The Dalley Horn Catalogue

The Dalley Horn Catalogue is a great resource that I had heard about for many years, but didn’t get around to buying until very recently.  Compiled and indexed by Nielsen Dalley, this massive index contains thousands of entries. As a quick introduction to the catalog, I’ve included a quotation from the CD-ROM liner notes.

The Dalley Horn Catalogue – 2006 Edition CD – is greatly expanded and now includes over 28,600 entries.  And 2,500 of those entries include a musical incipit…The entire Baker’s “Biographical Dictionary of Music and Musicians” 2001 Edition, G. Schirmer has been examined and every applicable reference is now included in this catalogue…Two major rental libraries have been surveyed and their information has been suitably noted in the remarks for their works.”

I believe the catalog is available in print, but the CD version is more compact and probably easier to use.  The index was created using database software, which can be searched and cross-referenced very quickly.  Instructions for using the interface are included with the CD. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface with this resource, but I’ve included a few screen shots and sample searches to demonstrate some of the possibilities. The most powerful part of the catalog, in my opinion, is the FIND function.  Selecting this option will bring up the menu shown below (click on any of the following screen shots to zoom in).

There are over 50 fields which can be used to find various works and composers, but the ones I’ve been using the most lately are “composer,” “composition date,” “instrumentation,” and “nationality.”  Other fields include the opus, range of the horn part, publication date, and so on.  I’m sure you’re beginning to see just how useful this database could be, not just to performers, but to teachers, conductors, and many others. For instance, lets say that I wanted to search the catalog for horn and piano works by Canadian composers – I would enter the desired criteria into the appropriate fields, like this. *Many of the fields have presets which appear in drop down menu when you click, but you can also manually enter search information into them as well.

The search yielded 56 entries – plenty of repertoire to choose from for recitals and other programs.  I did another search for music by English composers, and one of the many records it returned was an entry for the second movement of Malcolm Arnold’s Horn Concerto No. 1 (piano reduction), shown below.

Looking at this entry, you can see that most of the information fields are self-explanatory, and a musical incipit is included at the bottom. One could easily spend several hours just browsing the catalog, or trying different types of searches. If you’re wondering how to purchase a copy of the Dalley Horn Catalogue, you can contact Nielsen Dalley by email – which is what I did. I know he reads and contributes to the horn email lists, and his contact information is not difficult to find.  However, if you would like his email address you can contact me by email.  The price is very reasonable, especially when compared to what a printed index of comparable size would cost.  Dalley has done the horn playing world a great service by compiling this index, and I only wish more people knew about it.  Perhaps if the database could be put into an online format more people might be able to access the information.

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Hi Ricardo,

Yes, I noticed that the link isn’t working…I wasn’t able to find much info on Dalley on the internet at all. I managed to find his email address by checking the horn email lists.



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