These tools are more useful when looking for contemporary reviews. Most databases allow you to limit results by time period, which can be helpful if you know the date range of the review you're looking for.
These resources are especially useful if you're looking for reviews written at the time of a historical performance. Use the options in each resource to set the date range of reviews to get the time period you're looking for.
The best source for finding reviews of concerts, dance performances, or plays is newspapers.
To determine what resource you'll need, consider the context of the review you're looking for:
1. If you don't know what city the performance was in or would like a wide mix of reviews, start with the databases listed below or Lexis Nexis to find reviews from many newspapers.
2. If you know the particular newspaper you need, search the Online Journals & Databases link on MPAL homepage for individual newspaper titles, like the New York Times (see the slideshow below for how to do this).
3. If you need historic reviews, start with:
Some tips that work in most, if not all, of the online search tools
The quotation marks let the database know that you need those words to appear together and in that order and the AND limits the results to articles containing both phrases.
Newspapers are a really good source for reviews and criticism. Check the Online Journals & Databases for individual paper titles, like the New York Times, or use the "News" tab of Lexis Nexis to search several papers at once.
You may also find that you need older papers than are available in the above tools. One of the best resources to use when looking for historical newspapers is ProQuest Historical Newspapers. This will allow you to search newspapers from New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C.
Some ProQuest tips:
In addition to reviews of live performances, you can also look for critical commentary (criticism) about a composer's works or genres of music. In the library catalog or article databases, use the search term criticism and/or look for the headings "Criticism and interpretation" (and the composer's name) or "History and criticism" (and the era/type of music).