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Sheet Music Consortium Guide

A guide to the use of the Sheet Music Consortium

Matthew Vest

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Matthew Vest
Contact: Facebook Page
Subjects: Music & Dance

How to Use Basic Search

  • Due to the collective nature of the Sheet Music Consortium, it is sometimes easier to search through the "Browse" feature rather than the "Search" bar. 
  • Searching by Composer/Name: it is helpful to begin by using only their last name.
    • e.g. Carrie Jacobs-Bond: given the hyphenation of her last name, there are many possible formats in which pieces she wrote are cataloged. Since the Sheet Music Consortium has many contributing authors, the composer's name may be written in a number of different formats. 
    • In this case, select "Browse" → By "Name" → Select "J" then "Ja-"
      • Hint: using the "Ctrl+F" keyboard function, search "Jacobs" and any composer names including "Jacobs" will become highlighted. This allows you to find all the variations of Carrie Jacobs-Bond's name and subsequently any piece she wrote which is in the Sheet Music Consortium. You may also scroll to find the composer's name. 
    • There are 19 separate listings of composers with some combination of the name "Carrie Jacobs-Bond," in the Consortium, which you can only discover by using the "Browse" feature rather than the "Search" feature. 
  • Searching by Title: Entries are often labeled with the words of the First Line of the Chorus or of the Song as a whole, rather than the actual song title. Keep this in mind when browsing; the best version of the song for which you are searching may be labeled with the first line of lyrics rather than the published title of the piece.
  • Searching by Publishing Year: This section is organized by decade. It is best to use this method of browsing when looking for a general overview of the music published in the given decade. Since the Consortium is so large, it can be difficult to find a specific piece or composer through the Publishing Year Browse method. For example, in the 1880-1889 section, there are 31,753 entries. 
  • Due to the collective nature of the Sheet Music Consortium, you may find typographical errors. 

How to Use Advanced Search

  • On the main page of the Sheet Music Consortium, select "Advanced Search Options."
  • If you would like to limit the universities or public institutions in which you will search, select the "Narrow by Collection" tab and select the collections.
  • If you would like to limit the years in which you will search, select the "Narrow by Date Published," and enter the range of years in which you want to search.
  • You can also select "Digitized Content Only," for these search terms as well to limit your search to only show results with digitized content.
  • Because of the collective nature of the Sheet Music Consortium, use as broad of terms as possible in the Advanced Search terms.
  • You are able to use as many rows of search terms as you would like.
  • Search example: "Begin the Beguine" by Cole Porter. At first, I typed in "Cole Porter" under the "Name" search term and "Begin the Beguine" under the "Title" search term which produced 0 results. Then, I tried searching "Porter" under the "Name" search term and "Begin" under the "Title" search term which produced 37 results.
  • To start a new search, remember to delete any previous search controls (years or digitized, etc) since the search doesn't do that automatically. 

How to Make a Collection

  • You can only create Collections with files containing Digitized Content. In order to begin your Virtual Collection, check the box next to "Digitized Content Only" on the Browse/Search page.
  • When you have clicked "Digitized Content Only," a large box labeled "Virtual Collection" will appear on the right side of the web page.
  • To add a selection to your Virtual Collection, click on its Title, hold, drag and drop it into the box labeled "Virtual Collection."
  • There is no limit on the number of pieces in your Virtual Collection.
  • To send your Virtual Collection via email, click "Email." A dialogue box will pop up, prompting you to enter the email address to which you want to send the Collection. Enter the email address and click "Send."
  • In order to name and save your new Virtual Collection, you must be signed in. You may sign in before or after creating your Virtual Collection. Click the "Log In" button in the top right corner of the Sheet Music Consortium web page and follow the prompts.

How to Contribute Metadata and Comments

  • To enable your editing capabilities, you must first create a free account on the Sheet Music Consortium. When you click "Login" in the top right corner of the Sheet Music Consortium homepage, you will be prompted to create an account using an account provides such as Google to sign in.
  • If you discover an error in any part of an entry, you may contribute your proposed edit through the "Metadata/Comments" tab.
  • First, click the "More" tab at the bottom of the entry.
  • Then, click the "Metadata/Comments" tab.
  • A text box will appear; type your comments there and then click "Post Comment."