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Research Guide: Music




Finding Music and Recordings

Using Catalogs:

  • Use Stewart Library's online catalog to find musical recordings housed in our collection.
    • Search by general keyword or alphabetically browse by author (composers, conductors, groups, etc), title and subject
    • Be sure to limit by CD's, Cassettes, Tapes under Limits at the bottom of the screen.
  • Use WorldCat to find music in other libraries, locally and globally
    • Select SpeakerSound Recordings. Be aware sound recordings may not be available via interlibrary loan
    • Use your WSU student ID and password to access from off campus

From the Internet: Many different types of music are available on the Internet. These can be stored in many different file types. Use the Web Resources links below and Search Engines to search for audio files on the Internet. Try using Hotbot, do an advanced search and limit to real media and/or audio, or AltaVista's Advanced Audio Search. Also try for MP3's and radio.

From Online Stores: Order music online from Amazon Books, Barnes and Noble or many other stores.

Interlibrary Loan:  If we do not own a particular CD, Video or other media needed, we can try to borrow it for you from another library through Interlibrary Loan.  Be aware, it is often difficult to order media as many libraries do not lend audio tapes, CD's or videos.

Finding Books and Scores

Using Catalogs: Use the library's online catalog, to find books on music, musical instruments, musicians, music education, and other music topics. You can search by keyword or alphabetically browse by author/composer, title and subject. Use WorldCat to find books in other libraries.  For home or off campus access please use your WSU Login.

Music Books: Most music books are found in the General Collection on the Top Level under the call number "M." It is useful to browse the shelves to get an overview of the music collection. 

Useful call number areas for music are:

  • M 1 - M 1490 -- instrumental music 
    • scores -- most scores are located in this area, the exact call number depends on the number of instruments.
  • ML 1 - 3930 -- literature on music
  • ML 100 - ML 158 -- reference works on music
  • ML 159 - ML 3739 -- history and criticism
  • ML 385 - ML 429 -- biography
  • ML 430 - ML 455 -- composition
  • ML 3930 -- literature on music for children
  • MT 1 -- MT 960 -- musical instruction and study
  • MT 1 -- pedagogics
  • MT 2 - MT 5 -- history and criticism
  • MT 7 -- music theory
  • MT 20 - MT 32 -- special methods
  • MT 40 - MT 67 -- composition
  • MT 170- MT 810 -- instrumental techniques
  • MT 220 - 255 -- piano

Scores: Find scores using the library catalog. Search by title or author/composer. Most music scores are found in the call number area of  "M1000" on the lower level. It is very useful to browse the shelves to get an overview of the music collection. 

From Bookstores: Order books online from Amazon Books or Barnes and Noble

Interlibrary Loan: If we do not own a particular book or article you need, we will borrow it for you from another library through Interlibrary Loan.

Reference Resources

Reference resources include encyclopedias, dictionaries and other materials you use to "refer" to. Use these resources for background information on a topic. For home or off campus access please use your WSU Login.


  • Oxford Music Online [Now includes Grove Music Online] - Universally acknowledged as the unsurpassed authority on all aspects of music.
  • Online Encyclopedias - Use online encyclopedias to find background information, facts or dates on a topic of interest. 
  • All Music Guide - Short articles on every style of music and many artists including biographical essays, discographies and bibliographies.

PRINT REFERENCE RESOURCES (Encyclopedias and Dictionaries)

Listed below are some selected examples. Use the catalog or browse the shelves to see many more reference books on Music. Music reference resources are located in the reference area on the Middle Level.

  • Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians - Reference Table 6B. This is useful for biographical information.
  • A Dictionary of Opera and Song Themes - Reference, ML128.V7B3 1976 
  • Garland Encyclopedia of World Music - Reference Table 6 B.  This is a wonderful new encyclopedia of world music.
  • New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (REF Index Table 6B) -- This contains long articles on a wide variety of subjects. Each article has a bibliography. Online version is listed above.
  • New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments and Instrument Makers (REF Index Table 6B) -- Information on instruments, their history and evolution.
  • New Harvard Dictionary of Music (REF ML 100 .N485 1986) -- has definitions of musical terms and historical articles. See "Education in the United States" for a history of music teaching practices.
  • The Library also owns a number of more subject specific dictionaries and encyclopedias including: The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music in America, and many others. 
  • The Library also owns a number of more subject specific biographical sources, including: International Encyclopedia of Women Composers, Contemporary American Composers, and many others. 

Ask at the Reference Desk on the Middle Level north, for help in finding these and other music reference resources.

Finding Articles


To find articles on your topic you need to use article databases, also known as periodical indexes. Each database usually covers a group of subject related journals. Search by subject or keyword in these indexes. For home or off campus access please use your WSU Login.

  • Arts & Humanities Search - Citations from many of the world's leading arts and humanities journals. 1980 - present, updates weekly. 
  • Academic Search Premier - Provides some full text articles in over a thousand magazines and journals.  
  • Lexis/Nexis Academic - Full-text coverage of many newspapers from across the US and around the world. Useful for finding reviews of music performances.
  • EbscoHost Education Databases - For articles and other types of information on teaching music. Cross-database searching for several databases, including ERIC, selected full text.
  • IIPA -- International Index to Performing Arts - Citations, abstracts and some full-text articles on all aspects of the performing arts.
  • Music Index - 1966 - present. Reference Table 3A


Current magazines and journals on music and music education can be browsed in the Current Periodicals Area, including:

American Choral Review   ML1.V889 High Fidelity  ML1.H638
American Music Teacher  MT 1 .A512

Journal of Musicology 

ML 1 .J864
Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education  ML 1 .C332 Journal of Music Theory   ML 1 .J68
The Choral Journal  ML1.C5514 Journal of Research in Music Education   ML 1 .J86
Clavier  ML 1 .C617 Musical Quarterly  ML 1 .M9872
Current Musicology  ML1.C976 Piano & Keyboard (before 1993 was called Piano Quarterly)  ML 1 .P581
Down Beat   ML1.D748 Rolling Stone AP1.R754 

Web Resources

Here are some WWW sites to get you started. Most of these will take you to other links, so explore!


Research Tips

Updated May 24, 2010 . Please send comments to Michael Palumbo
Weber State University, Stewart Library. Copyright © 2016 All Rights Reserved.

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