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Latin American Composers: A Guide to Resources at the Library of Congress

Search Strategies

Use this page to learn how to find music with composer or call number class searches. The Library of Congress Music Classification Schedule determines call numbers by instrumentation and composer. Call numbers for printed music begin with M (Music).

Basic Search Tips

Search by composer in the Library of Congress Online Catalog or Performing Arts Reading Room card catalog (only available on site). Then, determine if that composer wrote music for the instrumentation you seek.

Examples of search results for individual composers may include:

For suggested resources available in the Music Division for you to find names of Latin American composers, go to the Resources for Finding Composers section of this guide.

Examples by Name

Bain News Service, publisher. Teresa Carreño. Circa 1915-1917. George Grantham Bain Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

As an example, look for music composed by Teresa Carreño (1853-1917), a Venezuelan composer, pianist, vocalist, and conductor.

  • In our online catalog's Advanced Search mode, type her name into the empty text bar as "Carreño, Teresa" or "Teresa Carreño" - the same results will appear both ways.

You do not have to type the special character (ñ) in her name in order to see these search results. Typing "Carreno" or "Carreño" yield the same search results.

  • In the dropdown menu after the word "within," select "Name: Personal (KPNC)."

This search option will narrow results to items with her as the author or composer.

  • If you are interested only in Music Division holdings - musical scores, biographies, and autobiographies - click the "Add Limits" button. Under "Location in the Library," select Performing Arts.

If you are looking for recordings of her music, select "Recorded Sound."

Then, hit "Search."

Search results for Teresa Carreño will include a variety of materials available in the Music Division, including:

The Music Division's holdings in the online catalog best reflect items received after 1980. For composers active prior to 1980 like Teresa Carreño, the Performing Arts Reading Room card catalog is especially helpful. Send Music Reference Specialists a message through Ask a Librarian for assistance with our card catalog entries.

Examples by Call Number

If you have particular instrumentation in mind, you can search the LC Online Catalog in Browse Mode by call number class.

  • Go to our online catalog's Browse mode
  • In the left-hand dropdown menu, select "CALL NUMBERS (LC Class No.)"
  • In the right-hand text box, type a call number class

Examples of call number classes to try include:

For more information about searching by call numbers, Ask a Librarian or consult the Class M outline [PDF, 137 KB].

Subject Headings

Useful Library of Congress Subject Headings to find biographies, autobiographies, sound recordings, and other reference sources include: 

These subject headings are not used in the catalog records of individual musical scores.