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Encyclopedias and Dictionaries
The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music
The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music offers a comprehensive view of music as a vital part of the social and cultural life of people around the world. Expert contributors have conducted fieldwork in the communities they profile, and each volume focuses on a different part of the world. Your music librarian can help you if you have questions about how to use this encyclopedia! It's available in print on the 3rd floor of the library.
Oxford Music Online
Oxford Music Online can be accessed from anywhere you have an internet connection. It includes several music encyclopedias and dictionaries, which have entries for musical terms and topics from around the world. Note that only 3 people can use it at one time, so please log out (and close your browser) when you are finished searching. Click on the blue "play" button icon for a tutorial about how to use this database.
The Harvard Dictionary of Music
This older reference work includes articles on the music of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East; descriptions of instruments with historical background; and articles covering popular music, jazz, and rock. Available in print on the 3rd floor of the library.
RILM Abstracts of Music Literature
RILM is a database that allows you to discover articles and other scholarly publications about many facets of music. This is an EBSCO database, so if you have taken ENGL 1010 or 2010 at USU, it might look familiar. Click on the blue "play" button icon for a tutorial about how to use this database.
When searching RILM, you can use "Major Topics" to search for articles in broad areas of music research. If just keyword searching lets you down, combining a Major Topic with a keyword helps you refine your results more efficiently. Examples of Major Topics related to world musics include:
- 39.21 Popular music of North Africa
- 41.33 Vocal music in Southeast Asia
- 97 Music and Islam
Look up the Major Topics associated with your research question on RILM's Classification System website.
Articles in RILM are also tagged with Subjects, which tell you more specifically what an article is about. You can also search by Subject to find more articles on that narrower topic. The following example shows how detailed subjects can be:
This is a large database covering a number of topics, but it does contain academic articles about music topics. Click on the blue "play" button icon for a tutorial about how to use this database.
Need the PDF/full-text?
Use Article Linker to search for full-text across all databases. If the article isn't available, choose Request via ILLiad or use interlibrary services to request a copy from another library.
Books and Ebooks
You can use the USU library catalog to find books and ebooks about whatever topic you are interested in. This guide to searching for books shows you how.
One helpful resource for topics in this class is the Oxford Global Music Series, which has books devoted to specific music cultures and parts of the world. You can browse the list of titles in this series via the library catalog. Here's an example of one of the books:
Set up your InterLibrary Loan account
Set up your account here so you can quickly and easily request article PDFs, chapter scans, and books we don't have in the USU Libraries collection.