This chapter deals with the books and electronic resources that you can use to find information about music. It includes reference works such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and catalogs, as well as the more specialist books that music researchers use.
To see a sample from this chapter, click here.
Cross references from Music in Words
The chapter mentions RILM, RISM, RIPM, and RIdIM. These acronyms refer to the four great international collaborations dedicated to identifying, classifying, and disseminating information about four realms of music sources. They deal with, respectively, musical repertoire, literature about music, musical periodical publications, and music iconography. Each has a site explaining the project and what it offers.
RILM (Répertoire international de littérature musicale/International Repertory of Music Literature)
RISM (Répertoire international des sources musicales/The International Inventory of Musical Sources) Sites for RISM are run in several countries. The US RISM office is at Harvard University and contains information about the project and its resources.
RIPM (Répertoire international de la presse musicale/Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals 1800-1950)
RIdIM (Répertoire internationale d'iconographie musicale/The International Inventory of Music Iconography) The RIdIM project is part of the Center for Music Iconography at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
Helpful external Web sites
Some music-related Web sites
The BBC's music pages also carry links to a wider range of pages in the UK's most widely consulted site.
The British Library site allows you to access and search the music catalogues of the British Library, as well as all its other catalogues; go to 'Collections', then 'Music'.
The value of recorded music for musical research and discourse is becoming increasingly acknowledged. Two sites are especially outstanding. One of these is the Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music (CHARM), a collaborative venture between a number of British universities, which has developed a range of resources and tools for studying recorded music.
The other is the Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara, which provides open access to some of the very oldest recordings online.
The Digital Archive of Popular American Music enables you to access information about the sheet music collection of the Archive of Popular American Music at UCLA, including images of sheet music cover art.
Indiana University Bloomington Libraries: William and Gayle Cook Music Library is the front-running university music website in the USA, wide-ranging with an impressive collection of links (click on 'Useful links').
The International Association of Music Information Centres gives links to the sites of music information centers in most countries.
The Library of Congress provides a sophisticated and extremely useful site that includes many sound recordings, photographs, and sheet music held by the library.
The National Music Museum, University of South Dakota, is one of the largest museums of musical instruments in the world.
The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts: Selected Music Resources on the Internet is a well-organized American public library site with good links.
Sibelius Academy: Music Resources is an excellent Finland-based site.
General encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference sites
Britannica Online is Encyclopedia Britannica in its online form - comprehensive and with many links.
The CIA site The World Factbook provides contemporary statistical information with maps on every country in the world.
Dictionary.com is an online dictionary which also includes frequently asked questions about grammar, a translation tool, and links to a thesaurus and other dictionaries including foreign language dictionaries.
The Oxford English Dictionary is the best dictionary, but password-protected.
Refdesk.com includes links to several free online dictionaries and encyclopedias.
Music reference books
This section is a very selective bibliography. It gives examples of some of the more helpful reference books that will serve as alternatives or additions to New Grove II.
Baker, T. Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Revised by N. Slonimsky. 6 vols. 9th ed. New York: Schirmer Books, 2000.
Brown, Howard Mayer, and Stanley Sadie. Performance Practice. New Grove Handbooks in Music/The Norton Grove Handbooks in Music. 2 vols. London: Macmillan, 1990.
Caldwell, J. Editing Early Music. Early Music Series 5. Rev. ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995.
Campbell, M., and C. Greated. The Musician's Guide to Acoustics. London: J. M. Dent & Sons Ltd, 1987.
Clough, F. F., and G. J. Cuming. The World's Encyclopedia of Recorded Music. London: The London Gramophone Corp. in association with Sidgwick & Jackson, 1952. First Supplement (April 1950 to May-June 1951) is bound with the main volume; Second Supplement (1951-2) London, 1952; Third Supplement (1953-5) London, 1957; repr. by Greenwood Press, Westport, CT, 1970.
Gammond, P., ed.. The Oxford Companion to Popular Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.
The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. 10 vols. New York: Routledge, 1998-2002.
Gray, M.H. A Bibliography of Discographies. 3 vols. New York: R. R. Bowker, 1977-83.
Hefele, B. Jazz Bibliography: International Literature on Jazz, Blues, Spirituals, Gospel and Ragtime Music with a Selected List of Works on the Social and Cultural Background from the Beginning to the Present. Munich: K. G. Saur, 1981.
