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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

MUS 558: Vocal Literature

Information to help students researching vocal literature


Handbooks, guides, and bibliographies about specific composers, genres, or instruments can be excellent tools for your research!

What are they?

  • Thorough and comprehensive lists of the major scholarship about a specific topic.

Why use them?

  • To help direct your reading and research so you know what's already been published about your topic.
  • Remember: Although they are a great place to start, it is important to check when they were published because they may not be up to date on the most current research and scholarship.

Finding Handbooks & Guides Through the Library

Oxford Bibliographies (linked below) is a great online tool that collects peer-reviewed annotated bibliographies on a variety of topics. Searching here to see what has been written about the topic you're researching is a great way gather background information and decide what sources to read next.

You can also find handbooks, guides, and annotated bibliographies on a variety of topics through the library catalog. One particularly good series is Routledge Music Bibliographies (linked below), which has research guides on specific composers, musical styles, and instruments.

Selected Recommended Guides

We have collected several recommended guides below to get you started. These are great places to start your research as they can lead you to other books about your chosen song or topic.

To find similar materials in the Library catalog, search for your topic AND "research guide", "bibliography", "biobibliography", or "handbook" for the specific composer or type of music you are researching.