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Tim Sestrick
Call: 610-436-2379 Text: 802-448-BACH (2224)
Subjects:Dance, Music, Theatre

FAQ's: Everything You Need to Know

Oxford Music Online is the world's largest English-language music encyclopedia. Like Dr. Lee says, it's a great place to start your research. Oxford Music Online has lots of important information about Haydn and Mozart, including biographies and discussion of specific works.

There's a link on the tabs to the left; you can also find it by clicking on the image below:


An edition of music based on critical examination of primary sources, like a composer's manuscript(s), a copy by someone close to the composer, or a first published edition. Music can be like the telephone game: what's published "down the line," sometimes years after the composer wrote the work, may be very different from what was originally written. A critical edition tries to represent the composer's original intentions as much as possible.

When searching for critical editions, keep in mind that they may be called different things:

  • Critical Edition, or Kritische Ausgabe in German
  • Scholarly or Historical Edition
  • Collected Works, or Ausgabe/Gesamtausgabe in German, Oeuvres in French, or Opere in Italian
  • Monuments, or Denkmäler in German

How do you know what the critical editions are for Haydn and Mozart, or any composer? They're listed in Oxford Music Online, right before composer's work list at the end of the entry. There's also a list of critical editions, alphabetical by composer, included in the entry for Historical Editions. These are the best places to look, since they tend to be comprehensive; you can also find critical editions listed in IMSLP and Wikipedia, although sometimes these are incomplete.

A good first step for finding them in our library is to use the composer's name and "critical edition" in Library Search.



Just search Google with the composer's name and "critical edition." Or check out the composer in IMSLP. Sometimes there are older critical editions (earlier than 1925, and now in the public domain) included there. 

A composer's music can be counted or numbered in a few different ways - all at the same time. You might have noticed this for Haydn: his pieces often have three different numbering systems. For example, the Haydn string quartet included in this research has: 

  • The number 62 - this is Haydn's 62nd string quartet.
  • The opus, or work number 76. An opus number usually indicates the chronological order of composition out of everything the composer wrote. And, in this case it's the third quartet in op. 76.
  • The H number III:77. This is the number used in the thematic catalog of Haydn's works, compiled by Anthony van Hoboken (hence, the "H" number). If you're looking for the piece in IMSLP, this is how it's listed. 

And that's not to mention all the nick-names and subtitles that can be applied to classical music! For example, here's the Haydn string quartet in Wikipedia:

There's also a nice list of classical music nick-names, subtitles and non-numeric titles on Wikipedia. 

My recommendation? Look up the piece you're researching in Oxford Music Online so you can see all the different ways it's numbered.

You can often find books that discuss, analyze and provide historical background and context for a composer's works. Most of the time you won't find a whole book written about one piece (although occasionally you will), but a book about a type of piece, like a composer's piano works, or symphonies, or string quartets.

Journal articles tend to be more focused than books, and you can often find an article about just one or two pieces. 

Use Library Search to find both books and articles. Search using the composer's name and the name of the piece, or the type of piece like "Haydn string quartets" or "Mozart piano concertos."  Use the limiters on the left side of the results screen to focus on the type of resource you want.
Try the Music Library's online streaming music databases. Over a million CDs available anytime, anywhere:


Music History II: Video Presentation Research

  • Choose one of the following compositions for your presentation:
    • Haydn, Symphony No. 94, the “Surprise” (first movement)
    • Haydn, String Quartet op. 76, no. 3, “Emperor” (second movement)
    • Mozart, Keyboard Sonata in B-flat major, K. 333 (third movement)
    • Mozart, Serenade, Eine kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525 (third movement)
    • Mozart, Piano Concerto in G major, K. 453 (first movement)
  1. After you choose your composition, begin collecting information about your composer and the composition. The first place to go is your textbook and Oxford Music Online. Write a brief summary that includes biographical information and specific information about your composition. Transform this summary into 3-5 Powerpoint slides and upload onto D2L under Assignment: “Final presentation Overview.” (due Mon. 11/9; 10 points)
  2. Bibliography/Discography:
    1. Search for 3 academic sources that are specifically about your composition and 3 recordings of your composition (one of which must be from before 1960, one of which must be a “historically-authentic” recording and one of which must be a recording done since 1990s).
    2. Search for two different editions of your piece and list them in your bibliography. One of your editions must be from critical editions.
    3. Organize your sources and recordings as a bibliography/discography, following Chicago Manual of Style. Upload your list onto D2L under Assignment: Final presentation Bibliography.” (due Wed. 11/11; 10 points)