Music Research Resources

Music periodical indexes  –  (scroll down for tips on searching) 

  • Music Index. A comprehensive guide to articles on popular music as well as classical in more than 800 music periodicals of many countries. Citations include book reviews, obituaries, and news and articles about music, musicians, and the music industry. Music Index has been available in print since 1949. The online database contains more than 1.5 million records from 1970 to the present. It is updated quarterly, and c. 100,000 records are added each year. By default, the search engine looks for documents with all the terms entered. Use quotation marks to search for exact phrases. Separate terms with OR to find any of the words entered.
  • RILM Abstracts of Music Literature. A comprehensive music bibliography featuring citations, abstracts, subject indexing, and selective full-text. From hip-hop to Händel, from ethnomusicology to music therapy, from elementary music education to advanced music theory, RILM provides clear, verified bibliographic information, fully cited, abstracted, and indexed. Documentation of conference proceedings goes back to 1835. Since 1967, RILM has covered c. 950 journals comprehensively and has located music-related articles in more than 11,000 non-music journals. In addition, RILM includes more than one million pages of full-text content from more than 200 periodicals from 50 countries in 40 languages, published from the early 20th century to the present. Besides scholarly articles and reviews, RILM includes obituaries, editorials, correspondence, advertisements, and news items.
  • Music Periodicals Database. (Formerly International Index to Music Periodicals). Provides indexing and abstracts for several hundred international music periodicals from some 20 countries, plus full text for more than 140 of the indexed journals. The database includes c. 770,000 records, the majority from the most recent 10 years of publication. Some complete journal runs are included, with indexing back to 1874. Covers music education, performance, ethnomusicology, musical theater, theory, popular music forms, and composition. Covers both scholarly and popular music journals, ranging from International Journal of Music Education, Ethnomusicology, Jazz Education Journal, and Musical Times to Rock and Rap Confidential and Rolling Stone. By default, the search engine looks for documents with all the terms entered. Use quotation marks to search for exact phrases. Separate terms with OR to find any of the words entered.
  • Bibliographie des Musikschrifttums online. An international and interactive bibliography of literature on music edited by the Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung Preußischer Kuturbesitz (State Institute of Music Research). Printed volumes (ML113 .B5) cover the period 1950-1988 plus a few years in the 1930s. Publication was suspended during the Second World War. Currently, the Bibliographie des Musikschrifttums provides bibliographic data from 1950 to the present. It includes monographs, articles and reviews from journals, Festschriften, congress proceedings, yearbooks, anthologies and essays from critical reports. Main sources are national bibliographies, journals, monographs and subject bibliographies. Contributions from journals with an interdiscplinary view on music are considered for inclusion. Each year the editors check some 600 sources and add approximately 10,000 titles. Conversion is in progress of the analog data from the periods 1936-1941 and 1976-1985. The site is available in English and German. Search terms are searched not only as author and title keywords but also as subject headings.
  • RIPM: Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals. An international annotated bibliography of writings on musical history and culture, found in music periodicals published in 20 countries chiefly between 1800 and 1950. RIPM indexes the content of complete runs of journals, including articles, reviews, news columns, miscellaneous items, surveys of the press, bibliographies, iconography, and advertising, plus several thousand English translations of foreign documents. At present, consists of c. 700,000 annotated records. Updated every six months.
  • RIPM Online Archive of Music Periodicals (FullTEXT) A full- text version of periodicals indexed in the Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals. Contains complete runs of many periodicals which are rare even in the country in which they were published. Available at present are 50 journals published between 1805 and 1962. New titles are added every six months.
  • Rock's Backpages. An online archive of c. 21,000 interviews, features, reviews, and other articles on pop music of many genres from the 1950s to the present. Full text and searchable. Includes some streaming audio.

