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Research in Music: Books

Library resources to help you begin your research in music.

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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 ed.  (Ref. ML 113 .S28 2013)


Dictionaries and Encyclopedias


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

Blume, Friedrich, ed.  Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart: allgemeine Enzyklopädie der Musik.  16 vols.  (Compact Shelving  ML 100 .M92)  The classic, basic German-language reference source for music. This edition is somewhat out of date, but still useful, even if you don't read German.

Burns, Kristine Helen, ed.  Women and Music in America Since 1900: an Encyclopedia.  2 vols.  (Ref. ML 82 .W625 2002)

Floyd, Samuel A., ed.  International Dictionary of Black Composers.  2 vols.  (Ref. ML 105 .I5 1999)

Kennedy, Michael.  The Oxford Dictionary of Music.  2nd ed., rev.  (Ref. ML 100 .K35 2006) (Also available in the full-text database Oxford Music Online.)

Latham, Alison, ed.  The Oxford Companion to Music.  New ed.  (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.)

Randel, Don Michael, ed.  The Harvard Dictionary of Music.  4th ed.  (Ref.  ML 100 .A64 2003)  (Also available online as an eBook.)

Sadie, Stanley, ed.  The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.  2nd ed.  29 vols.  (Ref. ML 100 .N48 2001) (Also Music Library Ref.)  The classic, basic English-language reference source for music. Very comprehensive, with complete lists of composers' works. The online version, in the full-text database Oxford Music Online, is updated frequently.

Strahle, Graham.  An Early Music Dictionary: Musical Terms from British Sources, 1500-1740.  (Ref. ML .S88 1995)


Histories and Chronologies

Eisler, Paul E.  World Chronology of Music History.  6 vols. 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.

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

Heller, George N.  Music and Music Education History: a Chronology.  3rd ed.  (ML 161 .H44 1996)

Taruskin, Richard.  The Oxford History of Western Music.  6 vols.  (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.



Crabtree, Phillip and Donald H. Foster.  Sourcebook for Research in Music.  2nd ed., rev. and expanded.  (Ref. ML 113 .C68 2005)  (Also 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. (Also available as an eBook.)

Pendle, Karin.  Women in Music: a Research and Information Guide.  (Ref. ML 128 .W7 .P46 2005)  (In series: Routledge Music Bibliographies)

Phelps, Roger P.  A Guide to Research in Music Education.  5th ed.  (Ref. MT 1 .P5 2005)  Designed for basic courses in music education research, thesis seminars, and independent researchers. Explains problem identification, writing the proposal and report, methodologies, and trends in the field.  (Also General Collection and Music Library Ref.)


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


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

Detroit Studies in Music Bibliography.  Search this series phrase in DOC 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 DOC 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 DOC to find books on specific genres of music.