Sorabji Resource Site (SRS)

Useful Links for Research

This page provides links to some of the websites, with brief descriptions, that have been helpful in researching Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji.


1939 England and Wales Register: The 1939 England and Wales Register is the only surviving record of the civil population for the period 1921 to 1951. It can be searched for a fee on,, and The website, which requires a paying subscription to go beyond basic lists, allows searching of numerous databases, including British phonebooks and birth and death indexes.

BMDindex: The Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates: Complete BMD Index 1837-2005 makes it possible (for a fee) to search for the details needed to order birth, marriage, and death certificates from the General Register Office.

FamilySearch: The FamilySearch site, run by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints, describes itself as “the largest collection of free family history, family tree and genealogy records in the world”. It provides access to the huge database of their International Genealogical Index.

Findmypast: The Findmypast website offers a paid subscription to search British official records for birth, marriages, and deaths as well as censuses up to 1911, in addition to the 1939 Register.

FreeBDM: The FreeBDM website provides search facilities for the Civil Registration index of births, marriages, and deaths for England and Wales from 1837 onwards. It makes it possible to find years, but not full dates. This data was available until 2008 by searching in huge binders (four for each year) at the Family Records Centre.

National Probate Calendar: The National Probate Calendar can be searched to find the will or probate of any person in the United Kingdom who died since 1858.

Copyright Holders

The WATCH File: The acronym WATCH stands for “Writers, Artists and Their Copyright Holders”. Based at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin, this joint project with the University of Reading Library in England consists of a database of copyright contacts for writers, artists, and prominent people in other creative fields.

Manuscript Collections

Cecilia: Cecilia is an “online guide to music collections in archives, libraries and museums in the UK and Ireland”. It may be helpful to find collections containing letters and/or manuscripts by Sorabji.

National Archives: The National Archives (Kew, West London) bring together the Public Record Office, the Historical Manuscripts Commission, the Office of Public Sector Information and Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. Their online catalogue makes it possible to locate archival sources.

Library and Archives Catalogues

See also the introduction to page Archival Sources for Letters and Other Documents for a list of libraries with substantial Sorabji holdings.

Archives Hub: The Archives Hub provides descriptions of archives held in the United Kingdom.

Concert Programmes: Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and hosted by Cardiff University and the Royal College of Music, the Concert Programmes database provides “descriptions of concert programme collections held by leading libraries, archives and museums in the UK and Ireland”. There are currently no Sorabji entries.

British Library: The British Library’s catalogue may be searched for a substantial collection of editions of Sorabji’s music while its manuscripts catalogue will return entries for the Sorabji manuscripts and letters in its collection.

Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji Collection: The Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji Collection at McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario), for which a detailed finding aid is available, houses the extensive collection of Sorabjiana of the composer’s friend Frank Holliday.

Newspapers: The British Newspaper Archive (British Library, brightsolid online publishing) is a digitization project (subscription required) that aims to cover up to 40 million newspaper pages. For links to newspaper websites, see Bethenny Carl’s Big Index of Global Newspapers.

Paul Sacher Stiftung: The Paul Sacher Stiftung (Basel, Switzerland) is the largest holder of manuscripts by Sorabji. Its catalogue is searchable through the Informationsverbund IDS Basel Bern.

WorldCat: The WorldCat database provides free access to the catalogues of more than 15,000 libraries in more than 100 countries.

Rare Editions is a huge database of books available for purchase from second-hand booksellers. Copies of Mi contra fa and Around Music as well as of original editions of the published scores can often be found (at increasingly high prices).

Dissertations and Academic Writings

EThOS: The British Library’s Electronic Theses Online Service makes it possible to order dissertations for a fee.

Index to Theses: The Index to Theses is a “comprehensive list of theses with abstracts accepted for higher degrees by universities in Great Britain and Ireland since 1716”. Abstracts are usually provided, but there is no full-text service.

ProQuest: ProQuest offers a database of theses and dissertations, mostly from the United States and Canada. With a subscription (which is usually provided by universities to staff and students) one can download the full text of academic writings as PDF files.


Calendars: Steffen Thorsen’s website makes it easy to generate calendars for any year (to find the day of the week on which a particular event happened), calculate the time elapsed between two dates (to find a person’s exact age on a particular date), calculate a person’s date of birth based on the date of death and age, and add or subtract from a date.

Current value of money: The Institute for the Measurement of Worth offers a module entitled Five Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a UK Pound Amount, 1830 to Present on its Measuring Worth website that makes it easy to find the current value of amounts of money. For a similar tool for francs and euros, see Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques, Convertisseur franc-euro: Pouvoir d’achat de l’euro et du franc. Data is available with a delay of usually one year, but sometimes two.

Time calculators: Time calculators can be very useful for adding up a series of durations (e.g., track durations) and seeing cumulative times and averages. One, by Gordon Smith, is limited to ten durations; another, by the Computer Support Group, takes twelve.

Last modified: 2024-03-05
© Marc-André Roberge 2024
Sorabji Resource Site (SRS)
Faculté de musique, Université Laval, Québec

The contents of this website dedicated to the English composer Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji may be freely used for documentary purposes in a research context, provided that due credit is given, but may not be mirrored on any other server. Links to external or third-party websites are not guaranteed to be or remain valid or persistent and their content is not guaranteed to be or remain accurate or appropriate.

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