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Finding Books | Music Index/DatabasesReference Resources

Finding Books

The main library catalog provides information on all the materials that the library owns; videos, and music recordings, in addition to books. 

I-Share is the shared catalog of the over 70 university and college libraries that belong to the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI).  You can use the I-Share catalog to see if books, videos or DVD’s are available for you to request to be sent here.  (You use a different procedure to get copies of articles.)  Items available in the I-Share catalog can be requested directly through a catalog link for delivery to Bradley at no charge.

Worldcat is the 3rd library catalog provided.   Worldcat is catalog that lists what materials are available through thousands of libraries located all throughout the world.   If a book, video  or DVD is not available through the Bradley library or I-Share, then Worldcat has a built in form for borrowing the item through the interlibrary loan office.

Music Index/Databases

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

  • New Grove Dictionary of American Music. Mus -- REF ML 101 .U6 N48
  • New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. Mus-- REF ML 102 .J3 N48
  • New Grove Dictionary of Opera. Mus-- REF ML 102 .O6 N5
  • New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. Mus-- REF ML 102 .I5 N48
  • International Cyclopedia of Music and Musicians. Mus + Main--REF ML 100 .T47 This is a ready-reference source covering basically the same material as Grove's but in shorter, easy-to-scan format. For instance, lists of a composer's works are attractively printed for easy identification. A pronouncing dictionary is in the 1964 edition.
  • New Harvard Dictionary of Music. Randel. Main--REF ML 100 .N486 The standard dictionary for musical terms.
  • Music Theory Dictionary: the Language of the Mechanics of Music. Lee. Mus--REF ML 108.L4 A useful dictionary for very short, to-the-point definitions. Includes charts for ranges of instruments and voices, chords, basic composition forms, signs, etc.
  • Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. Mus -- REF ML 100 .G16 A major resource on world music. Includes CD samples.
  • Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Mus + Main-- REF ML 102 .P66 G84 Extensive listings on groups and individuals. Bibliography and index in vol. 4.
  • Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre. Ganzl. (2 vol.) Main--REF ML 102 .M88 G3 A comprehensive listing of musical plays, composers, performers, lyricists, producers, etc. There are biographies of composers and lists of their works with some details. Films and recordings are also mentioned. No ballets, operas, pantomimes or revues, however. Some illustrations.
  • Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock, and Soul. Stambler. Main--REF ML 102 .P66 S8 Alphabetical listing of groups, listing of award winners, some essays.
  • Encyclopedia of Jazz. Feather. Main--REF ML 3561 .J3 E55 Entries for names. Essays on Jazz.

Theme Identification

  • A Dictionary of Musical Themes. Barlow. Mus--REF ML 128.I65 B3 Provides a "notation index" which allows a musician to locate a well-known portion of a standard instrumental work (symphonic, chamber, or solo). To use, transpose the theme to the key of C; the resulting entry can then be identified as a particular composition.
  • A Dictionary of Opera and Song Themes. Barlow. Mus--REF ML 128 .V7 B3 Similar to the Dictionary of Musical Themes, above, but for VOCAL music.


  • Directory of Music Faculties in Colleges and Universities, U.S. and Canada. Mus--REF ML 13 .D57 Lists faculty at various schools with their specialties and educational backgrounds. Also has a listing by specialty.
  • NASM (National Association of Schools of Music) Directory. Mus--REF ML 27. U5 N26 Addresses, faculty, degrees offered, etc., of accredited schools of music.
  • Musical America International Directory of the Performing Arts. Main--REF ML 12 .M88 Addresses and names of agents, performing groups, festivals, schools, etc. Includes publishers, music critics, record companies, radio and TV stations, dance groups, contests and more.



  • Music, a Guide to the Reference Literature. Brockman. Mus--REF ML 113 .B85 Annotated lists of music sources.
  • Music Reference and Research Materials. Duckles. Mus +Main--REF ML 113 .D83 Lists and descriptions of books about western music.

Specialized Bibliographies

This is a sample only. There are many more!

  • Thematisch-systematisches Verzeichnis der Werke Joh. Seb. Bachs. Schmieder. Mus--REF ML 134 .B1 S3 Complete listing of the known works of Bach, location of manuscripts, themes, etc.
  • String music in Print. Farish. Mus--REF ML 128 .S7 F4 Listing of all available music for solo or chamber string music, including harp, guitar, and lute.
  • Guide to the Pianist's Repertoire. Hinson. Mus--REF ML 128 .P3 H5 Lists and describes works for piano by each composer. Also indicates level of difficulty.
  • Catalogue of Vocal Solos and Duets Arranged in Biblical Order. Laster. Mus--REF ML 128. S3 L38

History of Music

Be sure to consult The New Grove Dictionary (Mus) as well as the sources listed here.

