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Music Guide

Reference Sources


When researching a new topic it is often necessary to get an overview, explanations of unfamiliar terms, or brief factual information. The print and electronic resources listed below include selected reference materials (dictionaries, encyclopaedias, handbooks, guides, and standards) for the field of Music. To find additional reference materials, check UNB WorldCat (the library catalogue) or our Encyclopedias, etc database.

Key Resources

  • Oxford Dictionary of Music

    The Oxford Dictionary of Music offers broad coverage of a wide range of musical categories spanning many eras, including composers, librettists, singers, orchestras, important ballets and operas, and musical instruments and their history. Over 250 new entries have been added to this edition to expand coverage of popular music, ethnomusicology, modern and contemporary composers, music analysis, and recording technology.

  • New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, The [HIL-REF ML100 .N48 2001 vols. 1-29]

    "Excellent coverage of the art music (Behague) of Colombia, as well as traditional music (Waxer/List), broken down by region, and popular music (Waxer). Illustrated with maps, photographs, and musical examples"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 58.

  • New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, The [HIL-REF ML102 .I5 N48 1984 vols. 1-3]
  • Encyclopedia of Canadian Rock, Pop & Folk Music [HIL-REF ML102 .P66 J34 1994]
    Biographical sketches and discographies of hit singles and albums for Canadian pop, rock, and folk music artists and groups.
  • Encyclopedia of Music in Canada [HIL-REF ML106 .C3 E52 1992]

    This monumental work, first published in 1981, is a comprehensive guide to all aspects, historical and current, of popular, folk, religious, concert, and other forms of music in Canada, and is cited in BCL3, Sheehy, and Walford. The present revised and updated edition adds 820 new entries, and expands such entries as ethnomusicology and the discography sections throughout. Some 200 old entries have been eliminated, others condensed. Warning: this reference is habit-forming. 9.25x12.25". Annotation copyright by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Contemporary Canadian Musicians
    see also [HIL-REF ML106 .C3 C68]
  • Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, The [HIL-REF ML100 .G16 1998 vols. 1-10]

    The premiere volume of the" Garland Encyclopedia of World Music" series offers a comprehensive view of African music as a vital part of the social and cultural life of it peoples. The 34 expert contributors have all conducted fieldwork in Africa and their firsthand experience is reflected in the immediacy of their observations. In 39 articles, this encyclopedia explores key themes in African music that have emerged in recent years - a subject usually neglected in country-by-country coverage; emphasizes the contexts of musical performance-unlike studies that offer static interpretations isolated from other performing traditions; and presents the fresh insights and analyses of musicologists and anthropologists of diverse national origins-African, Asian, European and American. Also includes nine maps and 96 music examples. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Cambridge history of American music, The
    This volume examines the diversity of America's musical life, with its influences from Native, European, African, Asian, and other sources. It explores the social, historical, and cultural events of musical life and the influence of popular musics.
    Unlimited simultaneous users
  • New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, The [HIL-REF ML102 .J3 N48 2002 vols. 1-3]

    The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, second edition will be the definitive resource for any serious lover & listener of jazz. This 3 volume hardcover second edition builds upon the impressive foundation laid by its predecessor in 1988 to become the most comprehensive jazz reference work ever published. Editor Barry Kernfeld, a well-known jazz authority & scholar, has brought together the world's leading experts in jazz, ensuring the accuracy, breadth, & depth expected from Grove's.

  • Encyclopedia of Popular Music, The [HIL-REF ML102 .P66 E59 1998 vols. 1-8]

    The Encyclopedia of Popular Music is the most thorough reference work on the music that has formed the soundtrack of this century. Covering both mega-star and little-known performers, the Encyclopedia includes jazz, rock, country, folk, rap, blues, stage and film musicals, heavy metal, punk, techno, and unique coverage of world music and reggae. Selected by Library Journal as a Best Reference Source in its two previous editions, The Encyclopedia of Popular Music has established itself as the definitive reference for libraries, broadcasters, recording industry professionals, musicians, and scholars in music history and cultural studies. Expanded to eight volumes, the Third Edition includes over 18,000 articles ranging in length from 150 to 5,000 words and covers performers, composers, producers, record companies, events, venues, and magazines. The discographies, lists of films and videos, sources for further reading, and bold-faced cross-references provide invaluable tools for research. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

