Music Faculty Library

Music Faculty Library: Inside the ‘MFL’

Inside the ‘MFL’

I’m in situ blogging again, tucked away in a corner of the Music Faculty Library, and trying to pretend, whenever a creative-looking musician comes by looking for scores on the bookshelf behind me, that I’m studying Debussy rather than negligence. I wonder if they know I am an imposter.

If you’re someone who studies and understands music, look away now, because I knew, even as I walked into the place, that I am in an overwhelmingly ignorant position to say anything interesting about the materials that are actually inside it. Still, clinging on to my reasonable musical education, I ventured among the bookshelves.

I quickly gathered that the ground floor is focused on instrumental scores, including miniature scores by famous classical composers (which are what their name suggests – teeny tiny A6 booklets of musical genius) and giant folio scores (nominally and literally the opposite, which I did not take a photo of in case I dropped the 2m long book and damaged it). Out of interest, I tried to find a Scarlatti Sonata I’d played in the past, written for the harpsichord, and actually managed to locate the score in a book. The ground floor also contains journals and academic musical books. The ‘aesthetics of music’ – who would’ve thought a study of that existed, yet what a wonderful concept.

So what about audio materials, I wondered, does the MFL have those? I found several collections of opera CDs – you know, the genuine stuff, good quality music. But apparently Music studies do not demand large collections of 21st century pop charts. For a second, I thought about asking one of the librarians why they don’t collect P!nk, but on second thoughts quickly put the urge away.


Standing at the top of the MFL spiral staircase

I have thoroughly befuddled myself with the collections of choral scores and church choir music upstairs. I’m going to spent some time reading my own work but with headphones plugged in, and hope this is enough of a qualification for me to be here.

Thank you to the Music Faculty Library (@Bodleian_Music) for permission for photography.


3 thoughts on “Music Faculty Library

    1. It is a lovely place to work – I went back there today, it’s amazing how quickly the environment gets my essay written! I’ve registered with the library now. I’m sure I missed a lot of interesting things. Perhaps I’ll discover more in time!

  1. Update: I’ve been advised by Stephen Jordan, librarian at the Music Faculty Library, that in the photo marked ‘Upstairs’, the wheel in the window is there because the building used to be St Catherine’s College, and it is a Catherine Wheel. Fascinating – thanks for the info!

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