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Tutt Library Research Guides


Music: Music Databases/Resources

Music Subject Guide

Search Strategies

You can't always use the same search strategies with different catalogs and databases.

A library catalog like Tiger typically just contains titles, authors, and subject headings.

For catalogs:

  • think broad subject terms for keywords or subject searches
  • find one good book and then browse the shelves when possible
Library databases demand different kinds of strategies depending on what they index.
Most databases only include limited information about the article: title, author, journal or book/collection title, subject headings or keywords, and – if you are lucky – an abstract (summary).
  • try combining the title of a musical work and a keyword relating to a theme or subject
  • add keywords to get fewer results
  • remove keywords (perhaps just use the title of the work?) or try a broader keyword (the composer, performer, performance medium,  rather than the title of the work?)
For full-text databases, most notably JSTOR, you will have more success if you use more keywords, since you are searching the full text of the articles.

Research Adventures

Q180.55 .M4 B66 2008
  • Tutt North Basement and Music Libray

Use this book to guide you through your research process.

Getting Started Finding Articles

The databases below are great places to start looking for music history and criticism, book reviews, and performance reviews, Use the "Music Databases/Find Articles" section of this guide for many more suggestions of where and how to search.

  • The Music Index

    Use this resource to gather citations to international journal articles, book reviews, etc, with a broad coverage of music topics. It’s especially strong in the music education field.  Some links to full text available

  • RILM covers all types of publications on music, in all media: books, journals, online resources, research-based sound recordings and films, dissertations, and more.. Publications represented in RILM originate from 151 countries, from Albania to Zimbabwe.  Articles in many languages with English titles.  Not full text, but very comprehensive coverage-articles may be linked to other sources for full text-otherwise you can order through interlibrary loan.  Try this!
  • Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive. An archival research resouce containing the essential primary resources for studying the history of the film and entertaingment industries, from the era of vaudeville and silent movies to 2000.  The core US and UK trade magazines covering film, music, broadcasting and theater are all included, together with film fan magazines and music pres titles.  Magazines have been scanned cover-to-cover in high-resolution color, with granular indexing of all articels, covers, ads and reviews.
  • JSTOR is an online journal archive covering many academic disciplines. Use specific keywords to avoid getting many false hits.


Some Basic Sources

To help define your research topic, it often helps to consult some of the standard reference works before searching for books, music materials, and journal articles.

Groves Music Online, found in the Oxford Music Online suite, is an essential companion and tool for scholars of classical, world, and contemporary music and musicians.  Coverage includes articles on jazz, opera, musical instruments, and American music.

The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music  (also available in print) takes a cultural approach to its focus on the music of all the world's peoples. Each volume is arranged topically, regionally, or by ethnic group, and is complemented by an extensive index.

Music Librarian

Daryll Stevens's picture
Daryll Stevens
The fastest way to reach me is via the "Email Me" link above. You may also reach me at 389-6126, or 389-6560

Annotated Bibliography Guides

How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography from Cornell University.

Annotated Bibliographies by the Purdue University Online Writing Lab.

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