Skip to Main Content

Black Composers

A reference guide for classical music written by black composers


What is sheet music?

Sheet music is best defined by physical format. It occurs as:

  • Single sheets, printed on one or both sides
  • Folios (one sheet folded in half to form four pages)
  • Folios with a loose half-sheet inserted to yield six pages
  • Double-folios (an inner folio inserted within the fold of an outer folio to make eight pages)
  • Double-folios with a loose half-sheet inserted within the fold of an inner folio to produce 10 pages.

The content of sheet music varies widely. It can be either popular or art music, and while songs and solo piano music are the most commonly represented genres, sacred and secular choral music, dance music, and other genres also appear in this format.

On the Shelves

Call Numbers

Books and scores are given Library of Congress (LC) call numbers, which group similar materials together. Understanding the components of a call number will help you browse the shelves effectively.

  • M - Music Scores
  • ML - Literature on Music (biographies, histories, dictionaries
  • MT - Instruction and Study (theory, composition, pedagogy, self-instruction, excerpt books)

Overview of LC classification for Music - M

Anatomy of a Call Number for Scores

Basic information, found in all call numbers


Overall classification – Music Score


Narrower term – Piano Trios


Composer (Author) - Beethoven

Further information, to distinguish among similar items. Not all call numbers have the same number of lines.


Editor – Rafael


Publication Date - 1983