Multidisciplinary periodical indexes  – including music periodicals. (See also this list of databases)

  • JSTOR. Multidisciplinary full-text database covering the journal literature of the arts and humanities, including important music journals. These include the complete back runs of more than 90 titles dedicated to scholarly research and theory in the field of music, including journals published in the Netherlands, Croatia, Hungary, Germany, and France. Click here for a list.
  • Web of Science Citation Index. A multi-disciplinary index of the journal literature of the arts and humanities from 1975 to the present. It fully covers more than eleven hundred leading arts and humanities journals, and indexes selected items from c. 6,800 science and social science journals. Includes many major music journals, though fewer than the databases listed above. Allows cited reference searching, which lets you search citation data (the notes to articles), taking a known source and finding other sources that cite it, or lets you find sources citing work by a specific author. Updated weekly.

Library catalogs

  • OSU Library Catalog. Books, scores, sound recordings, videos available at the Music & Dance Library and other OSU libraries.
  • OhioLINK. A combined ("union") catalog of most Ohio college and university libraries. If an item is not available at OSU (not in our online catalog, checked out, etc.), search for it in this database and make an online request to have it sent here. The service is free, and most OhioLINK items arrive in three to five business days.
  • OCLC WorldCat. If you cannot locate an item in our online catalog or in the OhioLINK catalog, search this union catalog of thousands of libraries around the world. Many items can be requested by interlibrary loan, and you can make the request on line. If you need help, ask any staff member for assistance.
  • University of Oxford Bodleian Libraries. Half a million printed scores, ranging from the original conducting score of Handel’s Messiah and the 11th-century Winchester Troper to the sheet music of contemporary pop songs. Search via SOLO, the Oxford University Libraries’ online catalog.


  • ProQuest Dissertations & Theses. Citations for dissertations and theses done at institutions worldwide. The Advanced Search option lets you limit your search to specifc areas of music. Free PDFs of almost all dissertations done since 1997, and selected dissertations and theses prior to 1997.
  • British Library EThOS Service. Full text of roughly half a million doctoral theses done at UK institutions. Download instantly, or order a scanned copy quickly and easily.
  • Doctoral Dissertations in Musicology. An international database of completed dissertations and new dissertation topics in musicology, music theory, and ethnomusicology, as well as in related musical, scientific, and humanistic disciplines. Contains more than 14,000 records, including the contents of the earlier printed editions of Doctoral Dissertations in Musicology and supplements contributed by musicological centers throughout the world.

Online music reference works

  • Oxford Music Online
  • Harvard Dictionary of Music Online
  • Index to Printed Music. Use this database to find individual pieces in complete works editions and anthologies (e.g., the M2 and M3 call number ranges). Searchable by title, composer, editor, genre, language, librettist, publisher, series, or instrumentation. If your search result does not specify volume or page numbers, find them by using the last few digits of the Cutter Number. For example, should a search for Mendelssohn's setting of the Psalm "Richte mich, Gott" in the complete works set edited by Julius Rietz (Leipzig, 1874-77) turn up no page or volume number, you could deduce these from the Cutter Number, which is M5374-106, 11-16. The piece in question will be found in volume 106, pages 11-16. The database lists sets and series organized by various criteria: composer (complete works: Gesamtausgaben), geographical area (Monuments: Denkmäler), period or style, original source (including manuscripts), anthologies.
  • Oxford Bibliographies
  • Oxford Reference Online. The Core Collection contains about 100 dictionary, language reference, and subject reference books published by Oxford University Press. A fully indexed, cross-searchable database.
  • Credo Reference. Scholarly reference books for all subject areas, together with thousands of images, charts, and graphs.
  • Dolmetsch Music Dictionary
  • Classical Music Reference Library — includes Baker's Biographical Dictionary
  • Encyclopedia of Latin American Popular Music
  • Garland Encyclopedia of World Music
  • RILM Music Encyclopedias. A collection of 45 encyclopedias in full text, including historical and current encyclopedias published between 1775 and the present. Content includes English, German, French, Italian, Czech, Dutch, Greek, and Slovak musicological sources, and ranges comprehensively over the subject areas of historical musicology and ethnomusicology, popular music, opera, instruments, blues, gospel, and recordings.

