Looking for music

We hold the largest collection of music in New Zealand. If you’re looking for published music material, including books, journals and sound recordings, start at our reading room at Molesworth Street.

From here you can access any book, periodical, music score, video, DVD or sound recording in the General Music Collection for use within the National Library building.

The General Music Collection

The General Music Collection includes the substantial collection donated in 1987 by Radio New Zealand. It is constantly enriched by new donations and acquisitions.

International in scope, the General Music Collection also includes a significant quantity of published New Zealand material.

This collection enhances the resources of other New Zealand libraries, music organisations and individuals by:

  • supplying items to libraries and their clients through the Interloan scheme
  • responding to requests for information from libraries, schools, music organisations and individuals on any aspect of music
  • providing choral and orchestral sets for hire
  • building collections to complement and enhance the music resources of New Zealand.

Collection highlights

All styles of music are represented in a variety of formats:

Printed music

  • collected works of composers
  • full and miniature scores
  • chamber music scores and parts
  • solo instrumental music
  • vocal scores
  • classical and popular songs
  • instrumental and vocal tutors
  • choral sets
  • orchestral sets
  • dance band parts.

Reference literature

  • dictionaries and encyclopaedias
  • thematic catalogues
  • library catalogues
  • repertoire guides
  • discographies
  • bibliographies
  • general music reference books
  • music periodicals.

Lending literature topics

  • biographies
  • music history
  • musical analysis
  • performance practice
  • music theory and composition
  • musical instruments
  • general music literature.

Audio visual resources

  • CDs
  • cassettes
  • LPs
  • 78rpm discs
  • cylinders
  • DVDs
  • videos.

Music services at the National Library


Music staff can assist you with enquiries covering any aspect of New Zealand and international music.

We welcome enquiries from libraries, schools, music organisations or individual clients located anywhere in New Zealand.

We can also help you develop a personal research strategy or refer you to other sources of information within New Zealand and overseas.

Choral and orchestral score hire

A large collection of more than 4,700 orchestral sets and 2,500 choral sets is available for hire directly from the Library.

Find out more about hiring music sets.


Music faciltites (including access to our collections, piano studio, research services) are available at the National Library building on Molesworth Street.

Sound and video duplication

Copies of recordings from the General Music Collection can be requested. Please note that where necessary, clients are required to obtain copyright approval in writing from the copyright owner before copying can commence.

Alexander Turnbull Library music collections

Published heritage collections

The Turnbull Library collects all music published in New Zealand. Please talk to Music staff about accessing these collections.

Unpublished heritage collections

Unpublished music materials such as manuscript scores, personal papers and organisations’ archives are held in the Turnbull Library’s Archive of New Zealand Music.

Many of these items are catalogued and can be found by searching on this site.

How to access an item

As these items are original and require careful use, please ask Music staff about accessing items in the Turnbull Library as appointments may be required.

Other music resources

Archive of Māori and Pacific Music

PO Box 92-019, Auckland

Anthropology Department, University of Auckland

Archives New Zealand

PO Box 12-050, Wellington

10 Mulgrave Street, Wellington

SOUNZ New Zealand - Centre for New Zealand Music

PO Box 10-042, Wellington

Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

PO Box 11-449, Wellington

Te Anakura Whitiāhua, 84 Taranaki Street

Hocken Library

PO Box 56, Dunedin


The noisy library of New Zealand music