Free text search allows the location of specific words regardless of the field(s) in which they appear, or if they have not been separately coded. This might for example apply to dedicatees, librettists, the subjects of illustrations, names or places that appear in titles, instruments not included in the Classification lists, prices, or any number of technical terms that appear in the Monatsberichte, such as Lichtdruck (a printing technique) or Leporello (a type of binding) All the text in the database is searched, including for example Classification headings as well as bibliographic items. Thesauri are not used.

It is possible to search for just one or all of the search terms, and in the latter case in the specified sequence or in any sequence. Searching is neither case nor accent sensitive (thus 'marsche' will find 'Märsche'), and wildcard characters (?, *) may be used: ? substitutes for a single character, while * substitutes for any number of characters. Other non-alphanumerical characters (e.g. ', +, -) are ignored. For cyrillic entries it is possible to paste cyrillic characters into the search box, but it is more reliable to use the thesaurus when searching for composers, and transliterations for titles (the system adopted is that used in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians). Results may be limited to a specified range of months and years: to select just one year, enter it in the 'From' field and leave 'To' blank. If the 'Month' field is not filled in, the whole of the relevant year will be searched.

Results may be sorted by up to three keys selected from the drop-down lists near the bottom of the screen (Composer, Date, Opus, Publication place, Publisher, Title; note that sorting does not use thesauri but is based on what is in the actual entries). You may also specify the maximum total of results to be returned, and the maximum number of results to be displayed per page; be careful of choosing 'All' if there is likely to be a very large number of results. Results may include both bibliographic and other items (e.g. Hofmeister classification headings); in either case there are links to the Monatsbericht page in which the item is found, in the form of either transcription or facsimile. If you wish to amend your search rather than start a new one, select 'Back to search' on the results page.