Salisbury University Libraries


Holloway Hall

Subject Guide Music: Composers / Music History

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Reference Works

The most important go-to source for research on composers or any aspect of music history is:

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (29 vols.)  REF ML100.N48 2001

Other important reference works that may be helpful, depending on your subject, include:

The New Grove Dictionary of American Music  (4 vols.)  ML101.U6N48 1986

Norton/Grove Dictionary of Women Composers  REF ML105.N68 1995

Women and Music in America Since 1900 (2 vols.)  REF ML82.W625 2002

Music Since 1900   REF ML106.U3T57

Other Books

Many books about composers and their works, specific periods in music, and the development of various types of music can be found in the library’s general collection.  In the catalog, the location code "STACKS" indicates books that are found on the shelves of the second floor. 

How to find books - see Books tab

Electronic Reference Sources

The library offers databases that contain reference material and even, in some cases, whole books, all in electronic format. 

African American Music Reference - articles, books, photos, sound clips and more covering all aspects of the rich and influential traditions of African American music.

Classical Music Reference Library - an index to important reference sources, many provided in full text.

Classical Scores Library - scores of major composers, primarily 17th-19th century, can be searched in a number of ways.  Download or print your selections.

Classical Music Library - streaming audio of CDs with extensive information about compiosers and artists.  Musical selections can be downloaded.

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music  - an online version of the printed reference encyclopedia.  Search the volume that covers a particular area of the world, or search the whole set; full text of the print version, including illustrations and musical clips.

Music Online - a tool for cross-searching several of the music databases; leads to audi, video, scores and reference materials.  A great way to cover a lot of material in one search.


Finding articles in scholarly journals and other music periodicals is quick and easy using music databases - see Articles tab.

Web Sites

Web sites can be useful in research, especially for finding background information, checking brief facts, or locating illustrations.  Here are some sites that may be helpful.

Be careful to avoid plagiarism by citing the source of any web information that you use. 

Classical net - many links to music information; good place for basic information on all aspects of music.

Composers – a listing of composer web sites, selected by the music library at the Indiana University School of Music.

Classical Composers Database – an encyclopedic website covering more than 4,000 composers and their works; also includes music in the news, information about recordings and free sample MP3 downloads.

Classical Composers Archive – a university based collection of portraits, biographical information, searchable by name, time period, and nationality.

Baroque Composers and Musicians – a good introduction to the Baroque period and its composers, with individual biographies and portraits and information on various countries.

Music History 102 – from the Internet Public Library, an overview of music history with information about important names in each period, MP3 sound clips, and more.

Need Help?

Music Librarian, Kathryn Kalmanson, is always glad to work with you individually for detailed help with your research.

Office BL129b (You’re welcome to drop in.)

Office hours in the Department of Music

Tuesday 12:30 - 1:45 p.m.   FH 245

Friday 10:00 a.m. -  12:00 p.m.   FH 234


Phone:  410-543-6190 (office)  Mobile: 410-845-9093

Subject Guide Home | Library Home

The librarian liaison to Music is Kathryn Kalmanson, | 410-543-6190