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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Music 313: The History of Music I

Music-Specific Databases

When choosing one or more of the following music-specific databases, keep in mind things like the time period covered, whether or not the database is strong in your subject (contemporary music, for example), and if the database provides abstracts.




Music Periodicals Database

  • Identifies articles and abstracts for 600+ international music journals
  • 1874 – present (depends on title)
  • Covers a comprehensive range of subject areas in both scholarly and popular music journals and magazines
  • Often better than MI and RILM for contemporary music

Music Periodicals Database Tip:
Because many journals include reviews, unless you particularly need review material you should check the “Exclude reviews” box on the search page.

Music Index

  • Identifies articles and abstracts for 600+ music journals
  • 1970 – present (depends on title)
  • Slightly better than RILM for non-classical topics
  • Includes a broad range of subjects, including past and present personalities, the history of music, forms and types of music, musical instruments from the earliest times to modern electronic instruments, plus computer produced music.

Music Index Tip:
Because Music Index and RILM are both from the same vendor, you can search them at the same time (as well as with other databases from EBSCO) by clicking Choose Databases above the search bar and selecting both databases from the list.

RILM Abstracts of Music Literature

  • IIdentifies abstracts and articles for thousands of international journals in 143 languages on all aspects of music
  • 1835 – present (depends on title)
  • Provides bibliographic information about books, journal articles, dissertations, reviews, essay collections, and conference proceedings 

You can limit your search by language (for example, you might only want material in English, or in French); by year of publication; and by publication type, such as “monograph” (book), or “dissertation.”


  • 1760 – 1966 (depends on title)
  • Identifies abstracts and articles for 200+ international journal articles
  • Good for historical coverage of a topic
  • Identifies articles on composers, performers, compositions, and music history from the 19th Century to the mid-20th century

RIPM currently indexes periodicals cover to cover, so results include articles, reviews, illustrations, music examples, advertisements, press reviews, and more. Fairly Eurocentric.

Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive

An archival research resource containing the essential primary sources for studying the history of the film and entertainment industries, from the era of vaudeville and silent movies through to 2000. The core US and UK trade magazines covering film, music, broadcasting and theater are all included, together with film fan magazines and music press titles. Magazines have been scanned cover-to-cover in high-resolution color, with granular indexing of all articles, covers, ads and reviews.

Coverage: 1880 - 2000

Music Magazine Archive

Music Magazine Archive is a series of digital collections focused on 20th and 21st century genres such as Rock, Folk, and Hip-Hop & Rap. Each genre-based collection unites every page and every issue of a diverse and influential group of magazines. These publications uniquely capture the social and historical context of each genre, and together support scholarly research areas such as race, class, gender, American studies, youth culture, and more across some of the most progressive decades of the 20th and 21st centuries. Researchers will find all material represented in the original publications, preserved in its original context, fully searchable and in high-resolution full color.

Music Databases Overview Video