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Music History 3503: Background Resources

Background Information

Background exploration is crucial to good research.  Search subject encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks to get an overview, definitions of terms, biographical information, or recommendations for additional reading.

Try a database such as CREDO for online background sources.  DISCOVER and Proquest Central provide multisearching capability for many Boreham Library Resources. 

Research Guides

Reference Titles

The Reference Collection, 1st floor, has print special reference encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and similar tools on many kinds of subjects.  Search the catalog to find a print reference title on a subject or use an electronic reference title.  

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music      Reference Collection, 1st. floor  780.8 G169en     These are print titles. 

              Vol. 1                                Vol. 2                       Vol. 3                                Vol. 4                               Vol. 5   




       Vol. 6                           Vol. 7                              Vol. 8                               Vol. 9                                    Vol.10 

  • Vol. 1 Africa 
  • Vol. 2  South America, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean 
  • Vol. 3  United States and Canada
  • Vol. 4  Southeast Asia 
  • Vol. 5 South Asia- Indian Subcontinent  
  • Vol. 6  Middle East  
  • Vol. 7  East Asia: China, Japan, and Korea
  • Vol. 8  Europe
  • Vol. 9  Australia and the Pacific Islands
  • Vol. 10  The World's Music: General Perspectives and Reference Tools 



New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians        Baker's Biographical Dictionary                   New Oxford History of Music 

Ref 780.3 N42026dmm (also in Oxford Online)       Ref 780.922 B177b                                      Ref 780. N42   10 volumes  


Other Major Reference Sources

  • American Musical Theater Song Encyclopedia Ref 782.14 H622a
  • Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Sixties  Ref 785.42 F313e
  • Encyclopedia of Popular Music   Ref 780.3 St23
  • Encyclopedia of the Musical Theater   Ref 782.1403 G159e
  • Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music   Ref 789.3 G947p
  • Historical Anthology of Music (HAM)   Ref 780.9 D299
  • History of Western Music  (Grout) 780.9 G9189hwm
  • Music Reference and Research Materials: An Annotated Bibliography  Ref 016.78 D8584xm
  • Source Readings in Music History from Classical Antiquity through the Romantic Era 780.9 St89s                                                                            
  • Women in Music: An Anthology of Source Readings from the Middle Ages to the Present  780.88042 W8421m

Electronic Books

The library catalog lists many electronic books for music.  This is one example of a standard reference source:  Harvard Dictionary of Music.


Foreign Language Dictionaries      

Foreign language dictionaries are shelved in the 400s in the Reference Collection, 1st floor.   Locate call numbers for specific dictionaries in the Library Catalog.