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Music Research Resources


Music periodical indexes. (See also this list of databases)

  • Music Index. A comprehensive guide to articles on popular music as well as classical in hundreds of music periodicals of many countries. Citations include book reviews, obituaries, and news and articles about music, musicians, and the music industry. Music Index has been available in print since 1949. The online database contains millions of records from 1970 to the present and is updated quarterly. By default, the search engine looks for documents with all the terms entered. Use quotation marks to search for exact phrases. Separate terms with OR to find any of the words entered.
  • RILM Abstracts of Music Literature (with Full Text).From hip-hop to Händel, from ethnomusicology to music therapy, from elementary music education to advanced music theory, RILM provides clear, verified bibliographic information, fully cited, abstracted, and indexed. Documentation of conference proceedings goes back to 1835. RILM includes more than one million pages of full-text content from hundreds of periodicals in many languages published from the early 20th century to the present. Besides scholarly articles and reviews, RILM includes obituaries, editorials, correspondence, advertisements, and news items.
  • Music Periodicals Database. (Formerly International Index to Music Periodicals). Provides indexing and abstracts for several hundred international music periodicals from many countries, plus full text for many of the indexed journals. Some complete journal runs are included, with indexing back to 1874. Covers music education, performance, ethnomusicology, musical theater, theory, popular music forms, and composition. Covers both scholarly and popular music journals, ranging from International Journal of Music Education, Ethnomusicology, Jazz Education Journal, and Musical Times to Rock and Rap Confidential and Rolling Stone. By default, the search engine looks for documents with all the terms entered. Use quotation marks to search for exact phrases. Separate terms with OR to find any of the words entered.
  • Bibliographie des Musikschrifttums online. An international and interactive bibliography of literature on music edited by the Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung Preußischer Kuturbesitz (State Institute of Music Research). Printed volumes (ML113 .B5) cover the period 1950-1988 plus a few years in the 1930s. Publication was suspended during the Second World War. Currently, the Bibliographie des Musikschrifttums provides bibliographic data from 1950 to the present. It includes monographs, articles and reviews from journals, Festschriften, congress proceedings, yearbooks, anthologies and essays from critical reports. Main sources are national bibliographies, journals, monographs and subject bibliographies. Contributions from journals with an interdiscplinary view on music are considered for inclusion. Each year the editors check hundreds of sources and add thousands of titles. Conversion is in progress of the analog data from the periods 1936-1941 and 1976-1985. The site is available in English and German. Search terms are searched not only as author and title keywords but also as subject headings.
  • RIPM – With Full Text. An international annotated database indexing c.400 music periodicals from the 18th to early 20th centuries to c.1950, including articles, reviews, illustrations, music examples, and advertisements.
  • Rock's Backpages. An online archive of interviews, features, reviews, and other articles on pop music of many genres from the 1950s to the present. Full text and searchable. Includes some streaming audio.
  • RIPM Jazz Periodicals. A full-text collection of about 100 jazz journals and magazines published in the United States from roughly 1914 to 2000. All journal issues are out of print, with numerous complete publication runs reconstructed by RIPM.
  • Music Magazine Archive. A series of digital collections including rock music magazines. These publications capture the social and historical context of the repertory, as well as scholarly research areas such as race, class, gender, American studies, and youth culture.
  • Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive. Primary sources for the history of the film and entertainment industries, from vaudeville and silent movies to c.2000. Includes US and UK trade magazines covering film, music, dance, broadcasting and theater, together with film fan magazines and music press.


Multidisciplinary periodical indexes. (See also this list of databases)

  • JSTOR. Multidisciplinary full-text database covering the journal literature of the arts and humanities, including important music journals. These include the complete back runs of titles dedicated to scholarly research and theory in the field of music, including journals published in the Netherlands, Croatia, Hungary, Germany, and France. Click here for a list.
  • Web of Science Citation Index. A multi-disciplinary index of the journal literature of the arts and humanities from 1975 to the present. It fully covers hundreds of leading arts and humanities journals, and indexes selected items from science and social science journals. Includes many major music journals, though fewer than the resources listed above. Allows cited reference searching, which lets you search citation data (the notes to articles), taking a known source and finding other sources that cite it, or lets you find sources citing work by a specific author. Updated weekly.