Additional Resources

  • Cambridge history of twentieth-century music
    Surveys the Western twentieth-century 'art' tradition alongside development in jazz, popular music, and world music.
    Unlimited simultaneous users
  • Cambridge history of nineteenth-century music
    This comprehensive overview of 19th-century music is divided into two parts (1800-1850 and 1850-1900), each of which investigates the intellectual and socio-political history of the time.
    Unlimited simultaneous users
  • Cambridge history of seventeenth-century music
    While this history does not depart entirely from the traditional study of musical works and their composers, there is a strong emphasis on the institutions, cultures & politics of the age, together with an interrogation of the ways in which music related to contemporary arts, sciences & beliefs.
    Unlimited simultaneous users
  • Cambridge history of Western music theory
    This comprehensive history of Western music is a collaborative project by music theorists and historians. The volume traces the rich panorama of music-theoretical thought from the Ancient Greeks to 2000.
    Unlimited simultaneous users
  • New Harvard Dictionary of Music, The [HIL-REF ML100 .N485 1986]
    Nearly six thousand entries and articles define musical terms, describe instruments, and discuss musical forms, concepts, and theory.
  • Routledge Guide to Music Technology, The [HIL-REF ML102 .S67 R68 2006]

    "The Routledge Guide to Music Technology" is an A to Z trade reference aimed at music students, technophiles, and audio-video-computer users. It offers brief definitions of key concepts, biographies of key figures, and discussion of the historical development of the audio world over the 20th century. The world of music technology has exploded over the last decades, thanks to introductions of new formats (MP3, RealAudio), hardware (Apple's iPod, DVD, CD-ROM), and software (computer file sharing). Now, musicians can create their own audio files and share them with listeners all over the world. Music students (and the average music consumer) need a quick guide to this technological universe. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Grove Book of Operas

    A collection of synopses and descriptions of over 250 operas. Each entry includes a full synopsis of the plot, a cast list, a note on the singers in the original production, and information on the origins of the work and its literary and social background. Contributions conclude with a brief comment on the particular work's place in operatic history.

  • Grove Book of Opera Singers

    An essential reference for opera lovers and an ideal companion to The Grove Book of Operas. Covering over 1500 singers from the origins of opera to the present day, this is the most comprehensive guide to opera singers in the English language.

  • New Grove Dictionary of Opera, The [HIL-REF ML102 .O6 N5 1998 vols. 1-4]
  • Oxford companion to the American musical : theatre, film, and television

    An authoritative reference for this highly popular genre, covering Broadway, Hollywood, and television in one volume. With more than two thousand entries, this book offers a wealth of information on musicals, performers, composers, lyricists, producers, choreographers, and much more.

  • Oxford dictionary of dance, The
    "The Oxford Dictionary of Dance offers wide coverage of dancers, choreographers, teachers, composers, technical terms, major works, important films, and organizations involved in the dance world. It embraces the new activity within traditional forms like ballet as well as the stream of new dance languages invented by fresh generations of choreographers and the many dance forms imported from the rest of the world. There is information on classical ballet, Spanish flamenco, Indian Bharata Natyam, Japanese Butoh, and jazz. The volume also covers post-modern dance, examining everything from Balanchine to recent practitioners of Eurocrash, minimalism, and contact improvisation. Ranging from the history of music to the changing design of the ballet shoe, this is a comprehensive dictionary compiled by two leading authorities on dance."
    5 simultaneous users.
  • Oxford Reference
    Multi-part database of the online versions of Oxford University Press texts. Each topical division contains the searchable version of the latest edition of published dictionaries and encyclopedias. Additionally, information about Oxford University Press is provided. Online texts will be updated after new editions of the print monographs are published. Covers the humanities and social sciences.
    5 simultaneous users.
  • Wiley/Blackwell Reference Online
    Wiley/Blackwell Reference Online "is a vast new online library giving instant access to the most authoritative and up-to-date scholarship across the humanities and social sciences. With more than 350 reference volumes to be published in Blackwell Reference Online by the end of 2008, it is the largest academic reference collection available online and includes the critically-acclaimed Blackwell Companions and Handbooks, major reference works such as the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Management and the Companion to Syntax, and a whole host of other valuable reference materials such as dictionaries, encyclopedias and concise companions."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.


Recordings and Scores

Key Resources

  • Naxos Music Library (NML)
    "Naxos Music Library [NML] is the world´s largest online classical music library. The library offers the complete Naxos and Marco Polo catalogues plus the complete catalogues or selected titles from over 650 record labels, with more labels joining every month. Along with classical music, jazz, world, and pop/rock are also represented."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Smithsonian Global Sound® for Libraries (Music Online)
    Smithsonian Global Sound provides over 35,000 tracks of music, natural sounds and spoken words, delivered via streaming audio. It includes performances of traditional musics from around the world, poetry readings, environmental sounds, and recordings by legendary folk, jazz and blues performers. Liner notes for many recordings are also available.
    5 simultaneous users
  • Classical Scores Library (Music Online)
    "Music Online: Classical Scores Library is a series of four volumes with a mission to provide a reliable and authoritative source for scores of the classical canon, as well as a resource for the discovery of lesser-known contemporary works. The collections encompass all major classical musical genres and time periods from the Middle Ages to the 21st century. With full, study, piano, and vocal scores, this comprehensive collection will enhance the study of music history, performance, composition and theory for a variety of scholars."

