Types of scores and how to find them

Performing editions: What are these?

  • Performing editions, as defined by Laurie Sampsel in Music Research: A Handbook, 3th ed. 3th ed. (p. 281), are: “score edited and published for the purpose of being used by performers”
  • These editions are intended to be used for performance, and are specifically created by an individual (often a performer themselves rather than a scholar) to meet the needs of performers.
  • They include editorial markings like fingerings and suggestions for how to interpret phrasing or expression markings, but these suggestions represent only one editor’s stylistic conception of the piece and may differ from another person’s interpretation.
  • Some editors might include extended writings on their thoughts about performance practice, but performing editions do not usually contain a critical commentary that explains the editor’s reasoning.
  • There are often a number of performing editions for a single piece (that may have been created by editors with varying levels of expertise), so each performer must evaluate all options before choosing the edition that they want to use themselves.

What do performing editions look like?

Examples of performing editions:

Liszt, Franz. Klaviersonate h-Moll. Edited by Ernst Herttrich, Marc-André Hamelin. Munich: G. Henle Verlag, 2016.


Liszt, Franz. Sonate en si mineur. Edited by Alfred Cortot. Paris: Editions Salabert, 1949.

Tips for finding performing editions

  • These will likely be the majority of scores you’ll find in a search for scores
  • Not every piece has an Urtext edition! If you don't see the word "Urtext" in the title or the description of the item in the Libraries catalog record, and if there's no introduction indicating that the score is an Urtext edition, than it probably is not
  • Try searching by a particular editor’s name (if known)
Last Updated: Nov 22, 2021 2:06 PM