The IRCAM multimedia library is a resource center for contemporary music, science, and music and sound technologies. Boasting 35,000 documents, its collection grows in rhythm with the institute’s artistic season and research activities.
Created in 1996, the multimedia library is intended for a specialized population of students, instructors, researchers, scientists, musicians, professionals working in the domain of music, but also welcomes music lovers and those curious to learn more about artistic creation and sciences.

Books, scores, periodicals, theses, sound recordings, films, and program notes can either be consulted in situ in the reading room or borrowed (how to borrow materials). Our databases provide numerous musical and scientific resources online.

  • Our collection houses approximately 13,000 books on music from 1945 to the present (theory, aesthetics, composers, instrumental techniques), science and technology for music and sound (sound signal processing, instrumental acoustics, room acoustics, computer music technology, psychoacoustics). The ensemble is contextualized with the presence of works on history, philosophy, linguistics, and sociology.
  • Over 50 subscriptions to periodicals that cover the domains of musical creation, computer music, acoustics, perception, and technologies for sound.
  • Over 400 dissertations and theses in musicology and acoustics, signal processing and computer science applied to music.
  • Nearly 9,000 scores, essentially works from the 20th and 21st centuries, particularly works from the repertoire performed at IRCAM. Approximately 1,000 volumes of critiques from the Baroque to the modern period are also available.
  • Approximately 1,300 recordings dedicated to the music of the 20th century and today and 200  films (portraits of composers, documentaries, recordings of performances).
  • Databases accessible online from terminals in the reading room: the Grove (a dictionary of music and musicians), the IIPA (International Index to Performing Arts), and the IIMP (International Index to Music Periodicals).
  • An information database on contemporary composers: Brahms. This database was entirely redone in 2007 and has been progressively brought up to date. It offers numerous biographies and catalogs of works (with detailed notices and program notes). Aesthetic texts written by musicologists relating the lives of the great figures of the music world from 1945 on. Detailed research modules on works and composers make very advanced searches possible. Users can search by orchestra size or musical genre, for example.

The IRCAM Archives

The multimedia library collects and conservers the sound and/or visual traces of events organized by IRCAM since its creation in 1977. The archives include over 1,200 concerts, other events (conferences, workshops, debates), and 800 program notes representing the institute's memory. This collection (the Archiprod database) is constantly added to with each new event. The complete sound archives are available only in the reading room at the multimedia library for copyright reasons. Three-minute long excerpts can be heard online. Program notes can be consulted in their entirety online.

Recently, IRCAM has developed an audiovisual activity based on the elaboration of works created at IRCAM (the series Images of a Work) or on the research carried out in the institute (notably the IRCAM Snapshots series). These films can be seen on the Resources portal and on Dailymotion.

Work by the IRCAM researchers (articles, reports, dissertations, contributions to a colloquium, etc.) are referenced in the Architexte database. This database functions according to the principle of open archives; the goal of which is to encourage the free dissemination of scientific publications.

Contemporary Music Portal

In 2007, IRCAM and other organizations with large collections in the domain of contemporary music came together to create a gateway.  This gateway provides a common interface enabling users to peruse a number of catalogues and database, facilitating the localization of resources.
The founding partners of this project are the IRCAM multimedia library, the Cdmc, the Médiathèque Musicale Mahler, the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris, the Cité de la Musique, and the Ensemble intercontemporain. Twenty other institutions have joined the gateway since its inception.