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Library of Congress Call Numbers for Music

An aid to learning Library of Congress call numbers for music
by Susannah Cleveland on 2 September 2010

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Transcript of Library of Congress Call Numbers for Music

Library of Congress Call Numbers for Music
Many music libraries use the Library of Congress classification system for assigning call numbers to books and scores.
Most Library of Congress call numbers have at least two lines:
The first line will be a letter (or letters) that represents its subject area and, in music a bit about format as well.
M = music scores
ML = books of literature on music
MT = books of music instruction and study
The second line - the one with numbers - represents the specific subject within the larger subject area. For example piano sonatas (23) within the larger classification of scores (M) are represented by M 23.
The next number, referred to as the Cutter number, reflects a letter/number combination that the library has developed to indicate the author (or sometimes the topic).
Sometimes, Cutter numbers will be followed by other information to help distinguish one item from another.
There are some basic rules that dictate how LC call numbers are put into order:
Examples of additional information that might appear after the Cutter number include volume number, copy number, part name (such as trumpet or piano), or opus number.
Nothing always
comes before something.

If the first line is the same,
the second line determines the
order of call numbers.
Shelve titles alphabetically by the first line of the call number.
For example, in the M23 section, Prokofiev is represented by the Cutter number .P93. This means Prokofiev piano sonatas would be shelved together in the section:
M
23
.P93
Let's consider an example:
ML410.A638A3 1940
Author: George Antheil
Title: Bad Boy of Music
An autobiography by George Antheil

ML
The first two letters, ML, mean this is a book that contains literature on music.
410
The 410 here indicates a commonly used subject designation, composer biography.
.A638
The Cutter number is A638, which is the Cutter number that will be used for all books by George Antheil located in this section, the ML 410s.
A3
In this example, A3 is a second Cutter number that refers to the subject matter (also George Antheil).
1940
1940 is the year of publication for this book, and its inclusion in the call number differentiates this book from another edition of the same book published in 1945 (ML410.A638A3).
Now you've got the basics; go test your knowledge!
If you see a decimal point (even before a letter), read each of the following numbers separately, not as a whole number.
When other things are equal, letters come before numbers.
Read and sort the numbers in the second
line as whole numbers.
See the full transcript