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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.

Help with Style Guides and Annotated Bibliography available here.

Online Music Resources

Text Databases

Grove Music Online

Use this resource to locate background and specific information on specific types of music (search by the name of the composer if you know it, or by the genre of music). Contains good bibliographies and links to other Internet resources. Provides sources on classical music, ethnomusicology, opera, jazz, and much more…

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.

 JSTOR is a scholarly journal archives with many Music titles.  Although many journals in JSTOR are archives only, JSTOR is now starting to host current content (the most recent issues).  It's best not to limit your search to music journals; you'll find articles about music in journals principally devoted to other disciplines.  Most articles will be available full text, to be printed.

RILM covers all types of publications on music, in all media: books, journals, online resources, research-based sound recordings and films, dissertations, and more (see a complete list of document types). 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!

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 Reference Collection Collection of music reference works, including Garland Encyclopedia of World Music.

 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.

Bloomsbury Popular Music Scholarly resource for researching popular music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Includes Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World and all volumes of the 33 1/3 series.

Streamed Audio Databases

Streamed audio databases provide sound recordings 24/7 on and off campus.  These include:

American Song, Classical Music Library, Contemporary World Music, Database of Recorded American Music, Jazz Music Library, Popular Music Library, and Smithsonian Global Sound.


The Music Library also has a large CD collection; you'll find many musical genres available for checkout.



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.