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History of Music from 1750-1900: Books

This guide presents resources which will help you complete your research paper in music history.

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Listed below are peer-reviewed books that are available for your use. Some of these are located on the shelves in the Reference or General Collection stacks or in the Compact Shelving area; others are available online.

 Handbooks to Research in Music

Bayne, Pauline Shaw.  A Guide to Library Research in Music. 
(Ref. ML 3797 .B29 2008)

Gottlieb, Jane.  Music Library and Research Skills.  (Ref. ML 3797 .G68 2009) 

Sampsel, Laurie J.  Music Research: a Handbook.  2nd edition.  (Ref. ML 113 .S28 2013)  Companion Web site ( provides supplements and updates to the basic text. 


  Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians.  Centennial edition.  6 volumes.  (Ref. ML 105 .B16 2001)

Blume, Friedrich, editor.  Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart: allgemeine Enzyklopädie der Musik.  16 volumes.  (Compact Shelving  ML 100 .M92)  The classic, basic German-language reference source for music. Useful even if you don't know German.

Gammond, Peter.  The Harmony Illustrated Encyclopedia of Classical Music: an Essential Guide to the World's Finest Music.  2nd edition.  (Ref. ML 160 .G227 1989)  Includes chapters on the orchestra, the opera, the composer, chamber music, musical instruments, and choral and vocal music.

Gilder, Eric.  The Dictionary of Composers and Their Music: A Listener's Companion.  New, revised edition.  (Ref. ML 113 .G4 1986)

Kennedy, Michael.  The Oxford Dictionary of Music.  2nd edition, revised. (Ref. ML 100 .K35 2006) (Also available in the full text database Oxford Music Online; 6th edition, 2016 version, available in the full-text database Oxford Reference Online: Premium.)

Latham, Alison, editor.  The Oxford Companion to Music.  New edition.   (Ref. ML 100 .O94 2002)  Comprehensive single-volume reference to the Western musical tradition. Hundreds of entries explore all aspects of music theory, genres, performance practice, composers, artists, instruments, works, notation, and more. (Also available in the full-text database Oxford Music Online; 2011 version available in the full-text database Oxford Reference Online: Premium.)

Sadie, Stanley, editor.  The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.  2nd edition.  29 volumes.  (Ref. and Music Library Ref. ML 100 .N48 2001)  The classic, basic English-language reference source for music. (Also available in the full-text database Oxford Music Online. Online version is updated frequently.)

Swain, Joseph P.  Historical Dictionary of Sacred Music.  2nd edition.  (ML 102 .C5 .S83 2016)


Histories and Chronologies

Bent, Ian, editor.  Music Analysis in the Nineteenth Century.  2 volumes.  (MT 90 .M88 2004)

Eisler, Paul E.  World Chronology of Music History.  6 volumes so far.  (Ref. ML 161 .E4)  Detailed chronology of music history worldwide, including forms, styles, development of different theories, individual composers, and highlights of what was happening at the same time in other arts. Time periods are covered in sequence; from about the middle of the 16th century on, so much information is available that coverage year by year is required. Currently covers 4,000 B.C.E.-1796.

Gant, Andrew.  O Sing Unto the Lord : a History of English Church Music.  (ML 2931 .G36 2017)  A history of English church music, from the Latin chant of late antiquity to the great proliferation of styles seen in contemporary repertoires.

Glickman, Sylvia and Martha Furman Schleifer, editors.  From Convent to Concert Hall: a Guide to Women Composers.  (ML 82 .F76 2003)  Organized by time period from the Middle Ages through the 20th century. Contains chronological and geographical lists of women composers.

Hefling, Stephen E.  Nineteenth-Century Chamber Music(ML 1104 .N56 2004)  Discusses the chamber music of several 19th-century composers.

Kendall, Alan.  The Chronicle of Classical Music: an Intimate Diary of the Lives and Music of the Great Composers.  (Ref. ML 390 .K35 1994)  Basically a timeline, covering 1600 to the present, showing musicians' lives against the backdrop of contemporary world events. Profusely illustrated, with a biographical index of composers.

Lott, Marie Sumner.  The Social Worlds of Nineteenth-Century Chamber Music: Composers, Consumers, Communities.  2015.  (Available online as an eBook.)

Raeburn, Michael and Alan Kendall, editors.  Heritage of Music.  4 volumes.  (Ref. ML 160 .H527 1989)  Illustrated essays on music history and analysis. Each volume covers a different time period, and each one also contains a short biographical dictionary of composers, but no bibliographies. Good for background information. Use volume 2, The Romantic Era and volume 3, The Nineteenth-Century Legacy.

Samson, Jim, editor.  The Cambridge History of Nineteenth-Century Music.  (ML 196 .C36 2001)  Comprehensive overview of music in the 19th century. Divides the century into two parts chronologically, each of which looks at the major repertoire of the period through essays on the intellectual and socio-political history of the time. Includes a detailed chronology.

Taruskin, Richard.  The Oxford History of Western Music.  6 volumes.  (Ref. ML 160 .T18 2005)  Not a survey, but more of a true history. Attempts to find connections between music and culture, and to explain music as part of a larger whole of life and history. Use volume 3, The Nineteenth Century. Volume 6 covers resources and includes Chronology: music, other arts and philosophy, history: 1200 B.C.E.-2003.



Baron, John H.  Chamber Music: a Research and Information Guide.  3rd edition. 2010. (Available online as an eBook.)  Annotated guide to where to find answers about chamber music. Covers basic references, the history of chamber music, analytic studies, performance practice of chamber music, and performers of chamber music.

Floyd, James Michael and Avery T. Sharp, compilers.  Church and Worship Music in the United States : a Research and Information Guide.  2nd edition.  2016.  (Available online as an eBook.)

Hoek, D. J.  Analyses of Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Music, 1940-2000.  (Ref. ML 113 .H695 2007)  Indexes more than 9,000 analyses of works by more than 1,000 composers of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Parker, Mara.  String Quartets: a Research and Information Guide.  (Ref. ML 128 .S68 .P37 2005)  Annotated bibliography of information sources on the string quartet.

Rangel-Ribeiro, Victor and Robert Markel.  Chamber Music: an International Guide to Works and Their Instrumentation.  (Ref. ML 128 .C4 .R3 1993)  Handy reference work to the published chamber music repertoire (about 8,000 compositions) as developed over the past 450 years. Limited to works for 3 or more instruments, up to 20, or for ensembles of diverse instruments, except for some compositions in the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

Scott, Allen, Phillip Crabtree, Donald H. Foster.  Sourcebook for Research in Music.  3rd edition.  2015.  (Available online as an eBook.)  Lists of resources in all areas of music study, together with brief introductions to each area. Includes common music bibliographical terms, a breakdown of the Library of Congress Music Classification, and music-related journal article databases. Covers more recently published materials, as well as those considered as classics in the field.


Series: Resources on Specific Composers, Specific Pieces of Music, or Genres of Music

Cambridge Music Handbooks.
  Search this series phrase in Discovery to find books on specific pieces of music.

Detroit Studies in Music Bibliography.  Search this series phrase in Discovery to find bibliographies of works on a wide variety of musical genres, specific composers' works, and works for specific instruments or groups of instruments.

Garland Composer Resource Manuals.  Search this series phrase in Discovery to find books on specific composers. (Now published under the series phrase, Routledge Music Bibliographies, with a widening of scope to include books on musical genres and music for specific instruments.)

Routledge Studies in Musical Genres.  Search this series phrase in Discovery to find books on specific genres of music.