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Tutt Library Research Guides


MU150 Music in Western Culture: Getting Started

Hot Search Tips!


  • you want to find works by a writer,  composer, performer, (any person), do an AUTHOR search in the Tiger catalog.  This will bring up anything she has created (scores, recordings, writings, etc).  Select VIEW ENTIRE COLLECTION from the drop-down box.
  • you want to find out about a person, do a SUBJECT search. Select VIEW ENTIRE COLLECTION from the drop-down box.


  • You'll find books about music in Tutt Library.
  • You'll find music works (scores, media) in the Music Library.
  • All other materials are located in Tutt Library

Music Library Services

Find Background Information

Start with gathering an overview of your topic!

Your paper can be on any topic related to Western culture within the time periods specific to your class.


When searching TIGER, Prospector, and WorldCat, try to

  • Use broad keywords from your class reading to begin your search.
  • Refine your searches by adding keywords.
  • Click on the subject headings of interesting books to find similar materials and more search terms.
  • Try the Library of Congress Authorities and Vocabularies thesaurus to find variations of keywords and subject headings.

Think Broadly. You need to take a broad view of your topic, so you can grasp its depth, breadth, and historical context. This will help you refine your topic, enabling you to present an interesting argument in a 3-4 page paper. Remember to think broadly when searching for books - that is, to realize that your specific topic will probably be treated in books that cover a broader subject.


If you're doing a music topic:

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

Start with:

  • Grove Music Online. Part of the Oxford Music Online suite, this is the most important English-language resource for music.  Use this resource to locate background 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…
  • In Tiger, start with some Keyword searches. Once you find some sources that are useful, you can look for Subjects to click on to narrow or broaden you search.


  • Searching these types of subjects in the Tiger catalog.  Select SUBJECT and VIEW ENTIRE COLLECTION from the dropdown boxes on the search page:                         

Music-18th century-history and criticism

Music theory -- History -- 18th century

Music -- 17th Century -- History And Criticism


      You'll see that you can combine/trade subheadings to select the span of time and topic of your search!

 Note:  SUBJECT HEADINGS  treat chronological periods as above…generally, don’t use a span of time, e.g. 1900-2000. 

      Subjects have also been established for musical forms and types of performers:


                         Mass (Music)



Warning! These subject searches are provided as samples.  It's best not to try to make up subject headings because they are a predetermined set of terms that you probably don't know.  Use Keyword searching, and look for subject headings in the library can then click on these terms to widen your search. See this record and note the subject headings. You may click on them to find more resources.



Libraries shelve like topics together; browsing will help you find something surprisingly useful that you may not have noticed in the catalog. Try the following call number ranges in both libraries:

  • ML159-161   General histories here
  • ML 162-197  History by periods here

      For composer's biographies:

  • ML 410   These are organized alphabetically by last name of composer.


If you're doing a non-music topic:

See the History Subject Guide. You'll find the Getting Started and Find Books (and its four subpages) pages particularly useful.


Additional General Resources

The Harvard Dictionary of Music

A dictionary of music, with brief and extensive explanation of terms. Some articles have bibliographies.


Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians

Short bios of composers, some including short lists of works and writings, including entries for jazz and pop composers.


Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Glossary

Multimedia dictionary of music with sound files and musical examples.


Online Resources for Music Scholars

"provides a basis for beginning electronic research on a wide variety of topics in music, including historical musicology, ethnomusicology, music theory, composition, and performance practice. It collects links to archival collections, online scores and sound recordings; article indexes, discographies and bibliographies; scholarly societies; musical reference works; and a miscellany of useful websites."




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
Tutt Library, Colorado College      Research Help Desk: 719-389-6662, Texting: 719-387-5441, E-mail: