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Music Research

This guide provides an overview of research tools and methods relating to music.

Getting Started

Reference works include encyclopedias, thematic catalogs, indices, and guides to research. Many are printed editions that can be found in the reference section of the Fine & Performing Arts Collection. There are important electronic versions, as well, like Oxford Music Online.

Oxford Music Online/Grove Music Online

New Grove

Guides to Research

Guide to Research is a book-length bibliography of scholarship on a composer, genre, or special topic. They are excellent resources for quickly learning about the breadth and depth of research on a topic. It is important to note the year of publication because any scholarship published after this date cannot be included.


The Fine & Performing Arts Collection has hundreds of Guides to Research on a wide variety of music topics. Here are a few examples.

Thematic Catalogs

Thematic Catalogs are complete lists of works by a composer or in a genre. They include incipits, the opening musical gesture of a piece, and other important musical themes and motives.

Here are a few examples of thematic catalogs available at Rod Library.