Library catalogs

  • OSU Libraries Catalog. Books, scores, sound recordings, videos available at the Music & Dance Library and other OSU libraries.
  • OhioLINK. A combined catalog of most Ohio college and university libraries and many Ohio public libraries. If an item is not available at OSU (not in our online catalog, checked out, etc.), you can search for it in this database and make an online request to have it sent here. The service is free, and most OhioLINK items arrive in three to five business days.
  • OCLC WorldCat. If you cannot locate an item in our online catalog or in the OhioLINK catalog, you can search this combined catalog of thousands of libraries around the world. Many items can be requested by interlibrary loan, and you can make the request on line.
  • University of Oxford Bodleian Libraries. More than half a million printed scores, ranging from the original conducting score of Handel’s Messiah and the 11th-century Winchester Troper to the sheet music of contemporary pop songs. Search via SOLO, the Oxford University Libraries’ online catalog.
  • British Library Integrated Catalog - The 62-volume catalog of printed music held by the British Library was published in book form in the 1980s. Its entries have been incorporated into the online Integrated Catalog.
  • Library of Congress Music Treasures Consortium. An alliance of libraries with holdings of unique music resources, including manuscripts, prints, and first and early editions. The Library of Congress hosts the consortium website, which gives bibliographic information on each item. Access to the digital items is provided through links to the holding library's own website. The items are freely available for scholarly use. Included also are primary source manuscripts, early printed editions of notated music, early treatises on music, and correspondence of prominent composers. See also Library of Congress Collections with Manuscripts/Mixed Materials.


Dissertations & theses

  • ProQuest Dissertations & Theses. Citations for dissertations and theses done at institutions worldwide. The Advanced Search option lets you limit your search to specific areas of music. Free PDFs of almost all dissertations done since 1997, and selected dissertations and theses prior to 1997.
  • British Library EThOS Service. Full text of roughly half a million doctoral theses done at UK institutions. Download instantly, or order a scanned copy quickly and easily.
  • Doctoral Dissertations in Musicology. An international database of completed dissertations and new dissertation topics in musicology, music theory, and ethnomusicology, as well as in related musical, scientific, and humanistic disciplines. Includes the contents of the earlier printed editions of Doctoral Dissertations in Musicology and supplements contributed by musicological centers throughout the world.