Find Articles

When searching for journal articles, an indexing and abstracting database or print index is usually the best place to begin. Below are some recommended databases for research in Music. For other databases, check the Article Databases page of the library website.

Key Resources

  • Academic Search Premier (EBSCO)
    Academic Search Premier is a multidisciplinary resource that "provides journal coverage for most academic areas of studies."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • America: History and Life (EBSCO)
    "America: History & Life is the definitive index of literature covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. With indexing for 1,700 journals from 1964 to present ... The database also includes citations and links to book and media reviews."--Database information page.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Anthropology Plus (EBSCO)
    Anthropology Plus is an index of bibliographic materials combining Anthropological Literature from Harvard University and Anthropological Index, Royal Anthropological Institute, from the UK. It provides worldwide indexing of journal articles, reports, commentaries, edited works, and obituaries in the fields of social, cultural, physical, biological, and linguistic anthropology, ethnology, archaeology, folklore, material culture, and interdisciplinary studies. Coverage is from the late 19th century to the present of all core periodicals in the field in addition to lesser-known journals.
    Unlimited simultaneous users
  • Historical Abstracts (EBSCO)
    "Historical Abstracts is an exceptional resource that covers the history of the world (excluding the United States and Canada) from 1450 to the present, including world history, military history, women's history, history of education, and more ... Provides indexing of more than 1,700 academic historical journals in over 40 languages back to 1955."--Database information page.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Iter - Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance
    A bibliography covering the period 400-1700. Citations are drawn from journals, books, conference proceedings, festschriften, encyclopedias and exhibition catalogues.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • JSTOR Archival Collection
    JSTOR provides access to back issues of a variety of scholarly journals. UNB Libraries currently subscribes to the Arts & Sciences (I through X) collections, along with the Life Sciences and Ireland collections.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Kanopy (moderated access)

    On June 1, 2019, UNB Libraries’ transitioned to a mediated access model for Kanopy online streaming, shifting from automatic purchase of titles (receiving four plays or more) to mediated purchases requiring a prior patron request.

    Kanopy is an on-demand streaming video service for educational institutions that provides access to more than 26,000 films each year. Kanopy works directly with filmmakers and film distribution companies to offer award-winning collections including titles from PBS, BBC, Criterion Collection, Media Education Foundation and more.

    Unlimited simultaneous users per leased title.
  • Films on Demand
    UNB Libraries subscribes to the Master Academic Collection, along with access to FMG Archival Films & Newsreels Collection and the Entertainment Collection. Includes 42,000+ full-length videos and over 323,000 video segments licensed for use in Canada, covering a broad range of subjects including business, social sciences, education, health and medicine, humanities, sciences, and guidance, and including archival films and newsreels. UNB subscribed Collections The Master Academic Collection (over 35,000 titles) The FM Archival Films & Newsreels (5,000+ titles) Entertainment Collection (500+ titles)
    Subscribed multi-user unlimited access per title

Some important journal titles in Music include:


Find Books

To search for books at UNB Libraries, first use the library's online catalogue, UNB WorldCat. UNB WorldCat (searchable below) searches for books and other materials held at UNB Libraries and other institutions worldwide. 

Search UNB WorldCat:
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Bibliographies list publications that have been written about a particular subject, including books, journals, government publications, etc. Annotated bibliographies provide concise summaries of what has been published in a given area.

Music Reference and Research Materials: An Annotated Bibliography HIL-REF ML113 .D83 1988
Music in Canada: A Research and Information Guide HIL-REF ML120 .C2 M67 1997

To browse the shelves for books in Music, try the following call number ranges:

ML - Literature on Music  
ML 159 - 3775 History and Criticism
ML 162 - 197 Special Periods
ML 198 - 360 By Region or Country
ML 385 - 429 Biography
ML 459 - 1380 Instruments and Instrumental Music
MT - Music Instruction and Theory  
MT 5.5 - 7 Music Theory
MT 90 - 146 Analysis and Appreciation of Music


Find Internet Sites

While there is a wealth of information freely available on the internet, not all sites are created equal. Careful evaluation is a critical part of doing research on the Internet. Below are some recommended sites:


Citing Your Sources

Accurate, properly formatted footnotes, reading lists, and bibliographies are hallmarks of good academic research. Through citing, you acknowledge the source of any ideas you mention in your writing, document your research, and provide the information your readers need to track down your sources.

Numerous citation styles exist, and each specifies what elements are required (title, author, journal name, etc.) and how the citation should be formatted. The preferred citation style for Music is often Chicago/Turabian, but your instructor may require or recommend that you use another. Consult your course syllabus or check with your instructor to be sure of using the correct citation style for your assignment.




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