Skip to Main Content

Encyclopedias, Indexes & Bibliographies: Home

Music Reference Works by Type

Many of the digital music resources described below—both those licensed by the Library (restricted to use by the UC Berkeley community and designated by a lock icon lock icon; UC Berkeley access only) as well as those freely available—are intended for specialized research needs. One in particular, however, the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians lock icon; UC Berkeley access only, is invaluable at all levels of research. Using this music encyclopedia to become familiar with your topic is the most efficient way to get started on your research. Written by knowledgeable scholars, articles in the New Grove Online  summarize your topic, provide you with social and historical context, familiarize you with specialized terminology, and provide bibliographical lists of additional resources on your topic.

For a list of reference sources available for online searching in all subject areas see the UC Berkeley Library web page on Databases by Type

Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

Brockhaus Riemann Musiklexikon is available on CD-ROM at the Circulation Desk with the call number ML100.B85 2000 compu/d, and is based on the 5 volume edition of 1995, found in the Reading Room reference collection at ML100.B85 1995.

Encyclopedia of Music in Canada, electronic version of the printed  edition, supported by the National Library of Canada, also available in the Reading Room reference collection at ML106.C36.E52 1992.

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, the preeminent reference work for research in ethnomusicology, is now available as a single, integrated online database. The 10-volume set is also available in the Reading Room reference collection at ML100.G16 1998. UCB access only. UCB access only

Grosse Saengerlexikon, a CD-ROM version, available at the Circulation Desk with call number ML105.K83 2000 compu/d, based on the 7 volume edition of 1997, found in the Reading Room reference collection at ML105.K83 1997.

Lexicon musicum Latinum medii aevi, Dictionary of Medieval Latin Musical Terminology to the end of the 15th century, from the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften. 

Oxford Music Online provides access to a suite of three music reference resources: Grove Music Online, the Oxford Companion to Music, and the Oxford Dictionary of Music. UCB access only.UCB access only

Grove Music Online is the digital version of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, a 29-volume encyclopedia first published in 2001, available in the Reading Room at ML100.N48 2001. The New Grove is the most comprehensive general music encyclopedia in English, comprising over 29,000 articles, two-thirds of which are biographies. Various search modes are available to scour full text, article headings, bibliographies, biographies (by date of birth/death, nationality, etc.), and composer worklists. Also includes the complete New Grove Dictionary of Opera (1992) and the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2002).

The Oxford Companion to Music contains articles that range from concise definitions of musical ideas and terms to extended surveys of musical forms and styles. The print version of the 2002 edition is available in the Reading Room at ML100.O94 2002. 

The Oxford Dictionary of Music includes brief entries on composers, performers, conductors, musical terms and forms, instruments, works, venues, and a host of other topics. The print version of the 2nd revised edition is available in the Reading Room at ML100.K35 2006.

Oxford Reference Online—Music, provides access to reference books published by Oxford University Press. Search sources collectively or search below within an individual title. UCB access only.  UC Berkeley access only

A Dictionary of Opera Characters (2 ed.)
Grove Book of Opera Singers (2 ed.)
Grove Book of Operas (2 ed.)

International Encyclopedia of Dance
Oxford Dictionary of Dance (2 ed.)

Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music (5th ed.)
Oxford Dictionary of Music (2nd rev. ed.)
Oxford Companion to Music
Oxford Companion to the American Musical

Oxford Encyclopedia of the Music of India

Catalogs & Indexes

Canadian Music Periodical Index provides citations to nearly 30,000 articles found in Canadian music periodicals from the late-19th century to the present day. Provided by the National Library of Canada.

CANTUS, a database that assembles indices of the Latin ecclesiastical chants found in early manuscript and printed sources for the liturgical Office. Developed at the Catholic University of America, maintained by Debra Lacoste at the University of Western Ontario, now at the University of Waterloo.

Classical Guitar Music in Printed Collections, an online, continuously-updateable index to classical guitar repertoire in published collections and anthologies, including 28 publications as of February 2014.

