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Notes 60.2 (2003) 407-414

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Prices of Music Monographs and Scores as Reflected in Notes, 1997-2002

Compiled by Brad Short


Once again, the numbers presented here are based on data drawn from the "Books Recently Published" and "Music Received" columns only. This allows the reporting of prices to reflect current publishing trends and not become skewed by the time lag for reviews to appear in Notes. In addition, only imprints from 2000 and forward are included in the calculations for the year 2002.

This year's column also separates books into English, German, Italian, French, and Spanish so that price trends can be tracked by language. The above-mentioned Notes columns listed 1,762 books in the year 2002, though prices were included or could be found for only 1,200 (68 percent) that met the criterion of a 2000 imprint date or later. Of English-language books, 582 of 842 (or 69 percent) are included; likewise, 305 of 387 German-language books (79 percent), 134 of 207 Italian-language books (65 percent), 126 of 180 French-language books (70 percent), and 53 of 146 Spanish-language books (36 percent). No distinction is made between monographs published in series and those published separately.


  1. Occasionally, it is difficult to determine from the bibliographic information appearing in Notes in which category a score might best belong. These situations, therefore, required some interpretation and guesswork by this compiler.
  2. While reprint editions are included, reissues are avoided if they can be easily identified.
  3. Prices are presented per volume. Music titles that are issued as a unit (e.g., score and parts) are counted as one volume; those that require multiple copies to perform (e.g., two-piano scores) are counted as separate volumes.
  4. When prices were not provided in Notes, they were obtained from Books-In-Print or OCLC WorldCat. If no price was found, the item was removed from this survey.[End Page 407]
  5. Inconsistencies persist throughout the data and therefore it is suggested that these figures be used with some care. Several categories have so few items that the arithmetic mean prices should be considered tenuous at best. They represent the best guess of what prices were for a given year. These calculations are intended to be used for library collection-planning purposes only.

The definitions for the categories are:

Monographs: Books that are typically classified in the Library of Congress classification ML or MT. Books issued as installments in a publisher's continuation under a distinctive series title are included as well. This category includes books taken from the "Books Recently Published" column of Notes with an imprint date not more than three years old, which are divided by the languages English, German, Italian, Spanish, and French. This category no longer includes titles from the "Book Reviews" column of Notes.

Historical and monumental editions: Critical editions of scores usually representing specific ethnic, national, geographical, or chronological repertories, or the compositions of a particular individual. Such scores are often placed in special sections of library classification schemes, as in classes M2, M3, and M3.1 of the Library of Congress classification. These scores usually appear with critical apparatus and include facsimile editions not intended primarily for performance. Titles issued with parts or an accompanying volume of critical notes are counted as one item.

Large instrumental works: Includes orchestral works, concertos, wind ensembles, and band music. Full scores present the notation for all the performing forces required by a composition simultaneously, by means of vertical and horizontal alignment and placement upon each page. Parts are not included.

Multivoice vocal works: Includes operas, oratorios, choral works, and musicals. Both full and vocal scores are included. Vocal scores present the text and notation for all the vocal lines required by a composition, but present the notation for all the accompanying instrumental forces condensed and arranged for a single keyboard instrument—typically a piano or organ. Choral octavos are excluded.

Chamber ensembles: Scores typically featuring any combination of two to nine solo instruments with no single instrument featured prominently [End...


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