Encyclopedias & dictionaries


Bibliographies & indexes

  • Index to Printed Music. Use this database to find individual pieces in complete works editions and anthologies (e.g., the M2 and M3 call number ranges). Searchable by title, composer, editor, genre, language, librettist, publisher, series, or instrumentation. The database lists sets and series organized by various criteria: composer (complete works: Gesamtausgaben), geographical area (Monuments: Denkmäler), period or style, original source (including manuscripts), anthologies.
  • RISM: Répertoire International des Sources Musicales. RISM is an international effort to identify sources of music and writings about music from the earliest times through c.1850. Sources include music prints, manuscripts, and libretti, as well as theoretical writings about music. The online catalog contains thousands of references to music manuscripts, representing the works of thousands of composers. The sources are preserved in the libraries and archives of various countries. RISM was founded in 1952 by the International Musicological Society and the International Association of Music Libraries.
  • Oxford Bibliographies
  • Oxford Reference Online. The Core Collection contains dictionary, language reference, and subject reference books published by Oxford University Press. A fully indexed, cross-searchable.
  • Credo Reference. Scholarly reference books for all subject areas, together with thousands of images, charts, and graphs.
  • Music Online: African American Music Reference. Reference texts, biographies, chronologies, sheet music, images, lyrics, liner notes, and discographies that chronicle the diverse history and culture of the African American experience through blues, jazz, spirituals, civil rights songs, slave songs, minstrels, rhythm and blues, gospel, and other forms of Black American musical expression.
  • MusRef - Bibliography of Music/Dance Reference Sources - Brigham Young University - Bibliographies and reference sources (print and online), several hundred of which are annotated with critiques on use, coverage, organization, and pros and cons. Many entries also list published reviews for the corresponding sources. Regularly updated. Includes directories, dictionaries and encyclopedias, periodical indexes and other specialized indexes, bibliographies of music research, repertory guides, thematic catalogs, catalogs of music collections and exhibits, discographies, chronologies, and select histories and guides to music librarianship.
  • Bach Bibliography (Queen's University, Belfast). A reference database providing information on published books of scholarly contents and reviews, published articles of scholarly contents (including reviews and correspondence), published facsimiles, printed editions of music (currently focusing on pre-1950), unpublished theses and dissertations, and unpublished conference and meeting papers.
  • University of Memphis Libraries Guide to Online Manuscript Materials.Sources of online manuscripts, sketches, letters, first editions, letters, images.
  • ArchiveGrid. ArchiveGrid helps researchers looking for primary source materials held in archives, libraries, museums, and historical societies by offering millions of records describing archival materials, historical documents, personal papers, family histories, and more. More than a thousand archival institutions are represented.
  • Folksong Index (Oberlin College Libraries and Sing Out!)
  • Beethoven Gateway (San José State University). Comprehensive and fully-indexed information on books, articles, scores, and other resources on Beethoven.


Scores : Go to Music & Dance Library, and click the "Online Scores" tab



  • Musical Images/Iconography (RIdIM)See also Introduction to the RIdIM Database and RIdIM at Ohio StateDescriptions of art works featuring music-related objects, persons and places. Whenever possible, links to online views of the art are included. The database encompasses a wide spectrum of techniques and media (drawings, engravings, paintings, sculpture, etc.) and the musical content includes depictions of instruments, musicians, music patrons, music notation, performance venues and more.
  • New York Public Library Digital Gallery. Free access to c.700,000 images digitized from the Library’s vast collections, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs.


Other noteworthy sites

  • Bloomsbury Popular Music. Provides coverage of global popular music from the early 20th century to the present day. It brings together leading scholarship and interactive tools for research and learning across arts, humanities and social science disciplines.
  • Digital Resources for Musicology (DRM)Links to open-access projects and websites of use to musicians and musicologists. DRM is organized topically, covering such areas as digitized music manuscripts (by composer), digital score reprints (by composer), repertory and genre-based projects, structured databases, portals and search engines for music, resources for music theory, historical audio and video, historical maps, early newspapers, music magazines, large humanities digital corpora, image banks, and copyright.
  • Websites of Interest to Musicologists (American Musicological Society)
  • Harvard Music Library PinboardLinks to websites pertaining to a wide range of music-related subjects. Resources include digitized manuscripts, online scores and sound recordings, archival collections, discographies and bibliographies, scholarly societies, composer and performer sites, and musical reference works.
  • Munich Digitization Center (MDZ). Handles the digitization and online publication of the cultural heritage preserved by the Bavarian State Library and by other institutions. One of the largest and fastest growing digital collections in Germany, now comprising 415,954 titles available online. Access is free of charge.
  • Smithsonian Institution — Collections Search Center. Provides easy searching of more than 6 million items in the Smithsonian’s museum, archives, library and research holdings and collections.
  • Directory of Music Faculties in Colleges and Universities, U. S. and Canada.
  • Recent Music Performance Database. Started in 2015 as a music library collection development project at the University of California, Irvine, the Recent Music Performance Database is an open-access depository focused on the performance of contemporary art music. It allows music librarians, musicologists, arts directors, and other musicians to answer such questions as “Are there any composers or pieces frequently performed in this area?”; “Which composers are being performed most frequently?”; “What pieces for [instrumentation] have been performed recently?”. Data now centers chiefly on festivals and concert series in California from 2005 to 2015, but will gradually include information from many other locations and concerts.
  • IPA Source. International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) transcriptions and literal translations of opera arias and art song texts.
  • Themefinder
  • International Sound Recording Code (ISRC). An international standard code for uniquely identifying sound recordings and music video recordings. This database is useful for searching for artists who have recorded a specific title, e.g., "Sheep May Safely Graze."
  • Leipzig Bach Archive. The Leipzig Bach Archive is widely recognized as a pre-eminent center of Bach scholarship. Comprising a research institute, a library, a museum, and an events department, it occupies the historic Bose House complex at St Thomas's Square, opposite the church that Bach served as cantor for 27 years. With its unique collections and manifold activities, the Bach Archive contributes significantly to the time-honored image of Leipzig as a "city of music" in general and a "Bach city" in particular. The Bach Archive Foundation is a non-profit corporation which receives financial support from the City of Leipzig, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Free State of Saxony. It is directed by an Executive Board, overseen by a Board of Trustees, and advised by a Board of Curators. Sir John Eliot Gardiner is president.
  • Hofmeister XIX - Online searchable version of the Hofmeister Monatsberichte for the years 1829-1900
  • OSU Research Databases List 
  • Musicians Necrology (Gaylord Music Library, Washington University, St. Louis)


