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Music Resources: Finding Information in Texts

A guide to help you find, evaluate, and use music resources.

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Caleb Britton
Subjects: Art & Design, Music, Theatre

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

When you're not sure what you're looking for or where to look, a dictionary or an encyclopedia can help you get started.  A comprehensive source for these types of books is Oxford Music Online.  It includes the following:

  • New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2nd edition, 2001)
  • New Grove Dictionary of Opera (1992)
  • New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2nd edition, 2002)
  • Grove Dictionary of American Music (2nd edition, 2013)
  • Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments (2nd edition, 2014)
  • Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th edition, 2009)
  • Oxford Companion to Music (2011)
  • Oxford Dictionary of Music (2nd edition, revised, 2006)



This database also has Subject Guides that bring together all the entries for a particular topic.  These include various periods of music and women composers.



Here are some other dictionaries and encyclopedias that might be helpful.


When you are looking for in-depth information on a topic, you might need a book.  You can use the catalog to find books in Helmke Library.

Library Search
Browse:         Catalog        Databases        Online Journals



If Helmke Library doesn't have what you need, you can search libraries from around the world in WorldCat and then use Document Delivery to request items.

Finding Articles

These resources can help you find articles, editorials, reviews, and other items in journals, magazines, and newspapers.


If you know the specific title of a periodical, you can search for online access by using E-Journal Finder.

Print copies and online sources for journals can be found in the catalog (see above) as well.


Use the databases below to do further searching on your topic.

Biographical Information

These resources have information about composers, conductors, performers, and others in the world of music.