Browse Help

You may browse data in the following five fields of the database.

Navigation of the first three fields is similar. The lists are arranged alphabetically (with a few items that begin with numeric or other characters placed before ‘A’) and you may move through the list by using a combination of the alphabetic menu above the list, and the numeric menu of pages below the list.

When you find and click on the entry you are seeking, a search-results screen will provide details of all the collections that contain relevant documents.

People and Organisations

This field records the names of individual and corporate bodies associated with the various collections. The former might include prominent performers or conductors or the name of the original collector whilst the latter encompasses the names of concert series, performing ensembles and  musical agents.

Unless a concert or collection is devoted to a single work, the works of a single composer or includes a notable first performance (see Subjects below), the names of individual composers will not normally appear here.

Places and Venues

Spatial terms have been constructed hierarchically, allowing users either to search the database for a specific concert venue or to browse by town, city or country.

When browsing, users should be aware that countries have been defined by their present-day boundaries, meaning, for example, that the constituent parts of the former USSR will appear individually under the heading Europe. Locations in the United Kingdom have been grouped under the headings England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, whilst London is divided into the City of London and the 32 surrounding boroughs.

The construction of individual terms is such as to place the name/type of venue before its geographic location, meaning that the Town Hall in Leeds appears as ‘Town Hall, Leeds’ rather than as ‘Leeds Town Hall’. Churches are filed under the distinct part of the name, resulting in ‘St. Thomas the Apostle Church, Hove’ rather than ‘Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, Hove’ and ‘Ely Cathedral’ rather than ‘Cathedral, Ely’.

In the case of multiple concert venues and sub-venues, terms have been created so as to ensure that all venues within a single building or institution are filed together. Thus, the Emma Cons Hall and New Studio Theatre at Morley College appear as Morley College: Emma Cons Hall and Morley College: New Studio Theatre respectively.

Notable exceptions to this rule are the constituent colleges of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. These have been treated as semi-independent bodies and are presented as Wadham College, University of Oxford rather than as University of Oxford: Wadham College. Faculty buildings and other locations within the University are treated as outlined above, however, i.e. University of Oxford: Faculty of Music.

When searching for a specific location, users should be aware that the names of countries appear in the accepted anglicized form whilst towns and cities are given in their indigenous forms: see:

Holding Institutions

This field allows you to browse an alphabetical list of holding institutions. In the case of major institutions, such as the British Library, separate entries have been created for the various departments. These appear as subsets of the principal heading, meaning that the British Library can be searched under British Library: Humanities and British Library: Music Collections whilst the Royal College of Music has been divided into Royal College of Music: Centre for Performance History and Royal College of Music: Library.

The search results page provides basic contact information for the institution; for further details about the institution view one of the collection records in the list.

The two following fields may be viewed on single pages.

Date Ranges

When browsing by time period, users should note that collections spanning more than one time frame will appear under all relevant headings. For the purposes of this project, the labels World War I and World War II have been used less as historical markers than as an opportunity to highlight collections with particular relevance or connection to these events. Examples of such collections include the programmes relating to the Ruhleben Concentration Camp (1914–18) and the National Gallery Concerts (1939–46), held at British Library shelf marks and Cup.404.c.1/1-11 respectively.


This field allows users to browse by both the musical and physical qualities of the collections. In doing so, however, one should be aware that these labels have been used only when the qualities they describe constitute a prominent part of the collection.

In respect of the musical qualities of the collection, it should be noted that the term ‘first performance’ has been used to identify collections containing programmes documenting outright premieres and works being given for the first time in a particular, town, city or county. Where this is the case, the name of the composer will also appear within the text description.

The term ‘analytical notes’ has been taken to refer to programme notes which are either given that title in the original document or which have been deemed to attempt to say something about the structure of the work(s) concerned: many such notes include musical examples but this does not always need to be the case. ‘Programme Notes’ refers to the inclusion of historical, descriptive and/or biographical material.

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