Music Special Collections

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - Historical Music Collections

The Music Collection of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh includes numerous historical collections, files, and indexes that cover all aspects of music, including material related to music and musicians in the Pittsburgh area. Books, scores, periodicals, and scrapbooks from the libraries of 19th and 20th century Pittsburgh musicians form a historical base for the collection.

For access to these resources, please call the Music Department at 412.622.3105 or email

The Bakaleinikoff Tablecloth: This tablecloth, framed and hanging in the front room of the Music Department at CLP – Main, was autographed by over 100 visiting classical musicians, composers, and conductors who performed in Pittsburgh from 1946 to 1953. They were friends and associates of Vladimir and Julia Bakaleinikoff. Each signature was then embroidered by Julia.

The Maurice Levy Oral History of Music in Pittsburgh Collection: (OHMP) consists of more than 300 interviews, conducted by Mr. Maurice Levy (unless indicated otherwise), between 1991 and 2005. The interviews include a wide variety of people in Pittsburgh who have been involved with music in the areas of jazz, classical, popular, folk, and traditional.

Musical Forecast: This is a Pittsburgh music magazine, published monthly between 1921-1948. It covers global events and world-famous musicians. The primary focus of The Musical Forecast is on Pittsburgh’s musical life, its musical leadership and supporting organizations. David H. Light was Managing Editor until his death in August 1941. Feature Editor, Harvey Gaul, and several associate editors assumed leadership until January 1943 when Mrs. David H Light became Managing Editor through its final issue of July 1948.

Musical Pittsburgh: 1758-1908: The Music Department’s index covers all of the music-related entries in a lengthy essay on the history of music in Pittsburgh up to 1908. It is from the volume: Sesqui-Centennial and Historical Souvenir of the Greater Pittsburgh, edited and compiled by Henry Brownfield Scott.

Pittsburgh CD Collection: Features musicians, musical groups and composers from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the surrounding region. It also contains recordings of musicians from around the world, but recorded in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Concert Programs: A large collection of music concert programs from Pittsburgh, dating back to the mid 19th Century. This includes individual programs held in a file cabinet, programs from specific organizations that have been bound together, and programs put into scrapbooks created by various individuals or organizations.

Pittsburgh International Contemporary Music Festival 1952: Held November 24-30, 1952, this event garnered the city’s musical community in performances of newly composed works with a virtual “who’s-who” of living composers in the western musical world. CLP holdings include a Program & Press Book, recordings, music manuscripts, and materials in the Pittsburgh Music Information File.

Pittsburgh Jazz Musicians: All of the artists listed here have contributed to Pittsburgh’s reputation as one of the most important cities in the history of jazz.

Pittsburgh Music Archival Material: An index to finding aids of scrapbooks, clipping files, and other archival materials pertaining to the history of music in Pittsburgh, primarily during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Pittsburgh Music Information File: contains a large collection of newspaper clippings, magazine articles, and other ephemera. Subjects include Pittsburgh musicians, musical groups, orchestras, opera companies, music venues, night clubs, associations, societies, organizations, record companies, choral groups, events, and other topics and people with a connection to Pittsburgh. These are documents that Carnegie Library music librarians collected before the development of the Internet, and include rare and unique items not easily found in other places.​

Pittsburgh Music Newsletters: Newsletters from Pittsburgh music organizations.

Pittsburgh Orchestra Correspondence: The Pittsburgh Orchestra, in existence from 1896 – 1910, was Pittsburgh’s world renown, premier orchestra during Andrew Carnegie’s heyday.  The Music Department holds the archives of the Pittsburgh Orchestra including correspondence, contracts, concert programs, newspaper clippings, notes, publicity flyers, and other ephemera that have been bound together in 23 volumes.

Pittsburgh Vinyl Record Collection: Features musicians, musical groups and composers from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the surrounding region. It includes 33 rpm and 45 rpm records.

Who’s Who in Pittsburgh Music Circles – by Ralph Lewando: Ralph Lewando, music critic for the Pittsburgh Press from 1930 to 1957, wrote a weekly column “Who’s Who in Pittsburgh Music Circles” from 1941 to 1954. The Library owns five scrapbooks containing those columns, each with a photograph of the musician featured along with a short piece on his or her contribution to the musical life of the city. The scrapbooks are organized in order by date.

Sheet Music Collections

Barbershop Quartet Sheet Music Collection: A supplemental collection of a capella music arranged for a quartet of male singers (TTBB) or female singers (SSAA). All four vocal parts are arranged on a single piece of music.

Dance Orchestra Sheet Music Collection: Consisting of close to 300 titles, this collection of dance orchestra music parts likely reflects what might have been heard on KDKA radio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania before live orchestras were replaced with recorded music. Established in 1920, KDKA describes itself as the first commercial radio station in the United States

Organ Sheet Music Collection: A non-circulating, supplemental collection of over 1300 individual pieces of organ sheet music, made richer by numerous gifts from distinguished local organists, including Caspar Koch, the Pittsburgh City Organist from 1904 – 1954.

Pittsburgh Sheet Music Collection: A unique non-circulating collection of over 1000 titles of sheet music published in or near Pittsburgh since the early 19th century. Also included are titles by Pittsburgh composers published elsewhere.

Vocal Sheet Music Collection: A non-circulating, supplemental collection of over 5700 individual pieces of sheet music. You might also check the Library’s catalog for thousands of other songs within songbooks shelved in the department.

Music Journals and Magazines – Current and Historical

Music Periodicals – Current and Historical: In print and on microfilm. Some of these periodicals, as well as a number of additional titles, can be accessed electronically.

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