Help:Advanced search

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Multi-category search for scores

  • To search exclusively for scores, perhaps the most powerful method is to use the Multi-category search facility, which is linked to from the navigation sidebar on the left of every page. This feature allows searching across multiple criteria. For example, you can try specifying:
    • 2 for the Number of Voices, SA for the Voicing and Sacred music for the Genre, to find Soprano-Alto duets with sacred themes
    • Renaissance music and Works in Latin for 7 for the Number of Voices then selecting SSAATTB for the Voicing.
Note: You should probably use this search method moderately, as use of it is somewhat more intensive on CPDL's servers than the simple search.
  • Alternatively, and especially to search for other information than just locating scores (eg. for texts or composers of a given era or nationality), you may wish to use the Advanced search tips, described below.

Advanced search tips

Advanced Search

The CPDL advanced search is a very powerful way of searching CPDL's database of scores, composers and texts. You can search by virtually any criterion, and combine criteria to get exactly the results you're looking for.

If you click Go, the search engine will try to find an exact match for the page title you suggested (for instance, 'Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart'). If it can't find one, it will present you with the results of a full-text search instead.

If you click Search, it will go straight to the full-text search results without bothering to try for an exact page title match.

Note: Strings of 3 characters or fewer will be ignored. This is a WIKI search engine limitation. So instead of searching for "TT" to discover the available tenor duets at CPDL, try searching for "duets" or "Tenor duets" ... or, see How to search by voicing below.

For instance, try typing:

  • bach
  • fauré agnus dei
  • mass SATB
  • mass haydn
  • madrigal
  • secular byrd
  • modern SATB english
  • easter charles wood
  • early 20th century music
  • Ave verum corpus (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

How to search by title

All CPDL works are listed by their title. If you know the title of the work you're looking for, type it in the box and click Go.

You can also search for a fragment of a title, or the title of a movement within a larger work.

For instance, try typing:

  • ave verum corpus (takes you directly to the page)
  • ave verum (lists pages with 'Ave verum' in the title - works by Fauré, Liszt, etc.)
  • ave (fails because 'ave' consists of only 3 characters, below the wiki threshold for search strings)

How to search by composer or arranger

You can search by the name of a composer or arranger. Each composer has his or her own page, which lists all the works by that composer.

You can search for a surname or part of a surname, or (perhaps less usefully) for all or part of a first name. Most popular composers will have a "surname redirect", ie. if you type bach into the search box, you will arrive at the Johann Sebastian Bach page in the same way as if you typed johann sebastian bach. From the Johann Sebastian Bach, there is a link to the Bach (disambiguation) page in case Johann Sebastian is not the Bach you were searching for.

How to search by musical period

Both works and composers are categorised by the era of their original composition.

For instance, try typing:

  • renaissance (brings up three options for Renaissance: view Renaissance works, view Renaissance composers, or visit an external website called 'Renaissance Music')
  • 20th century (redirects to a page listing Modern music and Modern composers)

How to search by musical type or genre

You can search for a specific type of work on CPDL.

For instance, try typing:

  • anthem (brings up a page offering a list of all anthems on CPDL)
  • secular (brings up a list of all secular scores)
  • mass (brings up a list of masses)

How to search by voicing

There are several ways to search for scores written for a particular kind of ensemble. You can search for ordinary choral voicings (S=Soprano, A=Alto, T=Tenor, B=Bass). To find scores for double choir (or more), separate the choirs with a full stop, as in SATB.SATB (note that SSAATTBB is treated as a separate type of voicing, so you would need to check each of these separately if that is your intent).

For instance, try typing:

  • SATB (redirects to the SATB category and brings up a list of all SATB scores - there are thousands!)
  • STTB (brings up a list of all scores written for Soprano, Tenor1, Tenor2 and Bass - a much smaller number)
  • SATB.SATB (brings up a list of all scores for double SATB choir)

Note: This method cannot search for voicings of 3 or fewer voices, due to a WIKI search engine limitation that ignores such short strings of characters. For example, searching for STB would return no results.

To browse a list of scores by voicing (or number of voices), you can check Category:Voicing which lists subcategories by number of voices. Each of these number of voices subcategories lists subcategories by particular voicings with that number of voices. To speed your search, you might wish to go directly to one of the number of parts subcategories of Category:Voicing or even directly to a particular voicing subcategory. For example:

How to search by words from the text

A growing number of scores on CPDL also have texts and translations; these are all added by volunteers. You can search for any word or phrase in the text of a piece of music and CPDL will find it, if the text is available for that work. Again the searched for string must be at least 4 character long or more. Some common words are not indexed by WIKI, and will yield no results when searched for: (from, then, etc) - so if your search results yield no results try some other text strings.

For instance, try typing:

  • procedenti ab utroque (this phrase is found in Tantum ergo and Victoria's Pange Lingua Gloriosi)
  • if thou canst get but thither (this phrase is found only in Parry's My soul, there is a country)

How to search by language or nationality

CPDL scores are categorised by their language, and composers are categorised by their nationality, if this is known. You can search for either (or both).

For instance, try typing:

  • german composers (brings up a long list of German composers)
  • german text (brings up a list of scores in German, or for which German translations are available)


This page is part of the CPDL Help system.
View main help index