How to do research in Music
Library resources for researchers working on music history, ethnomusicology, music theory, and composition
START WITH GOOD KEYWORDS
Topic-specific keywords will help improve your results in a general multidisciplinary database like Google, Google Scholar, HOLLIS, or Academic Search Premier.
Add keywords like these to your search:
Subject terms - “Music theory”, Music And “History and literature”, criticism
Genre terms - operas, chamber music
Geographic terms - “United States”
Time period terms - 18th, “to 1500”
UPGRADE YOUR SEARCH: KEY DATABASES
The best tool for your project may be a specialized search engine, also known as a database. These databases are subject-specific or format-specific search tools:
Oxford Music Online (via HarvardKey) – The top database for authoritative entries across a wide spectrum of genres, musical topics, and people; works lists; bibliographies.
RILM Abstracts of Music Literature (via HarvardKey) – An international bibliography of music articles, collections, and books. Indexes scholarly articles, reviews, conference papers, essays, book chapters, dissertations and more. Strong in ethnomusicological journals and topics.
Music & Performing Arts Online (via HarvardKey) – A family of audio and video collections, including: Classical Music Library; Classical Performance in Video, Jazz Music Library; Opera in Video; Dance in Video; American Music; Smithsonian Global Sound; Contemporary World Music; Popular Music Library; Theatre in Video.
The Harvard Library Music Research Guide provides a curated list of resources related to music.
Databases for Music - explore the full list of Harvard Library databases in this subject category.
CONNECT WITH US
Liz Berndt, the library liaison to Music, is available to support researchers via email or in-person consultation.
The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library is Harvard’s home for musical materials. We embrace performance and research in and about the world's musics.
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Reach out to librarians and other reference specialists by email using our online form. We usually respond within 24 hours Monday through Friday.
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