Tips on searching

Library catalogs list books, DVDs, journal titles, CDs, microfilms — everything but articles. To find articles, search article databases. See also these videos: Advanced Searching in the Ohio State library catalogSearching for items in the OhioLINK catalog for Ohio State usersOhio State Music & Dance Streaming ResourcesSearching OCLC WorldCat & Using ILLIADSearching for Articles & Using ILLIAD

Tips on searching catalogs

You can search by KEYWORDS (usually the default), but you may get more comprehensive results by AUTHOR, SUBJECT, or TITLE searching:

  • By dancer or company or choreographer (AUTHOR search) - Examples: Baryshnikov, Mikhail or Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater or Tharp, Twyla
  • By "unique" title (TITLE or KEYWORD search) - Examples: West Side Story or Billy the Kid (not generic titles like Symphony no. 1 or Concerto in D)
  • By dance type/form (SUBJECT search) - Examples: ballets or tangos 
  • By instrumentation (SUBJECT or KEYWORD search) - Example: flute and guitar music
  • By performers (AUTHOR search) - Examples: Cleveland Orchestra or Nureyev, Rudolf

You can narrow the results of your search to sound recordings or video recordings or books, etc., by first performing an AUTHOR, TITLE, SUBJECT, or KEYWORD search, and then choosing the LIMIT /SORT or MODIFY SEARCH option and selecting MATERIAL TYPE, then MUSIC RECORD (for recordings) or SERIAL/JOURNAL (for magazines) or BOOK, and then clicking FIND or SUBMIT.

Tips on searching article databases

Practically all databases are browsable by title and subject. But databases differ in the way they treat search terms, and it may save you time to consult the HELP pages first. Some databases offer the full text of articles. Others help you find out which articles exist in which journals. Generally, you can search by KEYWORD, using an author's name or a subject term as one of your keywords (or two or three words as a phrase, enclosed in quotation marks), and then LIMIT/SORT the results of your search by date, language, journal, etc. If the full text of an article is not available, take note of the article citation (journal title, month/year, volume number, article title, inclusive page numbers), and then check the library catalogs to see if OSU or an OhioLINK library owns the journal that contains the article you need. You can request a scan of the article via Article Express

If you have checked the OSU Library Catalog and the Music & Dance Library does not own the item you need, search for it in the OhioLINK catalog — a union catalog of more than 80 Ohio libraries. You can request OhioLINK books, scores, and recordings online and usually receive them within 3 to 5 business days at a pickup location you specify.