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Music 396: Musical Geographies


Encyclopedias offer helpful overviews of topics and provide valuable bibliographies that lead to other trustworthy information.

Locate encyclopedias in the music reference collection (call number range REF ML 100-105)

  • Encyclopedia of African American Music.  3 vols.
    REF ML 101.U6E53 2011

    Brief articles that help to put subjects in a broader context.
  • New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 29 vols.  
    REF ML 100.N48 2001
    The most scholarly music encyclopedia in the English language, available in paper in the Music Library's reference area, and online. Be sure to use the bibliographies and list of composers' works at the end of articles.
  • New Grove Dictionary of American Music.  8 vols.
    REF ML 101.U6N48 2013
    A spin-off set from the larger New Grove publication.  Articles on American music are more comprehensive and in-depth; not all are yet included in the online version


Use dictionaries to locate quick definitions or meanings of terms.

The music library owns many specialized dictionaries in the music reference collection (call number range REF ML 100-109)

  • Harvard Dictionary of Music
    REF ML100.A64 2003

    The basic dictionary of musical terms. Does not contain biographical information.

  • Terminorum Musicae Index: Septem Linguis Redactus
    REF ML108.T476
    Offers equivalent musical terms in seven languages.

Biographical Information

For quick biographical information, consult:

  • Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. 6 vols.
    REF ML105.B2 2001
  • A Biographical Dictionary of English Court Musicians 1485-1714.  2 vols.
    REF ML106.G7B56 1998

    Information on a multitude of English court musicians, including both major and minor participants.
  • Directory of Music Faculties in Colleges and Universities, U.S. and Canada.  
    REF ML13.D57
    A quick way to find out who works where.
  • International Who's Who in Music and Musicians' Directory
    REF ML105.I58
    Brief biographical coverage of living musicians with useful appendices. Vol. 1 covers classical music, vol. 2 popular.

Timetables and Chronologies

Timetables can be a good source of information about events occurring on a given date.  Some good options for this project include: