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The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians by Stanley Sadie (Editor); John Tyrrell (Editor)
Publication Date: 2003-02-11
New Grove is the gold standard in music reference. Each article is written by a subject expert in musicology, ethnomusicology, or music theory, and is subject to a rigorous review process. Entries on individual composers contain complete works list, serving as an excellent resource for answering many music reference questions. You can also get access to the New Grove via a subscription to Oxford Music Online.
The Harvard Dictionary of Music by Don Michael Randel
Publication Date: 2003-11-28
A comprehensive music dictionary offering definitions of terms, overviews of composers and genres, and some coverage of world music genres and terms.
The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music by Bruno Nettl (Editor); Ruth M. Stone (Editor); James Porter (Editor); Timothy Rice (Editor)
Publication Date: 1999-11-01
The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music is a ten-volume, comprehensive resource for ethnomuiscology. Unlike traditional encyclopedias that are arranged alphabetically, the Garland is arranged by geographical region. Each volume also includes a CD with audio examples that are coordinated with the text.
Other Reference Sources:
Routledge Music Bibliographies - Routledge publishes a variety of bibliographies on composers and genres as "guides to research." They can be purchased individually in print, as single user e-books, or as part of a subscription to the Routledge Music Online platform.
Musical America Directory - An annual publication that includes contact information for more than 14,000 performers and performing arts organizations, scholarship and festival listings, and more. There is also an online version available for institutional and individual subscription.
Thematic Catalogs - A thematic catalog lists the entire repertoire of an individual composer. They may be organized chronologically or by genre. Each entry includes a musicial incipit of the opening bars of the work (including individual movements within a larger work), making thematic catalogs an excellent resource for identifying details about a mystery work. The Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis by Wolfgang Schmieder is a good example of the genre.
Discographies - Discographies are bibliographies of sound recordings. They are particularly useful for locating recordings of global music and jazz. The Penguin Guide to Jazz is a good example of the genre.
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