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Music Collections

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The National Library of Scotland acquires music through the legal deposit privilege, as well as through bequests, donations and purchases.

The music collections now include extensive British holdings, especially Scottish music. There is a wide selection of foreign music editions, special collections of early editions of Handel, Berlioz and Verdi, special collections of Scottish music collectors, and music sound recordings.

Music manuscripts are administered by Manuscript Collections.

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians

The online edition includes the full text of 'The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians' (second edition) and 'The New Grove Dictionary of Opera'. See our licensed digital collections section for more information.

You can use this resource in the Special Collections Reading Room. If you have a library card and your main address is in Scotland, you can register online for a login to access the resource from any computer outwith NLS.

Music in 'Quarto'

An article about the music collections and the work of Music Collections staff appears in two editions of 'Quarto', the Library's former newsletter.

  • Quarto 12 (PDF: 7 pages; 1.85 MB): 'If music be the food of love'
  • Quarto 9 (PDF: 8 pages; 567 KB): 'Spotlight on Music'

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