Hill, G. R., and N. L. Stephens. Collected Historical Series and Sets and Monuments of Music. Berkeley, CA: Fallen Leaf Press, 1997.
Hitchcock, H. W., and S. Sadie, eds. The New Grove Dictionary of American Music. 4 vols. New York: Grove's Dictionaries of Music; London: Macmillan, 1986.
Hoffmann, F. W. The Literature of Rock, 1954-1978. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1981. Supplements: The Literature of Rock II, 1979-1983, with B. L. Cooper and L. A. Hoffmann, 2 vols (1986); The Literature of Rock III, 1984-1990, with Additional Material for the Period 1954-1983, with B. L. Cooper (1995).
Kernfeld, B., ed. The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. 3 vols. 2nd ed. New York: Grove, 2002.
Lawson, Colin, and Robin Stowell. The Historical Performance of Music: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Lord, Tom. The Jazz Discography. West Vancouver: Lord Music Reference, 1992-. (Also available online by subscription and on CD-ROM.)
The Music Index: A Subject-Author Guide to Current Music Periodical Literature. Detroit, MI: Information Service, Inc., Jan. 1949 onwards. (Also available on CD-ROM.)
Myers, H., ed. Ethnomusicology. New Grove Handbooks in Music. 2 vols. London: Macmillan, 1993.
Nettl, Bruno. Reference Materials in Ethnomusicology: A Bibliographic Essay. 2nd ed. Detroit, MI: Information Coordinators, 1967.
Randel, D. M., ed. The Harvard Dictionary of Music. 4th rev. ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003.
——. The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press; Harvard University Press, 1996.
Sadie, J. A., and R. Samuel, eds. The New Grove Dictionary of Women Composers. London: Macmillan, 1994; American ed., The Norton/Grove Dictionary of Women Composers. New York: W. W. Norton.
Sadie, Stanley, ed. The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. 3 vols. London: Macmillan Press; New York: Grove's Dictionaries of Music, 1984.
Shepherd, John et al., eds. The Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World. 7 vols. London: Continuum, 2003-2005.
Thematic and other catalogs of musical works - published and unpublished
The complete editions of the works of major art music composers also act as catalogs of the outputs of those composers. These catalogs are often given in a user-friendly form as appendices to entries on composers in New Grove II.
The most comprehensive list of thematic catalogs is published in Barry S. Brook and Richard Viano's Thematic Catalogues in Music: An Annotated Bibliography, 2nd ed. Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon Press, 1997.
Three other sources are worth mentioning with regard to unpublished and published music in earlier periods. These volumes between them contain references to a huge quantity of music written in the Middle Ages and Renaissance:
Brown, Howard Mayer. Instrumental Music Printed before 1600: A Bibliography. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1965.
Kellman, Herbert, et. al., eds. Census-Catalogue of Manuscript Sources of Polyphonic Music, 1400-1550. Renaissance Manuscript Studies 1. 5 vols. Neuhausen-Stuttgart: American Institute of Musicology and Hänssler-Verlag, 1979-1988.
Lesure, François, ed. Recueils imprimés, XVIe-XvIIe siècles. RISM B I. Munich: Henle, 1960.
Other reference books
Bowman, John S., ed. The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Drabble, Margaret, ed. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th rev. ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. (Also available online at http://www.oxfordreference.com.)
Encyclopedia Britannica. 32 vols. 15th ed. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 2007. (Available electronically as Brittanica Online.)
Evans, H., and M. Evans, compilers. Picture Researcher's Handbook: An International Guide to Picture Sources and How to Use Them. 7th ed. Leatherhead, UK: Pira International, 2001.
Matthew, H.C.G., and B.H. Harrison, eds. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. (The most comprehensive dictionary of British biography. Also available online.)
Mitchell, B. R. ed.. International Historical Statistics 1750-2005: Africa, Asia and Oceania; Americas; Europe. 3 vols. 6th rev. ed. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
Parini, Jay, ed. The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature. 4 vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
Simpson, J. A., and E. S. C. Weiner, eds. The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989. (Available online at www.oed.com.)
Turner, J., ed. The Dictionary of Art. 34 vols. New ed. New York: Oxford University Press. 2003. (Available electronically as Grove Art Online.)