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Classical Music Research Guide

LC (Library of Congress) Subject Headings

In the library catalog, books, scores, audio, and other materials are assigned Library of Congress (LC) subject headings based on their content. When you view catalog records in discoverE, these subject headings display as active links pointing to other items with the same subject.

This is not an exhaustive list of subject headings pertinent to Bach, but it should give you a sense of commonly used vocabulary and how subject headings are structured.

Learn how to create your own search links for discoverE here!

Sample Subject Headings (not an exhaustive list!)

Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750. For all publications about Bach, including biographies.

Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750 -- Criticism and interpretation. For scholarly studies on Bach and his music.

Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750 -- Manuscripts -- Facsimiles. Includes reproductions of Bach's original scores.

Bach Johann Sebastian 1685-1750 -- Periodicals. Scholarly journals devoted specifically to Bach will have this subject heading.

Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750 -- Religion.

Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750 -- Thematic catalogs. Includes the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (BWV).

Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750. Cantatas.

Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750. Passions.

Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750. Wohltemperierte Klavier.

For broader context:

Bach family

Composers -- Germany -- Biography

Music -- 18th century -- History and criticism

Performance practice (Music) -- History -- 18th century

What is BWV?

Bach was a highly prolific composer, so scholars have worked to create a systematic catalog of his works. The most common system today is the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (BWV), which numbers his compositions (mostly) by genre. For instance, the St. Matthew Passion (Matthäuspassion) is assigned the number BWV 244.

You can find scores and audio recordings of specific works by Bach in discoverE by using search phrases such as "BWV 244."

In addition to the print version of the Bach-Werke-Verzeichis, you find a list of Bach's composition in various online sources, including Wikipedia.

Bach-Specific Sources

Bach Bibliography
This citation database of publications on Bach was originated by Dr. Yo Tomita of Queen's University, Belfast and is currently maintained by the Bach-Archiv Leipzig.

Bach Digital
A virtual library of resources by and about Bach and extended Bach family, collected from the holdings of many separate libraries, especially those in Germany with prominent Bach collections. Includes high-resolution scans of 90% of J.S. Bach's works.