Sidney Cox Library of Music and Dance Collection Policy


subject description and guidelines

  • The Music Library collects printed music, sound and visual recordings, and writings about music and dance. We also provide access to databases and electronic resources supporting music and dance research. Printed music: the library collects broadly the art music of the western world. Works of current composers are collected as they are available; historic editions are selected based on scholarly merit. The library collects printed music of other world traditions selectively, as it is available. Popular and vernacular musics of North America are collected primarily in anthologies. Musicals are collected primarily in vocal score format. Audio/visual materials: the library collects audio recordings of western art music, popular and vernacular musics of North America and musics of other cultures. We collect video recordings of musical theatre and opera, performances of music in all genres, and selected historical surveys and documentaries. We also collect videos of classical ballet, modern and historical dance. The CD is the preferred format for audio recordings and the DVD for video recordings. Multiple performances of individual works are collected. Literature of music and dance: the Music Library collects broadly in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish, and selectively in other western European languages. The literature of music in Asian languages is held in the Asia Collections.


  • The Music Collection serves the needs of the faculty and students of the Music Department and the Dance Program as its primary mission. This includes undergraduate majors, undergraduates who take music and dance courses but do not major in the subject, graduate programs in three articulated fields: musicology, which can be subdivided into music history, music theory, and ethnomusicology; composition; and historical performance practice. In addition, the collections support primary research being carried out by members of various other departments in the University, including History, Psychology, Anthropology, Physics, English and German Studies. The collection is also regularly used by area studies and minority studies programs.


collection strength

  • Supporting faculty and doctoral-level research, the Music Library’s principal strength lies in its broad and deep collection for the study of Western art music. This includes extensive holdings on early music performance practice, with a special focus on historical keyboard instruments. This collection encompasses literature on performance practice, numerous early-instrument recordings, microfilms, scholarly editions, rare source materials in the Rare Book Room (Music Locked Press) and scholarly facsimiles in the Music Special Collections. In addition, we collect heavily in twentieth and twenty-first century music of Europe and the United States, including electronic music, and music by Cornell composition alumnae. The Music Library includes significant holdings in American musical theater and opera to provide graduate-level curricular support. It holds substantial collections of world music, with strengths in Indonesian music, African field recordings, Brazilian popular and folk music, and Middle Eastern music. It has substantial holdings in blues, rhythm & blues, boogie-woogie, jazz, and rock, supporting undergraduate teaching in these areas.

collection level

  • research

geographical guidelines

  • No geographical restrictions

language guidelines

  • Research level: German, French, Italian, Spanish
  • Selectively: other western European languages


  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Spanish

chronological guidelines

  • No chronological restrictions


  • Materials in Asian languages are held in the Asia Collections.

material types

  • Printed music, including scores and score/parts sets; audio-visual materials in most tangible formats (magnetic and optical media; 33 rpm, 45 rpm, and 78 rpm recordings; Beta and VHS; DVD; Blu-Ray, and 12-inch optical discs; streaming audio and video by subscription); the literature of music in print and electronically, including a wide range of reference resources.


housed in

  • Sidney Cox Library of Music and Dance

special collections or noteworthy resources in the field

  • Grout microfilm collection
  • 20th-21st century composers
  • Opera, including Cox estate
  • Hip-Hop (RMC)

related library subject collection


library contact

  • Schneller, Lenora -  Music Librarian