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Queen's University Library

Music: Music History

Reference Resources

Baker's biographical dictionary of musicians. Enl. ed.
Ref. ML105 .B16 2001 6 vols.

Short biographies of musical personalities past and present. Centennial ed. includes popular music figures.

Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.

Freely accessible online updates to Encyclopedia of music in Canada, 2nd ed. - Kallman and Potvin, eds. Ref. ML106 .C3 E52 1992t / Encyclopédie de la musique au Canada, 2nd ed. Ref. ML106 .C3 E5214 1993 3 v.

The English and French print versions are now subsumed by The Canadian Encyclopedia and updated online by Historica Canada. These combined sources are still the most authoritative first point of reference for researching the music of Canada.

Grove Music Online

Updated web access through Oxford Music Online to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.
Ref. ML100 .N48 2001 29 vols.

A comprehensive encyclopaedia for the history of all genres of music, including illustrations and bio-bibliographical information.

Handbook of music terms / P. Grant
Ref. ML108 .G88H3

The Harvard concise dictionary of music and musicians / D.M. Randel, ed.
Ref. ML100 .H36 1999

Contains brief biographical entries and definitions of terms and instruments.

The Harvard dictionary of music / D.M. Randel, ed. 4th ed.
Ref. ML100 .A64 2003

Covers Western classical music tradition. Defines key music terms and concepts in concise entries but contains no biographical information.

Music reference and research materials : an annotated bibliography / V.H. Duckles, I. Reed. 5th ed.
Ref. ML113 .D83 1997

Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart
Ref. ML100 .M92 1994-

Comprehensive, illustrated music reference work, written in German. International in scope and coverage, with articles by specialists. Includes extensive bibliographical notes.

New Oxford history of music
ML160 .N44 10 vols.

Presents music history in chronological time periods, as it developed in association with every form of human culture and activity, not as an isolated phenomenon. Consequently, biographies of individuals are incidental; consult other sources for detailed biographies. Includes documentation of sources and bibliographies.

Oxford Bibliographies Online - Music

OBO Music lists books, journals, primary documents, web resources, and multimedia resources.

The Oxford companion to music

Web access via Oxford Music Online to the print edition of The Oxford companion to music / Alison Latham, ed.Ref. ML100 .O94 2002t in Music Library Reference

Successor to Percy Scholes' Oxford companion to music and Denis Arnold's The New Oxford companion to music, this companion edition format honours the tradition to cover wide-ranging topics for a broad spectrum of music readers.

The Oxford dictionary of music / Michael Kennedy. 6th ed.

Web access to The Oxford dictionary of music / Michael Kennedy. 6th ed., updating 2nd. ed. rev. of print Ref. ML100 .K35 2006, which covers 5,000 composers, including contemporary figures, updated entries on conductors and performers, as well as others in the music industry, and musical terms and forms, instruments, works and venues. Edited by the former music critic of the Sunday Telegraph and the Daily Telegraph.

The Oxford history of Western music / Richard Taruskin.
Ref. ML160 .T18 2005 6 vols.

Taking a critical perspective that challenges the received wisdom of the field, controversial musicologist Richard Taruskin sets the details of music, the chronological sweep of figures, works, and musical ideas, within the larger context of world affairs and cultural history. Taruskin also provides greater attention to the full range of 20th century music, including American music as part of the mainstream tradition of western music, women in music, and popular musics.

Oxford Reference Online - Music

More than 69,000 concise definitions and in-depth, specialist encyclopedic entries on the wide range of subjects within the broad field of music.

RISM (International Inventory of Musical Sources)

Non-profit, multinational database documenting extant musical sources (manuscripts, printed music, writings on music theory,and libretti, mostly before 1800) available in libraries, archives, monasteries and private collections.

Terminorum musicae index septem linguis redactus / Polyglot dictionary of musical terms (1978)
Ref. ML108 .T4

Translations of music terminology in seven languages: English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Spanish, and Russian.

Journals, Databases and Streaming Resources

21st century music
Early music history
Eighteenth-century music
Journal of seventeenth century music
Journal of the American Musicological Society
Music and letters
Nota bene: Canadian undergraduate journal of musicology
Plainsong & medieval music
Popular music and society
The World of music
Check QCAT, under Journal Title Exact to see if a journal title is in print or electronic format

Music Databases

Music Index Online
International Index to Music Periodicals
Relevant music databases which include information on early music. Requires Web proxy from off-campus.

Streaming Databases

Naxos Music Library
Online listening access to more than 24,000 music recordings. NOTE: Check system requirements and settings..
Naxos Video Library
Streaming video library of over 1370 full-length classical music performances, opera, ballet, live concerts and documentaries.

Internet Resources

American Musicological Society

Mega-site with web sites of interest to musicologists, including early music, folk music and ethnomusicology, computer and electronic music, theory and composition, music education, rock and pop and women in music.

British Library Sounds

British Library’s extensive collections of unique sound recordings, which come from all over the world and cover the entire range of recorded sound: music, drama and literature, oral history, wildlife and environmental sounds.

Doctoral Dissertations in Musicology Online

An international database of bibliographic records for completed dissertations and new dissertation topics in the fields of musicology, music theory, and ethnomusicology,as well as in related musical, scientific, and humanistic disciplines. Responsibility moved from the Center for the History of Music Theory and Literature, Indiana University, to the American Musicological Society in 2010.

Encyclopedia of music in Canada

Search specific topics of Canadian music history through Historica Canada's free web access updating Encyclopedia of music in Canada, 2nd ed. - Kallman and Potvin, eds. / Encyclopédie de la musique au Canada, 2nd ed.

Golden Pages for musicologists

A blog site maintained by J. P. E. Harper-Scott that provides announcements for forthcoming conferences in musicology, an Archive of dissertation abstracts, Library links, Online journals and other Musicology links, including Composer pages of interest to musicologists. The author welcomes suggestions for additions or changes to the site.

Necrology file

Maintained by the Gaylord Music Library, Washington University in St. Louis.

Online Resources for Music Scholars

Maintained by the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library of the Harvard College Library, Harvard University

Smithsonian Institution

Links to sites for artists, exhibitions, musical instruments, performances and recordings, including Music & Musical Instruments at the National Museum of American History.

University of Washington Music Library’s Music History Page

University of Washington Music Library's detailed listings by musical stylistic periods.

Composer sites - Samples

J.S. Bach Home Page

The Beethoven Gateway

Formerly the Beethoven Bibliography Database, the gateway is offered as a free online comprehensive and fully-indexed bibliography of books, articles, scores and other sources relating to Beethoven, from the catalog of the collections of the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies.


"The purpose of this web site operated by the Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum in cooperation with the Packard Humanities Institute is to make Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's musical compositions widely and conveniently accessible to the public, for personal study and for educational and classroom use. The digitized version offers the musical text and the critical commentary of the entire Neue Mozart-Ausgabe. Some restrictions apply to the reproduction of images of source materials, particularly in the supplement to the edition."

National Library sites

Bibliothèque nationale de France

Bodleian Library

British Library

Library & Archives Canada (Amicus)

Library of Congress

Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin

Vatican Library - All Catalogues

Other Library Catalogues

Last Updated: 21 July 2016

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