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Resources for Music

Cello Scroll Music in the Night Regency Piano

Students of music study music performance, the history of music, music theory, the teaching of music--or all of these at once. This guide to music resources in the library lists some of the most useful reference books and indexes for the field; some are shelved in the main library and others are in the Lund Music/Speech library. It is not, however, a complete list of available options; please don't hesitate to consult with a librarian if you aren't finding what you need.

Table of Contents:

Indexes and Databases
  • Jazz Music Library

    This growing collection of streaming jazz currently includes approximately over 5,800 albums and more than 68,800 tracks.
  • Naxos Music Library

    Naxos Music Library (NML) is the world's largest online classical music library. It also includes some jazz, film music, world music, and contemporary rock content. Resources offered by NML include synopses of over 700 operas, a pronunciation guide for composer and artist names and a glossary of musical terms. NML can be searched by composer, work, label, and keyword search. Note: A limit of ten people can use the Naxos Music Library at one time.
  • RILM Abstracts of Music Literature,uid&profile=ehost&defaultdb=rih

    RILM Abstracts of Music Literature indexes over 500 scholarly sources on music and related disciplines, including historical musicology, ethnomusicology, instruments and voice, dance, music therapy, music librarianship, the physics of music, and other fields as they relate to music. The majority of citations include abstracts.

    Full-text backfiles to over 350 scholarly journals from more than 25 academic disciplines published between the 19th and 21st centuries in the JSTOR Arts & Sciences I, Arts & Sciences II, and Language & Literature collections. JSTOR provides complete journal backruns from the date of initial publication up to a "moving wall" of 3 to 5 years before the present year. To limit your search to full text articles, make sure that the option to "include links to external content" is turned off.
Reference Works
  • Encyclopedias
    • Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians
      Offers biographies of composers and performers with bibliographies of works by and about them. This reference is good for a quick overview of a musician and his or her impact.
      • Location(s): Ref ML 105 .B16 2001
    • Encyclopedia of Musical Theatre
      Brief articles on people, productions, composers, etc.
      • Location(s): Ref ML 102 .M88 G3 2001
    • Encyclopedia of the Blues
      Offers short, informative entries on blues singers, significant places, musical styles, instruments, aspects of the music business, specific labels, and important songs.
      • Location(s): Ref ML 102 .B6 E53 2006
    • Garland Encyclopedia of World Music
      Covers the music of peoples of the world in regional volumes that offer regional profiles, the social context of music, and in-depth information on the musical traditions of specific nations and ethnic groups. The work includes musical examples in accompanying CDs.
      • Location(s): Music/Speech Library Ref ML 100 .G16 1998 (10 vols)
    • Grove Music Online

      The online counterpart to the New Grove Dictionary of Music, this reference source contains articles on composers, performers, styles, genres, world music, instruments, and much more. This title is available through Oxford Music Online and can be cross-searched with The Oxford Dictionary of Music and The Oxford Companion to Music. The print version is also available in the reference collection.
    • New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
      The most definitive source on music and music history. The articles in these volumes are carefully researched and documented and provide information on national music traditions, musical forms, composers and musicians, instruments, and more. There are several more specialized Grove encyclopedias--the New Grove Dictionary of American Music (Ref ML 101 .U6 N48 1986), the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (Ref ML 102 .J3 N48 2002), the New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments (Ref ML 102 .I5 N48 1984), and the New Grove Dictionary of Opera (Ref ML 102 .O6 .N58 1997). This encyclopedia is also available through the Web as Grove Music Online.
      • Location(s): Ref ML 100 .N48 2001
  • Places to find quick information
    • Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music

      Offers thousands of brief entries on musical terms, works, composers, librettists, musicians, singers, and orchestras.
    • Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World
      A comprehensive encyclopedia of popular music, with each volume organized thematically. Topics covered include the media, industry, and society, performance and production, and popular music of various world regions.
      • Location(s): Ref ML 102 .P66 C66 2003
    • Encyclopedia of Popular Music
      Offers brief information on musicians, bands, musicals, and record labels. Includes a song title index.
      • Location(s): Ref ML 102 .P66 G84 2006 (10 vols)
    • Grove Book of Operas

      A collection of synopses and descriptions of over 250 operas.
    • Norton/Grove Concise Encyclopedia of Music
      Contains short, informative entries on music and musicians; a handy place to pick up dates and other quick facts.
      • Location(s): Ref ML 100 .N67 1994
    • Oxford Companion to Music
      Primarily covers Western classical music, offering brief entries on musicians, works, musical terms, movements, and surveys of musical traditions in various countries.
      • Location(s): Ref ML 100 .S37 2002
    • Dictionary of Opera Characters

