Off-Topic: How do you sort your printed sheet music? :-)

Dear Doricians,

currently I’m tidying out the house (not much else to do) and somehow there is a big stack of printed sheet music in front of me. Mainly vocal music for the choir, just printed out and not sorted in any way.

How do you guys sort your printed sheet music? With composers name or with genre first (piano, vocal, orchestral) and then composers name? (and what about those christmas songs where there is no composer known?). Or are you already fully digitalized and don’t own any paper sheets because you have them on your iPad? :wink:

Also, is there a nice way to keep them in a folder because I don’t want to perforate them…

I’m excited for your answers!


Fully digitized! Most lead sheets are PDFs on iPad and never get printed. Conductors scores too. Players’ parts are print-on-demand.

I use

All scores are in labeled weatherproof boxes in my basement, with a de-humidifier turned on 24/7 just for extra security. When I need to use or rent something, I just look up the item’s location on the LibraryThing website or the iPhone app prior to fetching it. If I need to rent something, I mark the item “checked out” in the system, date, who requested it, etc.

I’ve done this for years and years, and it works great!

Other scores which I like to refer to more often—full scores of operas, symphonies, and the like—are all organized by composer.

As soon as you organise them physically in one way, then there are exceptions or an alternative preference for a different way.

One way is to number each one starting at 001, and then create a database (could even add a photo of the cover) or spreadsheet which has the useful information.
Then use this to search.
(If anything is to be lent, add this in until its return).

Perhaps create loose categories, like Christmas, physically in a different folder or box, but still listing (so you can find a specific carol or arrangement or key etc.).

Include any digital PDFs in the database.

Depending on the amount of paper you have, you could use a filing system of some kind, cabinet, plastic (waterproof) container, with hanging file folders.
Print out the file in various sort ways if useful (put in its own folder at the front) so you might easily find what you need without having to go to the iPad or computer to search if the search is straight forward.

Just an idea :slight_smile:

I do the same, though I do separate them into three categories: choral,
orchestral and chamber music.

Then the problem is that I need to separate the orchestral category into
three sizes, miniature scores, study scores, and full scores – and then
remember which category I have!

The real irritation comes when I move house, which I have done too many
times during the past 20 years, and the scores get all mixed up again…

But I still prefer paper to scores on the ipad: I can find the page much
quicker. That said, I have considerably reduced the number of times I
turn the printer on, and hardly ever use manuscript paper any more.

Then there’s CDs/DVD/BluRays – not to mention media files stored on the

Life was much simpler before computers.


Oldie scores for my practice I have laying around in piles :grin: For my music I keep print backups of the digital (lost too many digital files over the years), I keep them in a set of file cabinets.