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Music Research Guide

A guide to print, electronic and Internet resources in music.


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Bruce D. Hall
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This guide contains references to print, electronic, and Internet resources found in and via the Newton Gresham Library. This information is intended to provide you with a starting point as you begin your research in music.

This guide is not comprehensive; it does not list all of the resources in Music and its many subdisciplines owned by the Library or available on the Internet. This guide will show you some of the resources with which you can begin reseasrch.

Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

The Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music and Musicians
ML100 .H36    1999
"...Offers definitions of musical terms; succinct characterizations of the various forms of musical compositions; entries that identify individual operas, oratorios, symphonic poems, and other works; illustrated descriptions of instruments; and capsule summaries of the lives and careers of composers, performers, and theorists."

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
ML100 .N48  2001   29 volumes   2001 
A multi-volume dictionary that contains articles on many aspects of music, including biographies, world music, notation, composers, genre, etc.

The New Oxford Companion to Music
ML100 .S37 2 volumes   1983

The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz
ML102. J3 N48   3 volumes   2001
This 3 volume set contains entries on all aspect of jazz, including biographies, and world jazz music and musicians.

The Grove Book of Operas
ML102. O6 N48   2009
A multi-volume set containing entries in all aspects of opera, including biographies.

Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians
ML105 .B16   2001
Includes biographies of musicians in many genres. Enteries deal primarily with classical musicians, though many other genre are represented, including: jazz, rock, blues, and more.

Musical Terminology: A practical compendium in four languages
ML108 .B55   1999
A dictionary of common musical terms in English, French, German and Spanish.


RILM Abstracts of Music Literature
ML118 .R4   1967-1995
International bibliography of scholarly writings on music and related disciplines, in 202 languages, classified by topic, and including original-language titles; title translations in English; full bibliographic information; abstracts in English; author, journal, and subject indexes; and a thesaurus.

Search Reference Universe

Reference Universe logo

Search a selection of print and electronic encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other Reference books.


Library Databases

Subject Headings / Browse Collection

One way to look for information is to use subject heading searching with terms such as the following:

Music theory

Music therapy

Choral music

Folk music

Sacred music

Popular music

Music-16th century

Music-20th century-history and criticism

Music appreciation

Music-United States

These terms can also be used in a keyword search. For instance: "music theory and choral." Keyword searching is also useful when you are looking for an encyclopedia of a subcategory. For instance, the search "American music and encyclopedia" will provide you with a list of encyclopedias about American music.

Search the Library Catalog

Search for books and other items in the library catalog.


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