Hymn Tune Index, a searchable index of all hymn tunes printed anywhere in the world with English-language texts up to 1820, and their publication history up to that date. Based on the printed, four-volume Hymn Tune Index: A Census of English-Language Hymn Tunes in Printed Sources from 1535 to 1820, (Oxford:, 1998), by Nicholas Temperley of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Available in the Reading Room reference collection at ML128.H8.T46 1998.

IPM. The Index to Printed Music: Collections & Series is used for finding individual pieces of music printed in standard scholarly editions. Indexing each individual piece in selected collections (ca. 9,300 citations as contained in Collected Editions, Historical Series & Sets & Monuments of Music: A Bibliography, by G.R. Hill and N.L. Stephens [Berkeley, 1997]), searchable by names; titles and alternate titles; language of text and text incipit; as well as other fields. UCB access only. 

Printed Sacred Music in Europe, 1500-1750 "The scope of the present database is to cover all sacred music printed in Europe, 1500-1800. It comprises the data collected in the 'Bibliografia della musica sacra pubblicata in Italia fra il 1500 e il 1725 circa' (Venice, Fondazione Cini)."

Renaissance Liturgical Imprints: A Census (RELICS) is a database of information about worship books printed before 1601, including information on over 13,000 titles, mostly in US libraries, compiled under the direction of Prof. David Crawford, University of Michigan.

RISM. Documentation of significant collections (libraries and archives worldwide) of music manuscripts (originating between 1600– 800, i.e., all of RISM A/II) and of printed music as well, emphasizing individual prints issued before 1800 (i.e., all of series A/I) and anthologies issued between 1500 and 1550 (consisting of revised entries from series B/I). 

RISM B/I: Index of composers, an index of composers in the Répertoire International des Sources Musicales/ International Inventory of Musical Sources, Series B/I: Recueils imprimes : XVIe-XVIIe siecles. (pdf)

Vocal Music Instrumentation Index (VMII). Covers vocal works of J.S. Bach & C.P.E. Bach, with plans for additional composers. Searchable by instrumentation and text, key and meter, with instrumentation for individual movements indicated.


Bach Bibliography, a database of more than 17,000 books, articles, facsimiles, dissertations, and papers read at conferences and meetings, maintained by Yo Tomita at Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Beethoven Bibliography Database from the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies at San Jose State University.

Iter, Gateway to the Middle Ages and Renaissance, serves the advancement of learning in the study and teaching of the period 400-1700 through the development of electronic resources, such as bibliographic databases and a directory of scholars.

Hofmeister XIX is the online version of the Hofmeister Monatsberichte, a detailed source of information about nineteenth-century music publications, with particular emphasis on the German-speaking countries. Hofmeister XIX provides information about when a given composition was published, where, and by whom. The records are linked to the facsimiles of the Monatsberichte on the Austrian National Library website.

Latin American Choral Music is an expanded online version of a Greenwood Press title serving as an index, bibliography, discography, and research guide. 

MIML: Musical Instruction and Musical Learning, 1450-1650, a bibliography designed to cover secondary literature on how music was taught and learned during the two-century period 1450 to 1650. Prepared by Cynthia J. Cyrus, with Susan Forscher Weiss and Russell E. Murray, Jr. of Vanderbilt University.

Musical Borrowing: An Annotated Bibliography, summarizes writings addressing borrowed material in musical composition, including transcription, variations, quotation, cantus firmus technique, paraphrase, imitation/parody, modeling, allusion, and other ways to rework existing music. From J. Peter Burkholder and colleagues at the Center for the History of Music Theory and Literature, Indiana University.

Oxford Bibliogaraphies: Music features access to more than 100 anotated lists of carefully selected articles and other reference sources in the area of Music. Follow links to browse other subjects such as Classics, Criminology, International Relations, Islamic Studies, Medieval Studies, Renaissance and Reformation and Victorian Literature. USB access only. UCB access only

Oxford Handbooks Online: Music contains 69 volumes of scholarly research review articles cover various areas in the fields of music and dance. Individual volume titles can also be discovered through UC Library Search.