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Music Research Resources

Searching for Music (scores and recordings) in The Source

Finding music in a library catalog is a bit more difficult than finding books.  Most books have a fairly unique title (e.g. David Copperfield, The Source), while much music does not, especially if it's classical. Many composers wrote "Symphony no. 2," for instance, and many classical works are available as excerpts or arrangements.

Most music searches can be conducted successfully using only two of the many search strategies offered by The Source.  For more information, choose one of the following links:

Searching for Music at Other Libraries

  • Prospector
    A catalog listing the holdings of a number of major Colorado libraries, including CU-Boulder, CSU, and the University of Denver. If you are a UNC student, faculty, or staff member, you may use Prospector to request items from other institutions online whenever we don't have an available copy; items usually arrive at your own library within 2-3 business days. You can access Prospector from within The Source.
  • Colorado Virtual Library
    Provides access to all online Colorado libraries. You may search library catalogs individually, or all catalogs within a given region.
  • Lib-Web
    Lists over 8,000 web sites and catalogs from libraries in 146 countries.
  • lib-web-cats
    Offers access to library web sites and catalogs worldwide.

Indexes and Databases

Note: The following databases are available only to UNC patrons. You will be asked to enter your name and Bear number to access the databases from a non-UNC network computer.

  • Music Online: Listening (Alexander Street Press)
    Provides streamed access to nearly 1 million tracks of recorded music in all genres.
  • Naxos Music Library
    Provides streamed access to nearly 1.5 million tracks of primarily classical music, including the entire Naxos catalog.
  • Naxos Music Library - Jazz
    Provides streamed access to nearly 100,000 tracks of jazz recordings from a variety of major labels.
  • RILM Music Abstracts (EBSCOhost)
    Contains citations from over 500 scholarly journals and other publications including books, conference proceedings, and dissertations, in over 200 languages. Coverage is from 1967 to present.  
  • International Index to Music Periodicals - IIMP (ProQuest)
    An index of more than 375 music-related journals. Coverage is most thorough from 1994 to present.
    Note: Our subscription allows only two simultaneous users, so be sure to log out when you're finished using IIMP.
  • Bibliographie des Musikschrifttums - BMS Online
    Indexes music scholarship in all published formats, including books, conference proceedings, and dissertations as well as articles.  
  • RIPM - Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals (EBSCOhost)
    International coverage of music periodical literature published in Europe and the United States from the late 18th century until about 1950.
  • Oxford Music Online
    Includes the online New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians as well as a selection of other Oxford music resources.
  • WorldCat (FirstSearch)
    A comprehensive catalog of library holdings in the United States and several foreign countries, listing over 100 million items in a variety of formats (books, scores, recordings, etc.).
  • IPA Source
    IPA Source offers International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) transcriptions and literal translations of approximately 6,000 opera arias and art song texts.
  • The Jazz Discography Online
    TJD Online by Tom Lord provides comprehensive information about the contents of more than a century’s worth of jazz recordings.  
  • UNC Libraries also subscribes to a number of general databases that can be useful to music research. Among these are: Academic Search Premier and ProQuest Research Library, which index thousands of journals and provide the full texts of articles in many of them; ERIC, a clearinghouse of education research; Book Index With Reviews; and many others. To access these databases, go to the UNC Libraries Article Finder.

General Indexes of Music Resources on the Web

  • Worldwide Internet Music Resources (Indiana University Music Library) is a good all-purpose index of Web sites in all areas of music.
  • The music directory offered by Yahoo! covers a good deal of everything, but is particularly useful for its broad coverage of popular music and music-related businesses.
  • Oxford Music Online (which includes the online New Grove Dictionary)

Aids to Finding Dissertations

  • ProQuest Dissertations and Theses indexes dissertations from as far back as 1861 and master's theses from 1980 on. Coverage is thorough and international from the mid-1980s. Basic functionality is available through this link to the general public. If you use this link from a UNC computer or Web connection, you will have full access to database information, including abstracts.
  • Doctoral Dissertations in Musicology-Online (Indiana University School of Music) indexes completed dissertations as well as works in progress. Coverage is thorough and systematic only for the past 30 years or so, but the database includes some dissertations as far back as the 1930s.

Major Directories for the Music Business

  • The Music Publishers' Agency maintains a comprehensive list of publishers and their imprints, including addresses, phone and fax numbers, and URLs.
  • musicalamerica.com is the online service of Musical America. The portions of the site corresponding to the annual directory (e.g. artist/manager searches) are available only to subscribers, but the free portions are a good source of news in the world of classical music.
  • AFM.org is the Web site of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada.

Performance Rights Organizations

Three organizations collect and distribute royalties from the public performance of music created by its members. Between them, they represent virtually all music under copyright:

  • ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Artists and Publishers
  • BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.)
  • SESAC (Society of European State Authors & Composers)

All three offer a searchable database of the artists and musical works they represent.

In addition, SoundExchange collects and distributes royalties from the use of sound recordings made by its members.