  • Music in Western Civilization. Lang. Mus + Main--ML 160 .L25 M8 Authoritative, comprehensive source on the history of music. Not as up-to-date as the New Grove's.
  • New Oxford History of Music.(11 vol.) Mus--ML 160 .N44 Provides detailed coverage of individual periods of history. Volume 1 is on ancient and Oriental music; volume 2 is on medieval music to 1300, etc.
  • History of Western Music. Grout. Mus + Main--ML 160 .G87 Standard textbook on music history.
  • Music in the 20th Century. Austin. Mus + Main--ML 197 .A9 One of several such works covering music of this century.
  • Heritage of Music. (4 vol.) Main--REF ML 160 .H527 1989 Beautifully illustrated history of styles, periods, composers, etc. Also has a biographical dictionary and index in each volume, cumulated index in vol. 4.


The works listed here are reference materials specifically for music. Book-length biographies for major composers and performers will be in the stacks in the Main Library. You can locate such works using the Library Catalog.

  • Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Mus + Main--REF ML 105 .B16 The basic source for information about composers and performers. Emphasis is on "classical" music, but rock 'n roll, jazz, movie personalities, etc. can be found as well.
  • ASCAP Biographical Dictionary of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. Mus--REF ML 106 .U3 A5 Biographies of members of the ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers).
  • Contemporary American Composers, a Biographical Dictionary. Mus--REF ML 390 .A54 Brief sketches of American composers, lists of works, addresses, awards.
  • Who's Who Of Jazz. Chilton. Mus + Main--REF ML 106 .U3 C5 Biographies of over 1000 musicians born or raised in the U.S., primarily after 1920.
  • Musicians Since 1900; Performers in Concert and Opera. Ewen. Main--REF ML 105 .E97
  • Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Seventies. Feather. Main--REF ML 105 .F36 Other volumes by Feather cover other periods.
  • International Encyclopedia of Women Composers. Cohen. Main--REF ML 105 .C7 Biographies and listings of works.
  • Contemporary Musicians. (13 vol.) Main--REF ML 385 .C615 All sorts of musicians are covered, groups and individuals, in all sorts of flavors, (classical, pop, jazz, rock & roll, etc). The last volume has a cumulative name index and a classified index.

Program Notes and Criticism

The following call numbers in the stacks (Main Library, primarily) have material for program notes (short explanations of background, form of composition, some general idea of what the composer attempted to convey):

                   MT   and   MT
                   90            125

For more detailed and/or more scholarly treatment, refer to the following:

  • Music Index. Main--REF ML 118 .M84 This indexes periodical articles published about individual pieces as well as broader categories.
  • Music Analyses: an Annotated Guide to the Literature. Diamond. Mus--REF ML 128 .A7 D5 Lists musical compositions and articles or parts of books that contain information about them.
  • Singer's Repertoire. Volume 5. Coffin. Mus--REF ML 128 .V7 C67 Program notes for standard vocal repertoire.
  • Kobbe's Complete Opera Book. Mus + MainREF MT 95 .K52 Gives the stories of operas, lists of characters, brief history, and some basic themes of music.

NOTE: Record jackets and CD booklets very often provide brief critical appraisals and some historical background of specific compositions. Material of this sort is housed in the Music Resource Center (Mus).

Items in Collections

Many shorter works of music are found in collections rather than in individually published and cataloged volumes. To find such works one needs to use an index to the collections. In such indexes the collections are usually indicated by a code. The user then must identify the meaning of the code and locate the collection that was identified. This is a sampling of indexes available:

  • Songs in Collections, an Index. DeCharms. Mus--REF ML 128 .S3 D37 Index by title and composer of mostly "classical" music. There is also a section on national songs.
  • Song Index 1934. Sears. Mus + Main--REF ML 128 .S3 S31 Similar to DeCharms (above) but older. Still useful.
  • Popular Song Index. Havlice. Main--REF ML 128 .S3 H4 Similar to DeCharms (above) but the emphasis is on popular songs.
  • Piano Music in Collections, an Index. Fuszek. Mus--REF ML 128 .P3 F87 Index by composer. Also identifies the complete contents of each collection indexed.

Song Directories

These works differ from the ones listed above in that they do not locate for the user a copy of the actual item of music. They do, however, provide background information (date, composer, performing groups, etc.) that often helps in finding such a copy.

  • Popular Music. Shapiro/Pollock. Main--REF ML 120 .U5 S5 A finding guide to songs. Gives data about songs, history, and background. Each volume has a separate index for the particular period covered in that volume.
  • The Great Song Thesaurus. Lax. Mus + Main--REF ML 128 .S3 L4 History of popular songs, index by year of composition. Lists award winners, many other interesting facts.
  • American Song, Musical Theater Companion. Bloom. Main--REF ML 128 .M78 B6 Facts and statistics about musical shows, list of songs in each show, cast, etc.
  • Songs of the Theater. Lewine. Main--REF ML 128 .S3 L55 Lists songs from Broadway and off-Broadway productions, gives composer, lyricist, show and date for each.

