Descriptions and General Needs of

Scores and Sheet Music

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The preservation of scores in a library setting is a challenge. It is a delicate balance of packaging (or re-packaging) components in a manner that keeps them from getting lost and enables them to withstand years of repeated use and abuse, yet does not damage them now or in the future, does not obscure any music, and allows them to be used in a more flexible manner than the average book. Storage conditions can also support or destroy these efforts.

Specific methods addressing these concerns vary by the original format of the score. Below is a list of formats, linked to pages describing each format further, with photos of different examples and approaches for binding and storing scores in that format.

When deciding on how to handle scores, keep in mind that decisions you make can affect how items are cataloged as well as shelved and circulated. Discuss your ideas with folks from these areas so that the best solution for everyone can be determined.

Types of Formats


Parts and pockets

Non-standard paginations

Soft bound

Hard cover

Comb and spiral bindings

Unbound pages

Odd page attachments

Printing from electronic sources

Folio scores

Miniature scores

Diazo (blueprint) scores
Multi-media materials

Step by step of the methods described in the format section
can be found, along with indepth discussion of music binding issues, in Alice Carli’s book, The Binding and care of printed music (Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2003).

Alice Carli, formats.

Last updated: February 19, 2008, at 01:37 PM EST

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