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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Music 558: Vocal Literature: Finding Background Information

Information to help students researching vocal literature



Sometimes pieces have "nicknames" or names that they are commonly referred to by, but these may not be the "real" name of the work. If you are having a hard time tracking down a piece, you might have to do a little research to see if it has another (real) name.

Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

There are myriad music dictionaries and encyclopedias. Depending on what topic you are researching you may need a very specialized one or a more general one. Below are a few examples.

Research Guides

If you need an overall guide to how to research vocal music, these tools are all great, depending on your specific need. They can lead you to other books about your song/topic. You can also use the search terms "guide to research" or bio-bibliography in the library catalog for the specific composer or type of music in which you are interested.

Music Analysis

1. There are two major texts for locating analyses of works. They include titles of articles and books that discuss and analyze composer's works.

You can also try the UT Analysis Index, but note that call numbers in this database refer to the UT Library holdings, but search our catalog to see if we own the titles in question.

2. If the work you are studying is not included in Diamond or Hoek, search the library catalog for books that may include analysis of your piece.

Some examples of subject headings in the library catalog that might help you find analysis:

  • Berg, Alban, 1885-1935--Criticism and interpretation.
  • Harmonic analysis.
  • Operas --Analysis, appreciation.
  • Symphonies--Analysis, appreciation.

3. You can also search in journal databases like RILM and Music Index to find individual articles and dissertations about the piece.

4. Finally, you can also try looking in the composer's bio-biobibliography (or guide to research) if there is one to see if it lists any analyses.

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