Repertory Guides (ML 128, 1100)

Vocal Literature

Challis, Natalia. The Singer’s Rachmaninoff.

Coffin, Berton. Singer’s Repertoire, 2d ed., 5 vols.

Classical Vocal Music in Print

Kagen, Sergius. Music for the Voice.

Challis, Natalia. The Singer’s Rachmaninoff. New York: Pelion Press, 1989. ML 54.6 .R18 S52 1989 (Stacks NOT Music Reference)

Use: A guide to the background, translation, and pronunciation of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s art songs. Intended for the singer of teacher of Russian art song.

Coverage: The complete published art songs of Rachmaninoff.

Organization: The book is divided into four chapters: Russian Pronunciation and Diction, Rachmaninoff and his Time, Rachmaninoff and the Russian Poetic Tradition, and Songs. Song entries are grouped by Opus number. Background and description of the songs in the opus are given at the beginning, followed by the songs. Each song is entered with dates of composition, publication, publisher, dedications, source of the text, and the text in Russian with international phonetic alphabet transliteration and English translation. Appendixes include a chronology of Rachmaninoff’s life and a catalog of the songs. Bibliography. Index of titles, index of first lines, and index of names.

Pros: Clear and logical typographical layout. Helpful pronunciation guide, and song texts are all fully transliterated into IPA.

Cons: Full annotations for songs are not given (such as key, range, voice type, and accompaniment difficulty).

Review: Freeman, Kevin A. Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association XLVII/2 (December 1990): 399-400.


Coffin, Berton. Singer’s Repertoire, 2d ed., 5 vols. New York: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.,

1960-62. Mus Ref ML 128.V7 C67 1960

Use: Extensive guide to classical solo repertoire for all voice types. Useful to teacher, student, and performer for finding appropriate music and programming recitals.

Coverage: Vocal repertoire for all voice types including recital songs, arias, and other American, British, French, German, Italian, and miscellaneous art songs.

Organization: First four volumes include repertoire listings by composer. Volume1 for Coloratura, lyric, and dramatic soprano, volume 2 for mezzo soprano and contralto, volume 3 for lyric and dramatic tenor, volume 4 for baritone and bass. Each entry includes voice type, range, and publisher code. Volume 5–program notes, includes brief poetic translations, and a small descriptive paragraph for the more major composers.

Pros: Easy to use.

Cons: Not all foreign songs from first volumes are listed in the program notes–only more well-known pieces. Translations in program notes are not word for word. Out of date for more modern classical works.


Classical Vocal Music in Print

Nardone, Thomas R., ed. Classical Vocal Music in Print. Philadelphia: Musicdata, Inc., 1976. Mus Ref ML 128 .V7 N335

Eslinger, Gary S. and F. Mark Daugherty, eds. Classical Vocal Music in Print–1985 Supplement. Philadelphia: Musicdata, Inc., 1986. Mus Ref ML 128 .V7 N335 Suppl.

Daugherty, F. Mark, ed. Classical Vocal Music in Print – 1995 Supplement. Philadelphia: Musicdata, Inc., 1995. Mus Ref ML 128 .V7 N335 1995 Suppl.

________. Classical Vocal Music in Print–Master Index. Philadelphia: Musicdata, Inc., 1995. Mus Ref ML 128 .V7 M335 1995 index.

Use: Intended for the vocal artist in finding music to use in recital, religious, or concert stage performance. Includes all styles of music except popular. Purpose is to supply current guides and comprehensive coverage of editions available from publishers. The master index gives a good panoramic view of composer’s vocal works in print.

Coverage: All styles of classical vocal music for one or more voices including many folk songs (due to demand in recitals), but excluding popular music and composers. Also covers music from international and domestic music publishers. (1976 edition includes 34,030 entries).

Organization: Entries are alphabetically integrated by title and composer (titles are cross referenced to composer listings). Entries listed by composer include title, voice and instrumentation, publisher, and publisher number (for the author’s future cataloguing reference). Some entries also contain collection information, catalog number or opus, edition information, arranger, original language, difficulty rating, publishers number, availability and prices. The master index is in 2 sections: first, alphabetical by composer with works listed below, and second, alphabetical by title. Reference number following index entries indicates the volume in which the work is found.

Pros: Extensive cross-referencing.

Cons: Some operatic arias indicate med-hi or med-lo voice instead of exact voice type. No methods or studies included.


Kagen, Sergius. Music for the Voice. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1968. Mus Ref ML 128 .V7 K3 1968

Use: An extensive annotated guide listing of classical vocal solo music for singer, teacher, coach, and amateur.

Coverage: Songs and airs of major composers in major European languages. Dates from the 17th to 20th-century. Also includes folk songs in English, and opera arias and duets.

Organization: Sectioned according to genre. Subsections are alphabetical by composer. Entries begin with short descriptions of the composer’s contributions, then list title, role (if an aria), range, tessatura, voice type, and comments.

Cons: Short annotation of every piece (a few annotations seem inaccurate–the author doesn’t seem to have looked at the music). Opera and folk songs are poorly represented.