Read, Write, and Play Music at the Library

Alan Westby, Librarian, Art, Music & Recreation Department,
88-key Casio Privia PX-350 Digital Piano
88-key Casio Privia PX-350 Digital Piano
The Art, Music & Recreation Department at Central Library will now be providing a musical keyboard for patron use in the department. Patrons may use the keyboard behind the Orchestrations Desk for up to two hours at a time by providing staff with their library card number, and leaving a current photo ID. This is an 88-key Casio Privia PX-350 Digital Piano with 250 tones, 128-note polyphony, and a USB connection. Headphones must be used with the keyboard. It is recommended that patrons bring their own, but staff can also provide headphones if needed.
Our new keyboard will enable patrons to get more use out of Central Library's vibrant music collection. The library first began purchasing musical scores for our collection in 1889 when we were located at the current site of the Federal Courthouse. Last year alone, musical scores of various types (from full musical scores to learning guitar) were checked out over 22,000 times by Los Angeles Public Library card holders. Our musical score collection consists of over 77,500 items, a third of which are Reference materials, which can only be used in the library. Currently the musical score collection includes about 51,000 songbooks and an equal number of loose sheet music dating from the 19th century to the present. All sheet music are reference items, as are about half of our songbooks, operas & musicals and study scores. Over the past couple decades, library clerical staff has indexed over 87,000 individual song titles contained in songbooks and sheet music boxes in our collection. These titles are searchable online through our AllSong database.
Man playing a keyboard.
Librarian Bob Anderson plays the 88-key Casio Privia PX-350 Digital Piano which is currently available for use at the Art, Music & Recreation Department at Central Library
One of the more unusual parts of our music collection, as a public library, is the Orchestrations collection, which was started in 1934 when William Andrew Clark, Jr., the founder of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, willed his orchestral collection to the library. The purchase of the Earl Wilson Rental Library in 1948, and a 1980 grant from the Chevron Oil Corporation further expanded the Orchestration collection, which currently consists of the conductors’ scores and performing parts to over 2,390 different titles or orchestral music and full operas. Orchestration items do not circulate to the general public, but are used by performing organizations Southern California who open accounts with us. All patrons may view these reference items at the Orchestrations Desk, where the new keyboard will be located. The Orchestrations Catalog is available online for searches.
With the new keyboard, patrons will be able to get more use from our scores, including reference items by playing through them. Patrons are also free to use the keyboard for their own purposes, such as musical composition, working through musical assignments, or just for enjoyment. 
To reiterate, there are thousands of songbooks, orchestral scores, piano music, opera scores, etc. that the Los Angeles Public Library has in our colleciton. Any of these books would be equally valid for use with this keyboard at the Art, Music & Recreation Department. However, the following booklist is a sampling of piano songbooks, all of which we have here at the library. Enjoy them at home, or here at the library with our new Casio Digital Piano.

Selected List of Piano Song Books  

Opera songs. The Choicest Selection From All The Standard Operas New and Old ...

First 50 Broadway Songs You Should Play On The Piano: Easy Piano.

The Best of Today's Movie Hits: Piano, Vocal, Guitar

Light Opera and Ballet Excerpts. Piano
Wier, Albert E. (Albert Ernest), 1879-1945.

Mass in B minor; for soli, chorus and orchestra. Edited by Frank Damrosch. Vocal score.
Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750.

The Lieder Anthology

The Greatest Songs Of The Rock Era: Piano, Vocal, Guitar.

The Best Jazz Standards Ever: Piano, Vocal, Guitar.

The Blues Singer: Some of America's Greatest Blues Songs.

All-Time Favorite Country Songs For Easy Piano.

Christmas Songs: Lyrics, Chord Symbols and Guitar Chord Diagrams for 40 Songs

Beethoven, Ludwig van, 1770-1827.

Valses pour piano
Chopin, Frederic, 1810-1849.

Complete Piano Works
Joplin, Scott, 1868-1917, composer.

The Collected Piano Music
Morton, Jelly Roll, -1941.

Piano Sonatas
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791.

Jazz Piano: A Systematic Approach To Improvisation
Edison, Roger.

Making Music At The Piano
Schaum, John W. (John Walter), 1905-1988.