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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

MUS 501: Grad Music History Review


There are many music dictionaries and encyclopedias available to you! Depending on the topic you are researching, you may need to consult a specialized one or a more general one. We've highlighted several resources below to get you started. If you're researching an individual, make sure to check out the box at the bottom on biographical dictionaries!

General Music Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

Browse the list of selected core dictionaries and encyclopedias below to get started! Remember that you can also search the Library catalog for your topic and "dictionary" or "encyclopedia" (e.g. Latin American music encyclopedia) to see if we have one that is more specific and relevant to your research.

Biographical Dictionaries

To find background information about composers, musicians, and other important figures in the world of music, try using the biographical dictionaries listed below.

If you are looking for greater detail, there are also book-length biographical tools called bio-bibliographies, which is a bibliography devoted to one composer or concept (like string quartets). They list books, journal articles, and other information about a composer. Sometimes these books are called "guides to research" or "research and information guides". They are typically located in the ML134s in the Reference collection, and you can ask at the Service Desk for help finding them!

Check out our video on Baker's and Harvard for a demonstration on how to access and use these tools.