Other noteworthy sites

  • Musical Images/Iconography (RIdIM). See also RIdIM at Ohio State. Descriptions of art works featuring music-related objects, persons and places. Whenever possible, links to online views of the art are included. The database encompasses a wide spectrum of techniques and media (drawings, engravings, paintings, sculpture, etc.) and the musical content includes depictions of instruments, musicians, music patrons, music notation, performance venues and more.
  • Recent Music Performance Database. Started in 2015 as a music library collection development project at the University of California, Irvine, the Recent Music Performance Database is an open-access depository focused on the performance of contemporary art music. It allows music librarians, musicologists, arts directors, and other musicians to answer such questions as “Are there any composers or pieces frequently performed in this area?”; “Which composers are being performed most frequently?”; “What pieces for [instrumentation] have been performed recently?”. Data now centers chiefly on festivals and concert series in California from 2005 to 2015, but will gradually include information from many other locations and concerts.
  • IPA Source. International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) transcriptions and literal translations of opera arias and art song texts.
  • Themefinder
  • RISM: Répertoire International des Sources Musicales. RISM is an international effort to identify sources of music and writings about music from the earliest times through c. 1850. Sources include music prints, manuscripts, and libretti, as well as theoretical writings about music. The online catalog contains some 700,000 references, almost exclusively to music manuscripts, representing the works of some 25,000 composers. The sources are preserved in the libraries and archives of 32 countries. RISM was founded in 1952 by the International Musicological Society and the International Association of Music Libraries.
  • ArchiveGrid. ArchiveGrid helps researchers looking for primary source materials held in archives, libraries, museums, and historical societies by offering more than 5 million records describing archival materials, historical documents, personal papers, family histories, and more. More than one thousand archival institutions are represented.
  • International Sound Recording Code (ISRC). An international standard code for uniquely identifying sound recordings and music video recordings. This database is useful for searching for artists who have recorded a specific title, e.g., "Sheep May Safely Graze."
  • Open Vault - WGBH. Historically important content produced by the public television and radio station WGBH. Includes audio, video, images, searchable transcripts. Click "Arts" in the "Categories" box, and then click the dance or music items desired.
  • Harvard Online Resources for Music Scholars - a comprehensive list with excellent annotations.
  • Folksong Index (Oberlin College Libraries and Sing Out!)
  • Neue Mozart Ausgabe (complete)
  • Leipzig Bach Archive. The Leipzig Bach Archive is widely recognized as a pre-eminent center of Bach scholarship. Comprising a research institute, a library, a museum, and an events department, it occupies the historic Bose House complex at St Thomas's Square, opposite the church that Bach served as cantor for 27 years. With its unique collections and manifold activities, the Bach Archive contributes significantly to the time-honored image of Leipzig as a "city of music" in general and a "Bach city" in particular. The Bach Archive Foundation is a non-profit corporation which receives financial support from the City of Leipzig, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Free State of Saxony. It is directed by an Executive Board, overseen by a Board of Trustees, and advised by a Board of Curators. Sir John Eliot Gardiner is president.
  • Bach Digital Database (Leipzig Bach Archive). The Leipzig Bach Archive's Bach Digital Database is a large, detailed, and reliable tool for exploring the constantly updated research findings on J. S. Bach and other composers in the Bach family. It offers high-resolution scans of compositions (including nearly all of J. S. Bach’s works), handwritten sources containing compositions by the Bach family, and catalogs of works by the Bach family.
  • Bach Bibliography (Queen's University, Belfast). A database containing roughly 52,000 reference items. Its aim is to provide scholarly information to the academic community on published books of scholarly contents and reviews, published articles of scholarly contents (including reviews and correspondence), published facsimiles, printed editions of music (currently focusing on pre-1950), unpublished theses and dissertations, and unpublished conference and meeting papers.
  • Beethoven Gateway (San José State University). Formerly the Beethoven Bibliography Database, the Beethoven Gateway is a free online resource offered by San José State University that provides comprehensive and fully-indexed information on books, articles, scores, and other resources on the composer.
  • RIdIM (International Database of Musical Iconography)
  • Hofmeister XIX - online searchable version of the Hofmeister Monatsberichte for the years 1829-1900
  • British Library Integrated Catalog - The 62-volume catalog of printed music held by the British Library was published in book form in the 1980s. Its entries have been incorporated into the online Integrated Catalog.
  • MusRef - Bibliography of Music/Dance Reference Sources - Brigham Young University - Includes c. 8,000 bibliographies and reference sources (print and online), some 1,600 of which are annotated with critiques on use, coverage, organization, and pros and cons. Many entries also list published reviews for the corresponding sources. Regularly updated. Includes directories, dictionaries and encyclopedias, periodical indexes and other specialized indexes, bibliographies of music research, repertory guides, thematic catalogs, catalogs of music collections and exhibits, discographies, chronologies, and select histories and guides to music librarianship.
  • OSU Research Databases List 
  • Musicians Necrology (Gaylord Music Library, Washington University, St. Louis)

