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Music: Search Tips

General Advice

It's a good idea to look at the Help or Search Tips feature in each database you use to see what characters and symbols they suggest for boolean operators, truncation, wildcard, and proximity options. It may vary slightly between databases.

Boolean Operators

Use ALL CAPS when using AND, OR, NOT to broaden or narrow your search. 

Examples:

Brahms AND cello

violoncello OR cello

Adams NOT president

You can also 'nest' terms by placing them in parentheses:

Brahms AND (violoncello OR cello)

Wildcard

Wildcards are often represented by the question mark ? or the pound sign #. 

? = unknown letter

# = alternate spelling

Examples:

Analysis 

Analyses

Search suggestion: analys?s

Color

Colour

Search suggestion: colo#r

JSTOR

Try adding ty:fla to your search string. It's a good way to omit the reviews that tend to show up when searching for music. It means type: full length article.

Sample search:

"chichester psalms" ty:fla

More JSTOR search tips:

Advanced Search

Truncation

The asterisk symbol * is often used to take into account various endings of words. Start with the root of the word and then add the * at the end.

Analysis

Analyses

Analyze

Analyse  

Analytical              

Search suggestion: analy*

Hypermeter

Hypermetre

Hypermetric

Hypermetrical

Hyptermetriques

Search suggestion: hypermet*

Proximity

Common proximity terms

NEAR: finds two words in any order within the range you specify

WITH: finds two words in the exact order within the range you specify

Examples:

Brahms N5 hypermeter
This means you want to find the terms Brahms and hypermeter within 5 words of each other in any order.

Brahms W5 hypermeter
This means you want to find the terms Brahms and hypermeter within 5 words of each in that exact word order.

Be sure to check the Search Tips in the database you choose. You may need to use N/5 or W/5.

Often the Advanced Search box will have this as as an option in a drop-down menu next to the search box.