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This module represents recommendations for choral library systems filing music, distributing music for rehearsal and for storing choral music. Various processes are discussed.

The choral library

The choral library is the heart of the choral department. If it is operated efficiently and smoothly, many hours and many copies of music will be saved. If it is a haphazard arrangement, the efficiency of the department can suffer. There are several aspects of the choral library—the card index (either hard copy or a computer file), storage, repair, and distribution. In each of these areas, there are further delineations. Each of these will be discussed below.

Computer filing system

The choral library can be organized by using a personal computer. The PC is a very efficient means of maintaining the records of a music library. In fact, retaining a large quantity of information and having it easily accessible is the purpose of a computer. Several software packages are available for purchase and are increasingly easy to use. The PC has been purchased in large quantities by schools, and choral directors should request one, if they do not have one already, for the choral library and for other purposes for the choral department. In addition to maintaining the records of the choral library, one may also record all vital information on single copies for future reference and the PC can be used as an aid in the selection of repertoire. Compositions can be cross-referenced and computer searches can be done by type, title, composer, text, difficulty, etc. However, there are many community choirs and church choirs that do not have access to a computer for these purposes. In some cases the conductor can use his personal computer while in other cases no computer is available. Until a computer is available to you the following card index system will continue to be helpful.

Card index file

A good card file system can still save many hours searching for pieces that were thought to be in one place, only to find that they were filed in another. A card file should contain all the pertinent information that a director would want to know before he wanted to see the music itself—voicing, number of copies on file, accompanied or unaccompanied, library number and, if possible, the last time the piece was performed and by which choir.

One can make file cards by determining the information one wishes to include and copying this on 3" X 5" cards. There are cards available commercially that are convenient and usable. Colored cards are available for particular filing purposes, such as white for the title card and other colors for the composer card, classification, text and voicing cards if that detail of cross-referencing is desired. In a modest library a lot of information can be placed on one card for ease of filing.

This system of cataloging each piece under the areas indicated is one that provides a method of finding music quickly and easily. As each piece is purchased and entered into the library it is stamped to indicate ownership and given a folder number (if music is assigned by number to each singer.) The necessary information is then entered on cards. Each card is then filed separately. Only one composer, title, and text and voicing card will be completed, but as many classification cards can be used as the director sees fit. O Clap Your Hands, by Ralph Vaughan Williams (Galaxy Music Corporation, #CCL 222) could be classified under Sacred (Praise), Festival, and Works with Instrumental Accompaniment, for example. Each new piece is given a library number and all music is numbered consecutively (without regard to alphabetical order). The music is then placed in a filing envelope or folder and placed in the storage library.

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Source:  OpenStax, Choral techniques. OpenStax CNX. Mar 08, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11191/1.1
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