This page is meant to help in finding information about the subject area of your term paper. Here you will find brief descriptions of a variety of research tools. We recommend that you go through each of these sources in the order listed, proceeding from general overviews to more specific material as you narrow and focus your topic. The M401: Music History Research Guide has much of the same information as this page.
Please note that some of the links in this webpage only work from computers on the Indiana University Bloomington campus.
Reserve ML160 .G882 2014
In the process of looking for a subject to write on, and as you settle on a subject area, be sure to skim through your textbook. Make sure that you understand what aspects of the topic we will be likely to cover in class so that you can go beyond them in your paper. Look also at the section "For Further Reading" at the end of the book, which gives a bibliography of general sources and of sources related to each part, chapter, and section. These sources are generally the standard works in each subject area, and they will be good places to begin your reading.
Online at Oxford
Reference ML100 .G92
The New Grove Dictionary is the principal English-language encyclopedia of music. In it you will find entries on all of the composers and genres and many of the terms that we will be discussing this semester. Almost all entries in this work have useful bibliographies.
The online version, known as Grove Music Online, has additional articles and updated articles and can be searched. The homepage for it is Oxford Music Online, which also has other reference works published by Oxford University Press. Check the results to make sure you are looking at an article from Grove Music Online.
For fun, look up the articles on your teachers in The New Grove Dictionary or in Grove Music Online. Some of the online articles have been updated in the last eighteen years, but others (like the article on Prof. Burkholder) have not; in those cases, both the article and the bibliography will be out of date, and you will have to search in other sources for more recent information.
Reference ML100 .B68
This is a German encyclopedia of music, much like The New Grove Dictionary. If you can read German this source will be very useful. Even if you do not have German skills, however, you should still take a look at MGG. As in The New Grove Dictionary, almost all the entries have bibliographies that include English language sources.
Online at www.iucat.iu.edu
IUCAT, the Indiana University on-line CATalogue, lists all holdings (and their locations) for library materials at all IU campuses. You can access IUCATdirectly or through the Cook Music Library homepage. IUCAT is most useful for locating books about your subject and finding the call numbers for journals and magazines. Remember that IUCAT does NOT contain the titles of individual articles in journals.
Online at https://libraries.indiana.edu/resources/rilmabstract
Don't be scared away by the title (full title: Répertoire International de la Littérature Musicale: RILM Abstracts); virtually all the information in RILM is in English. Like Music Index, RILM contains references to articles about music in articles, reviews, books, dissertations, essays, bibliographies, catalogs, introductions to critical works, discographies, Festschriften (collections of articles in honor of someone), periodicals, congress and conference reports, and yearbooks. In addition, many of the entries have a brief summary (abstract), in English.
Once you have found the title and location of an article you want, look up the title of the journal or collection on IUCAT to find its call number or how to access an online version. Many journals are available online through the library, and the best way to find the right journal and volume is through IUCAT, because only IUCAT will list all the possible ways to access each journal.
Online at https://libraries.indiana.edu/resources/music-index
Print version in Reference ML1 .M823
The Music Index is a guide to articles about music in magazines, journals, and some books. The Music Index is available in two forms, and you may want to use both. The online version only covers 1973 to the present, so for 1949 to 1972 you will have to use the paper version.
You may need to use both Music Index and RILM since the two sources cover different materials.
Online at https://libraries.indiana.edu/resources/pqdtglobal
This database lists doctoral dissertations (and some master's theses) from universities in the United States, Canada, and around the world, with abstracts for most in recent decades. You can order an online copy of the full text of dissertations since 1997.
Another source that may be useful in your search is Doctoral Dissertations in Musicology.
The Indiana University Bloomington Libraries Homepage has links to many online databases and online full-text journals.
The sources listed above are those that are most likely to be useful for virtually all topics. There are, however, many, many other, more specialized sources. Be sure to check the following:
You will also find it useful to consult with the staff at the Reference desk in the Music Library.
Last updated: 13 September 2018
Copyright © 1997-2018 by Patrick Warfield and J. Peter Burkholder