VHS cassette tapes.  They are numbered sequentially and shelved near the TV monitors at the south end of the library.  Please remember that the Instructional Media Center (IMC) of the F.H. Green library has a more extensive video collection that includes materials relevant to music. 

Special collections kept in closed stacks:

   *  The Frank Reynolds Gilbert & Sullivan collection

   *  The Cecil Musgrave collection of British LP discs

   * The Bob Curnow collection of jazz and big band recordings and charts.



Subject Guide

Tim Sestrick
Presser Music Library

Room 121 C

West Chester University   ---    WCU Libraries  25 West Rosedale Avenue, West Chester, PA 19383  610-430-4400