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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Shostakovich: The Quartets in Context: Music Sources

Resources on Shostakovich in Russian and English.

Online Dictionaries

  • Dolmetsch Online Music Dictionary  
    Music Dictionary Online's primary purpose is, in the case of non-English words and phrases, to offer translations and, more generally, and where appropriate, to offer explanations and comments about general (non-musical) and specialist (i.e. musical, etc.
  • Electronic Dictionary of Musical Themes  
    This is an online version of the old Barlow and Morgenstern book of musical themes. Great for trying to figure out what composition a certain theme/motif comes from!
  • Essentials of Music Glossary
    Definitions of common musical terms.
  • Indexes

    Western Sources

    There are a wealth of sources available through most libraries that will make finding material on Shostakovich fairly easy.   There is one thing to keep in mind.  Cyrillic alphabet words are rendered in a variety of ways into latin characters.   See "A Few Considerations" for a list of possible spellings.

    The number of results you retrieve from a search will be radically affected by the spelling you use. Some of the most useful"subscription" databases include:

    Music Resources on the Web

    Because of the diverse nature of the material, finding resources related to music can be very complex.  Scores, recordings, musical criticism, video recordings are treated differently whether in a library or on the web.  If you are just looking for some casual information you should have no difficulty using some of the general web resources available such as those listed in the left-hand column. 

    For more in depth information a good starting point is often a Music Library home page. The Music Library at the University of Illinois has some excellent guides to assist you in identifying databases, using the library catalog and the Music Library itself.

    Music Research Resources are available at:

    Research guides can be located at:

    It is also useful to use some of the Russian search engines when looking for either performances (podcasts or video) or to search Google Books and/or Google Scholar in Russian. when searched for Dmitrii Shostakovich in Russian will return a link to a list of audio and video files of the composer's works.

    From Russian Series "Genii"

    There are many links to audio and video materials available online.  If you are looking for Russian audio or video you might find Yandex the Russian search engine very useful.  A search of Shostakovich  brings up a great deal of  material.  The video file below was originally broadcast as part of a series entitled "Genii" and contains some interesting footage and commentary.

    Russian Library Catalogs

    The Russians do not particpate in WorldCat, nor do they have a truly centralized union catalog of their publications.  However, their national libraries and catalogs are superb.  All of them have digitized materials that can be very useful.  The Russian National Library has a series of specialized catalogs that are very useful.  The Russian State Historical Library also has a specialized "Predmetnyi Katalog" which has its entries organized by subject.  It is especially useful as it includes citatiions to articles.

    Online Resources

    For a complete listing of bibliographic sources in Russian see Resources for Russian Music and Opera at .  If you are seeking Russian language articles on Shostakovich, published between 1956 and 1975 the article index supplement to the Soviet/Russian National Bibliography can be accessed via the web at: .

    Finally, for more recent publications, the Russian National Bibliography with all of its supplements is available here at the University of Illinois.  This EastView database includes the Russian Music Index, Article Index and Index of Reviews. For those affiliated with the university it can be accessed at .