Translations of Song Texts

For "classical" songs, song texts in foreign languages can be found translated in a whole series of works of which the following are only a few examples.

  • The Ring of Words. Miller. Mus--REF ML 54.6 .M5 R5 Translations of standard vocal repertoire.
  • Word-by-word Translations of Songs and Arias. Coffin. (2 vol.) Mus--REF ML 54.6 .C6 W7 Volume 1: German and French Volume 2: Italian
  • The Interpretation of French Song. Bernace. Mus--REF MT 892 .B4 Discusses French songs and performance practices, but also gives translations of many songs.
  • German for Musicians. Barber. Mus--REF MT 883 .B37 G4 Lessons in German with aids in translating song texts.
  • Italian Art Song. / Lakeway. Mus--REF ML 2533. L25 Italian solo songs with piano accompaniment are discussed, and texts are given in the original and translation.

Titles of Compositions

(Nicknames and variant forms)

  • Music Titles in Translation. Hodgson. Mus--REF ML 111 .H7 Gives English equivalents for foreign titles of compositions.
  • Popular Titles and Subtitles of Musical Compositions. Berkowitz. Mus--REF ML 113 .B39 Identifies "nicknames" of compositions, often also giving some basic background information about the work.
  • Cross Index Title Guide to Classical Music. Pallay. Mus--REF ML 113 .P34 Titles of compositions in various languages, with nicknames

Publishing/Career Aids

  • Songwriter's Market: Where to Sell Your Songs. Main--REF ML102. P66 S63 Identifies the markets for popular composition.
  • Copyright, the Complete Guide for Music Educators. Althouse. Mus--REF KF 3035 .Z9 A48 Copyright aids specifically for music educators.
  • Copyright It Yourself. Main--REF KF 2994 .C6 Copy of the law and many sample forms. Easy-to-read instructions.
  • Lindey on Entertainment, Publishing and the Arts. Lindey. (4 vol.) Main--REF KF 2992 .L5 Detailed treatment of the law and how it affects the musician as well as other artists and communication specialists.
  • Music Business Handbook and Career Guide. Baskerville. Main--REF ML 3795 .B33 Guide for publishing, managing, marketing, broadcasting.
  • Your Own Way in Music. Uscher. Mus--REF ML 3790 .U8 Finding ways to have a career in music. Section on arts and the government, addresses of foundations and organizations.
  • Music USA. Mus--REF ML 3795 .M8903 Statistical information on sales, import, export, surveys of the industry, etc. Updated each year

Guide to Recordings

  • American Record Guide. Mus--PERIODICAL Monthly publication evaluating the most recent classical recordings.

Odds and Ends

The Music Resource Center maintains a collection of many interesting and useful materials. For instance, it has a curricular collection of elementary-level school materials. Here is a list of various other materials to whet your appetite:

  • International Encyclopedia of Women Composers. Cohen Main--REF ML 105 .C7 This work, in two volumes, lists over 6,000 composers from all over the world. There are biographies, bibliographies, discographies, and photographs. There are interesting statistics, listings of professional societies, and composers listed by profession.
  • The Source. Mus--M1 .S77 A journal featuring experimental music by avant-garde composers. Very strange!
  • How to Make Electronic Music. Drake. Mus-- MT 41 .D7 Booklets, filmstrips, recordings to show step-by-step processes for composing in the electronic medium.
  • Computer Literacy for Musicians. Hofstetter. Mus-- ML 74 .H63 Explains terminology, MIDI standard, how to buy a music system, etc. NOTE: Books on this subject go out of date very quickly, but the library will have others to replace older ones.
  • Simon and Schuster Book of the Opera. Main--REF ML 102 .O6 O63 Discussion of each opera, chronologically organized. Index. Well-illustrated.
  • Improvising Jazz. Coker. Mus--MT 68 .C7 Useful guide for the practicing musician. Includes characteristic progressions, analyses of possibilities.
  • Music Since 1900. Slonimsky. Mus--REF ML 197 .S634 Musical events listed year by year.
  • Ganzl's Book of the Musical Theatre. Main--REF MT 95 G2 Summaries of musical shows.
  • Encyclopedia of the Musical Theatre. Ganzl. (2 vol.) Main--REF ML 102 .M88 G3 A comprehensive listing of musical plays, composers, performers, lyricists, producers, etc. There are biographies of composers and lists of their works with some details. Films and recordings are also mentioned. No ballets, operas, pantomimes or revues, however. Some illustrations.
  • Book of Classical Music Lists. Kupferberg. Mus--REF ML 63 .K88 Amusing and serious listings of musical topics of all sorts. For instance, composers who lived past the age of 80, part-time composers, women composers, music to Shakespeare's plays, occupations of opera characters, orchestra pay scales, award winners, etc.
  • Guinness Book of Music. Mus--REF ML 160 .D4 G8 Illustrated, similar in tone to the above. Useful information interspersed with trivial.