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Music Resources: Getting Started

This guide is intended to provide guidance for students researching in the area of Music.

WHY reference sources?

REFERENCE SOURCES (encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, manuals, bibliographies, etc.) are a great place to start your research.  They provide general introductions to a wide variety of topics, can explain unfamiliar concepts, or help identify references for further research. There are a wide variety of general and subject specific reference sources that will provide information on a variety of topics within the Music discipline.

WHY books?

BOOKS tend to provide in-depth information on somewhat broad topics.  They are excellent sources for researching:

  • specialized music topics (e.g., music theory and women in music)
  • music genres (e.g., jazz, musical theater and opera)
  • music instruments and techniques (e.g., guitar, harpsichord  and violin)
  • music periods (e.g.,  Medieval and 20th Century)
  • music of specific geographical areas or cultures (e.g.,  Canada and Ghana)
  • musicians (e.g., Dimitri Shostakovitch)

Library of Congress Classifications

Detailed listing of Library of Congress Subject Headings for Music - CLASS M - MUSIC

Mus = LP collection

M = Music

ML = Literature on Music

MT = Instruction and study


WHY articles in newspapers, magazines and journals?

ARTICLES  in newspapers, magazines and journals tend to provide in-depth information on specific topics and are a great place to research both contemporary and retrospective topics in Music.  Remember that if your instructor has asked for scholarly, refereed or peer reviewed sources, you will not be able to use an article from a newspaper or magazine.  Even though they are not peer reviewed though, newspapers and magazines are still a great source for interviews of contemporary artists and composers.