Streaming audio and video

Search Naxos, DRAM, Jacob's Pillow Dance, On the Boards and Films on Demand individually. The others can be searched individually or, using Advanced Search : Music & Performing Arts, simultaneously.

Naxos Music Library (Classical)   Dance in Video
Naxos Music Library (Jazz) Ethnographic Video Online
DRAM - Database of Recorded American Music Jacob's Pillow Dance
Smithsonian Global Sound Films on Demand
Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Classical Music in Video
Jazz Music Library On the Boards
Contemporary World Music Opera in Video
American Song Classical Music Library
Met Opera on Demand
  • 歴史的音源 Japanese Historical Recordings Collection (Rekion). Compiled by the Recording Industry Association of Japan, in cooperation with the National Diet Library, the collection consists of approximately 50,000 digitized recordings from 1900 to 1950. A fraction of these recordings are available to the public through the National Diet Library Online Collections, but most of the material is only available through libraries that have been granted special access. Click here for blog posts about the Collection. Accessible only from the Rekion workstation in Room 206.

    Tips on searching

    Library catalogs list books, DVDs, journal titles, CDs, microfilms — everything but articles. To find articles, search article databases. See also these videos: Advanced Searching in the Ohio State library catalog, Searching for items in the OhioLINK catalog for Ohio State users, Ohio State Music & Dance Streaming Resources, Using Grove Music Online to locate a work within the Bach Complete Works Edition and Using Grove Music Online to Locate Works within Gesamtausgaben.

    Tips on searching catalogs

    You can search by KEYWORDS (usually the default), but you may get more comprehensive results by AUTHOR, SUBJECT, or TITLE searching:

    • By dancer or company or choreographer (AUTHOR search) - Examples: Baryshnikov, Mikhail or Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater or Tharp, Twyla
    • By "unique" title (TITLE or KEYWORD search) - Examples: West Side Story or Billy the Kid (not generic titles like Symphony no. 1 or Concerto in D)
    • By dance type/form (SUBJECT search) - Examples: ballets or tangos 
    • By instrumentation (SUBJECT or KEYWORD search) - Example: flute and guitar music
    • By performers (AUTHOR search) - Examples: Cleveland Orchestra or Nureyev, Rudolf

    You can narrow the results of your search to sound recordings or video recordings or books, etc., by first performing an AUTHOR, TITLE, SUBJECT, or KEYWORD search, and then choosing the LIMIT /SORT or MODIFY SEARCH option and selecting MATERIAL TYPE, then MUSIC RECORD (for recordings) or SERIAL/JOURNAL (for magazines) or BOOK, and then clicking FIND or SUBMIT.

    Tips on searching article databases

    Practically all databases are browsable by title and subject. But databases differ in the way they treat search terms, and it may save you time to consult the HELP pages first. Some databases offer the full text of articles. Others help you find out which articles exist in which journals. Generally, you can search by KEYWORD, using an author's name or a subject term as one of your keywords (or two or three words as a phrase, enclosed in quotation marks), and then LIMIT/SORT the results of your search by date, language, journal, etc. If the full text of an article is not available, take note of the article citation (journal title, month/year, volume number, article title, inclusive page numbers), and then check the library catalogs to see if OSU or an OhioLINK library owns the journal that contains the article you need. You can request a scan of the article via Article Express

    If you have checked the OSU Library Catalog and the Music & Dance Library does not own the item you need, search for it in the OhioLINK catalog — a union catalog of more than 80 Ohio libraries. You can request OhioLINK books, scores, and recordings online and usually receive them within 3 to 5 business days at a pickup location you specify.