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MUSC 229: Thinking about Music (HC)

Music 229: Thinking about Music: Ideas, History, and Musicology (Freedman) Fall 2021

Search Tips

Boolean operators: 

AND, OR, NOT allow you to limit or expand searches depending on your needs.



gender AND sexuality




piano OR klavier



in the way

Bach NOT P.D.Q.


Phrase searching:

An important strategy to employ when searching phrasal concepts or conducting known-item searches for titles:

  • Album for the Young (without quotation marks) will search for Album AND for AND the AND Young.
  • "Album for the Young" (in quotation marks) will search for the Schumann composition.


Nested Searching:

When pairing two or more keywords with another keyword, it is helfpul to "nest" the former terms within a larger Boolean search.

  • Bach AND Neumeister AND (Erdmann NOT "Johann Gottfried") would be a possible example of how to find resources that discuss J.S. Bach and the hymnologist Erdmann Neumeister (from whose texts Bach set some of his cantatas), not information about the lost chorales of Bach compiled by Johann Gottfried Neumeister.


Truncation and Wildcards:

Most catalogs and databases enable users to search variations of keywords by using truncation (*) or wildcard (e.g., ?, $, !) symbols.

  • Truncation searching: you could search for harmon* to find harmony, harmonize, harmonic, harmoneousness, and so on.
  • Wildcard searching: a search for mu??k would return musik (Ger), muzak, and so on.

Combining the two, viol?n* would return violin, violinist, violon (Fr), violoniste (Fr), violino (It), and so on.