Guide to Finding Song Lyrics and Recordings

How do I find song lyrics?

How do I find a song that mentions a specific subject?

How do I identify a song I've heard that I don't know the name of?

How do I locate recordings?


 Some suggested strategies for finding song lyrics online:

Visit the artists's website. Many musicians include complete lyrics to their songs on their official websites.

Visit This comprehensive site for contemporary music includes lyrics to many pieces.

Search one of the lyric sites on our Internet resource page.

Perform a google search for "song name" (in quotes), "lyrics," and "artist name" or "Song name," "lyrics," and "composer."

For early songs, search one of the historic sheet music sites offered on our Internet resource page.

Search wikipedia.

Some contemporary artists suppress their song lyrics from being published online. If you aren't able to find the lyrics to a piece written in the last twenty-five years, you may have to transcribe the lyrics from the album's liner notes, or by listening to the song.

If you are starting with a theme or subject for which you'd like to find a song, there are number of ways to go about locating potential pieces:

Perform a google search for "subject" and "song" (just the word song in quotes) or "songs about" and "subject." You may have to be creative and think of synonyms for some of the terms you are looking for. 

Search wikipedia for "songs about" and "subject." Wikipedia has a number of lists on its site that collect songs dealing with particular topics like death, war, etc.

For historic music, many of the sheet music sites we list on our Internet resource page allow you to search their databases by subject.

Look at the songs included on sound tracks for films or television shows that may deal with the topic your looking for.  Many television shows have detailed websites that include songs used in each episode. Additionally, websites like Tune Find help you to identify music you’ve heard in a movie or television show.

What do you do if you've heard a song that you're interested in using in your classroom but you  have no idea of the title or artist:

If you can remember any of the lyrics, perform a google search with that portion of the lyrics in quotes.

If you heard the song on the radio, many stations include playlists on their websites that identify which songs are played each day.

If the song was part of a television show or movie, search Tune Find.  Other sites that may be of assistance include websites devoted to the individual show, and the internet movie database.

For identifying music used in television commercials, try Adtunes.

To locate recordings of particular pieces, try the following:

Search a music download site, like itunes, for the name of the song.

Search for the song name

For older songs, including those that may have originally appeared on obsolete forms of recording, perform a google search using the terms "song name" and "mp3." Keep in mind that if you do this for more recent songs, the results may be illegally posted song files.

Search worldcat for the song name. This catalog searches most U.S. libraries and can let you know which libraries a recording of the piece may be available at.






Other topics under resources:

Internet Resources

Print Resources

Non-print Resources

Guide to finding song lyrics and


Song of America










Copyright 2019 Center for American Music, University of Pittsburgh Library System