A student having a lesson in my studio recently asked me if I had heard of the anonymous piece
Greensleeves to a Ground, originally part of the 1702 Walsh print
The Division Flute. I answered “Of course!” and went to the spot on my book shelf where I thought the two editions I own ought to be to be. Not there! Hmm. Where and how to look?
I have been building a library of instrumental and vocal scores suitable for playing on recorder—both published bound books and (when there is no published alternative) photocopies—since I was a teenager. As the collection has grown over the years, I have learned to be disciplined in organizing scores so that I can find a particular work without too much fuss. Here is my method:
In contrast to libraries in the U.S., I organize and search all my recorder scores from right-to-left. This saves me the time consuming and annoying practice of looking first at the back page of books as I scan shelves.
The entire library is divided into sections by time periods—medieval (pre-1420), Renaissance (ca. 1420-1620), baroque/classical (17
th and 18
th centuries), and post-1800 (19
th through 21
st centuries). The medieval and post-1800 sections, relatively small, are simply organized alphabetically by composers (Landini, Machaut), title (if anonymous), manuscript source (Montpellier codex,
Roman de Fauvel), or genre (organum, motets, jazz arrangements), whatever label most memorably identifies an edition.
Number of Parts
The Renaissance and baroque/classical sections, as might be expected in a recorder score library, are much more extensive; these sections benefit from being first sorted by number of parts, then alphabetically within these numbers. For baroque/classical works, there is a section without basso continuo (Bach’s
Art of the Fugue)
and one with continuo (Handel and Telemann sonatas), each further organized by number of parts.
These categories owe much to the Eric Haas’s system of organizing scores for the Von Huene Workshop. Thanks Eric!
The Master List
I keep a running list (forty-five pages long, so far!) of all my printed editions that can be used for recorder, including century, number of parts, title, composer, and edition. This acts as a quick way to see what I own, especially handy at workshops, keeping me from buying music that I already have. The list, in a Word table, can be easily searched or sorted.
The Scores in My Computer
In recent years, like many musicians, I have taken to scanning, downloading, and making my own scores and storing the resulting PDFs in my computer, a portable second library. My computer library folders include one organized by composer, another organized by sources (i.e. original manuscripts or prints), and a third by music topics, where I can organize group of pieces by theme, along with translations and notes. With the ability to make copies of PDFs, I can include particular works in different categories, as needed. These folders have been extraordinarily helpful in putting together topics for workshop teaching.
How to Search?
To find particular pieces in my recorder library, I have had to keep a fair amount of chronological, source, and genre information in my brain, but this has only helped me make musical and historical connections that have added greatly to my enjoyment of discovering, playing, and teaching music for the recorder.
So where is
Greensleeves to a Ground? Think, Wendy. Look under 17
th centuries, then in the section for basso continuo with one treble part. It’s not under “anonymous” (a category that precedes all named composers), or under “Greensleeves,” or under its genre (ground bass). Ah, there it is, right next to a complete edition of
The Division Flute, alphabetized under “D” for its source.
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