The music collection contains over 300,000 musical scores and the largest collection of music research resources in Australia.

You can find:

  • Australian published and unpublished sheet music covering a range of musical styles, some digitised
  • historical and contemporary music, in notated form
  • archives of composers, performers and music organisations
  • memorabilia and photographs capturing musical performance and music trade
  • archival sound recordings of folk music and dance
  • music information to support research and study
  • access to music notation software and keyboard in reading rooms.

The Library primarily collects music in notated form, though not generally multiple vocal or instrumental parts. Commercially recorded music is held at Australia’s National Film and Sound Archive.

Highlights

  • Australian Sheet Music - highly decorative covers of sheet music documenting performing arts history.  Includes advertisements for stage and cinema productions, the latest musical instruments and recordings. This collection can be accessed for iPad via our Forte app.
  • State Theatre Collection – over 13,000 published orchestrations, band arrangements and instrumental music composed or arranged for small orchestra to accompany silent movies.  Primarily used in Australian film theatres from 1900 to the 1930s. Many record film screening dates and distribution stamps.
  • Symphony Australia collection - a collection of chamber, choral, operatic, orchestral, piano and vocal works by Australian composers and arrangers from colonial music to the 1970s.  Includes scores and parts used by the ABC for performance and original manuscripts.
  • Helm collection –  c.7000 scores of 18th and 19th century European and English vocal music.