      Gives brief profiles of over 2,500 operatic characters, plot synopses for over 250 operas and operettas, and details full information on each operatic role, including its creator and notable performers. As a bonus, well-known personalities have contributed articles on their favourite roles.
  • Specialized resources
    • American Musical Theatre: A Chronicle
      Year-by-year coverage of what was on stage. The text puts productions in context and offers a historical view of the genre with a multitude of details about particular productions, people, and theatres. Includes indexes to shows and sources, songs, and people.
      • Location(s): Ref ML 1711 .B67 1992
    • Historical Sets, Collected Editions and Monuments of Music: A Guide to Their Contents
      This standard bibliography of scores locates specific pieces of music in major published collections.
      • Location(s): Music/Speech Library Ref ML 113 .H52 1980
    • JVC Video Anthology of World Music
      A collection of thirty videos, covering countries of the world and their music traditions. The videos present not only the sound of the music but the cultural context as well, and include many folk dances. There is a printed guide to the series, with brief information on each video.
      • Location(s): Audio Visual M 1627 .J32 1990
    • New Oxford History of Music
      An excellent chronological exploration of all aspects of music. Each volume covers a different musical period. Some have been published in newer editions. The final volume includes chronologies, bibliographies, and an index to the set.
      • Location(s): Ref ML 160 .N44
    • Chronology of American Musical Theater
      By providing details of productions in chronological order, this set provides a comprehensive picture of this popular art form. Though it focuses on 1850 to the present, selected significant productions from 1750 to 1850 are also included.
      • Location(s): Ref ML 1711.8 .N3 N67 2002 (3 vols)
    • Oxford History of Western Music
      Attempts to cover not only the history of music as a survey of repertoires and changing tastes, but to explore "why and how things happened as they did." Volume 6 offers a chronology, a bibliography of books in English, and a list of musical examples cited in the set.
      • Location(s): Ref ML 160 .T18 2005 (6 vols)
    • Reader's Guide to Music: History, Theory, Criticism
      A resource that provides overviews of important research on topics in western music (e.g. philosophy of music, patronage, ), musical types (chorale, jazz, ), countries and composers, with recommendations of what books are recommended for the curious reader.
      • Location(s): Ref ML 160 .R42 1999
    • Women and Music in America Since 1900
      Covers women's contribution to music in the US with brief overview articles on topics such as music types (blues, classical, garage rock and heavy metal), issues (such as discrimination and feminist music criticism), and women musicians, both individuals and groups.
      • Location(s): Ref ML 82 .W625 2002
Browsing for Books
Books are shelved in general subject categories using the Library of Congress classification system. You may want to supplement your use of the catalog with browsing shelf areas for your topic. Below is a brief listing of some of the subject locations in the field of music.
  • M Music
    • 1-3 Collections and Monuments
    • 6-175.5 Solo instruments
    • 177-990 Two or more Solo Instruments (including non-orchestral chamber music.)
    • 1000-1366 Orchestral Music
    • 1497-1998 Secular Vocal Music
    • 1500-1527.8 Dramatic Music
    • 1530-1610 Choral Music
    • 1611-1998 Songs
    • 1627-1853 National and Folk Music
    • 1999-2199 Sacred Vocal Music
  • ML Literature of music
    • 48-54.8 Librettos
    • 110-155 Bibliography
    • 159-3799 History and Criticism
    • 459-1380 Insruments and Instrumental Music
    • 410 Biographies of Musical Figures
    • 1400-3275 Vocal Music
    • 1500-1554 Choral (sacred and secular)
    • 1600-2881 Secular vocal music
    • 2900-3275 Sacred vocal music
    • 3469-3541 Popular Music
    • 3800-3923 Philosophy and Physics of Music
  • MT Musical Instruction and Study
    • 40-67 Compostition
    • 70-86 Orchestration/Conducting
    • 90-146 Analytical Guides/Hermeneutics
    • 170-810 Instrumental Techniques
    • 820-949 Singing and Voice
    • 955-960 Music and Theatre/Opera


Print journals are housed in the periodicals collection on the first floor of the library.
  • American Music
  • American Organist
  • American String Teacher
  • Choral Journal
  • Clavier Companion
  • Diapason
  • Early Music
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Hymn
  • Instrumentalist
  • Interval
  • Journal of Music Theory
  • Journal of Music Therapy
  • Journal of Singing
  • Music and Letters
  • Musical Quarterly
  • Notes (Music Library Association)
  • Opera News
  • Piano Guild Notes
  • Sing Out
  • Strings
  • Teaching Music
  • Classical Music
    • Classical Composer Database

      Offers basic biographical information about composers, both well-known and obscure, and links to information about them on the Web. Includes chronologies and a composer's calendar. Compiled by Jos Smeets.
    • Classical Music Navigator

      Maintained by Charles H. Smith of Western Kentucky University, this site provides information on over 400 composers, with works listed by musical genre, a geographical roster, an index of forms and styles, and a glossary of musical terms.
    • DRAM

      A searchable database containing essays, CD liner notes, and other information for recordings issued by New World and other labels.
    • IMSLP / Petrucci Music Library

      The International Music Score Library Project is a virtual library of public domain music scores, based on the wiki principle. The website also includes forums for users to share ideas.
  • Ethnomusicology
  • American Musical Traditions
    • America Singing: Nineteenth Century Song Sheets

      a collection of sheets of lyrics (not scores) of popular songs from the turn of the nineteenth century to the 1880s. The majority of the song sheets were published from the 1850s to the 1870s, when song sheets were most popoular. This collection is "an early example of a mass medium and today they offer a unique perspective on the political, social, and economic life of the time, especially during the Civil War." From the Library of Congress's American Memory project.
    • Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920

      Over 3,000 pieces of sheet music from Duke University's Special Collections. The cover illustrations alone provide insights into popular contemporary ideas on politics, patriotism, race, religion, love, and sentiment. From the Library of Congress's American Memory project.
Photo Credits (L to R)

51.365-2009 -
Music in the Night -
Regency Piano -

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