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Music: Getting Started

Music Subject Guide

We love to help!

Unlike text, a musical work isn’t about something. Usually, musicians are most interested in the work’s format (score, CD), genre (symphony, jazz ballad), and instrumentation (what forces perform the work).  Please ask us for help when you can't find what you need.  We have lots of tools to help!

Looking for a composer?

If you want to find works by a composer, do an AUTHOR search in the Tiger catalog.  This will bring up anything she has created (scores, recordings, writings, etc).

If you want to find out about a composer, do a SUBJECT search. 

For both of these searches, use this order-last name, first name:

Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus

Many contemporary composers have websites with sound files and biographical information.

Music Library Services

Find Background Information

Welcome to the Music guide!

Use the tabs above to roam through this guide.

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. 

Start with:

  • Grove 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.  Use this encyclopedia to find articles written by experts on your composer and topic. 
  • 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.
  • In theTiger catalog, 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 -- China

Once you find a good book or score in the stacks, browse the shelves for similar items. For a complete list of call numbers for music books and scores check out M is for Music! 

For articles about specific topics related to your research, use these databases:

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.

The Music Index
this database provides excellent searchability.  Use this resource to gather citations.  There will be links to a few items that are full text.  We can always order articles that aren't full text-these can be delivered to you via email, often within 24 hours.

RILM-International Repertory of Music Literature This database 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.

Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive

"An archival research resource containing the essential primary sources for studying the history of the film and entertainment industries, from the era of vaudeville and silent movies through 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 press titles."

Bloomsbury Popular Music

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

Our streamed audio databases provide sound recordings 24/7 on and off campus.  Black music is found in the Database of Recorded American Music (DRAM) and Music Online.

Music Department

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  •    Phone:  389-6545
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 Faculty and Staff


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