Music Research and Resources

by Ruth Gustafson – May 20, 2022

This subject guide links to music resources including:  core literature databases; online resources including major reference works (encyclopedias, handbooks, dictionaries); digitized music collections; key portals to open access music resources; and sources of streaming audio.

FOR UCD students, faculty, and staff:   Feel free to book an appointment with Ruth for assistance in using these resources or for any questions you may have.   Ruth is continuing with Zoom appointments.  (Exceptions will be made if in-person or phone is the only/best option for the requestor.)

Book an APPOINTMENT with Ruth

Off-Campus Access

  • To access licensed library resources from off-campus, please use the library VPN.

For requesting music course materials, please email your questions about Course Reserves to   You should also look at the Course Reserves for Instructors webpage for further information.

For other music resources you would like to be considered for purchase, please fill out the Purchase Recommendation Form at the bottom of this Subject Guide or contact Belen Fernandez directly at

Ruth Gustafson

Student Services
Student Services and Researcher Services Librarian


In this Guide:

For onsite music department assistance:
  • Nick Carvajal  |  Music Department: Librarian

Office Hours: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

(530) 754-1814
Room 112b, Music Building

Searching in a library catalog requires looking for broader topics such as choral singing rather than the more specific health benefits of choral singing.   

CALL NUMBER areas for music are in the M (Music Scores) or ML (Literature on Music) or MT (Music Instruction and Study) areas.  Consult the Library of Congress Classification Outline for specific categories

  • UC Davis Library Catalog
    Replacing Harvest on August 18, 2016, the new UC Davis Library Catalog includes the collections of all four UC Davis General Libraries. It does not include the holdings of the Law Library. If you log in (My Account) using your UCD login and Kerberos passphrase, you are prompted with your loan period, can renew books online, and request items that have been checked out to another borrower, or are in storage.


  • WorldCat [via FirstSearch/OCLC]  OCLC catalog of millions of records for books, journal titles, musical scores, dissertations, theses and materials in other formats from approximately 12,000 libraries worldwide.  Coverage: 1000 A.D.-present


  • Understanding Call Numbers

    Author: Library Instruction Services, Shields Library

    Library of Congress Classification is used for all of the UCD libraries except the health sciences libraries (which use NLM — National Library of Medicine — classification).  Learn about how books are arranged in the UCD libraries with this guide.

    Date: 2004

The UCD Library has licensed the entire Music Video Collection from Alexander Street Press (April 2020).

Below are links to the full collection and then to the six subsections: American Music, Classical Music, Contemporary World Music, Jazz Music, Popular Music, Smithsonian Global Sound.

Please turn on the Library VPN, Pulse Secure, to CONNECT & remotely access any of the video collections below.

Music Video Collection

    NOTE: For opera resources, type  Opera in Video into the search box for the entire collection


Music Online: American Music


Music Online: Classical Music Library


Music Online: Contemporary World Music


Music Online: Jazz Music Library


Music Online: Popular Music Library


Music Online: Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries

Oxford Music Online

With over 60,000 articles written by over 6,000 music scholars, Grove Music Online (GMO) is the authoritative resource for music research with an ongoing mission to chart the diverse history and cultures of music and musicians from around the globe. Includes the eighth edition of Grove’s Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and contains articles commissioned specifically for the site as well as articles from New Grove 2001, Grove Opera, and Grove Jazz. The recently published second editions of The Grove Dictionary of American Music (Oxford Reference access) and The Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments are included, and new articles are added to GMO with each site update.

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music

The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Online is a comprehensive online resource devoted to music research of the world’s peoples. It contains more than 9,000 pages of material, combined with entries by more than 700 expert contributors from all over the world.This release includes 1,217 essays and images from 10 sources and hundreds of audio examples.

RISM International Inventory of Musical Sources

The International Inventory of Musical Sources (RISM) aims to comprehensively document the world’s musical sources of manuscripts or printed music, works on music theory and libretti stored in libraries, archives, monasteries, schools and private collections. The online-catalogue offered here contains around 700,000 references almost exclusively to music manuscripts.

MGG Online (Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart)

NEW in 2021!  MGG online is the preeminent digital encyclopedia for music researchers published from 1994 to 2020 with over 3,800 subject entries and over 15,000 biographical entries.

MGG Online builds on the second edition of Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (MGG, 1994–2008), offering new and substantially updated content as well as continuous updates, revisions, and additions. MGG Online is being developed by Bärenreiter and J. B. Metzler in partnership with RILM.”

See the MGG online Youtube channel for tutorials. One of the tutorials is the newly published “Tips for English-speaking Users“.

Articles in music may appear in journals that are not specific to music. These articles may or may not be indexed in the music indexes. Check these databases to expand your search.


Academic Search Complete

The multi-disciplinary database Academic Search Complete (ASC) provides full-text access to more than 5,500 periodicals, including over 4,600 peer-reviewed journals, and indexing and abstracts for an additional 9,500 journals and 10,000 publications, including monographs, reports, conference proceedings, etc. This scholarly collection offers coverage of information in many areas of academic study including, but not limited to: animal science, anthropology, area studies, astronomy, biology, chemistry, civil engineering, electrical engineering, ethnic & multicultural studies, food science & technology, general science, geography, geology, law, materials science, mathematics, mechanical engineering, music, pharmaceutical sciences, physics, psychology, religion & theology, veterinary science, women’s studies, zoology and many other fields. The database features PDF content going back as far as 1887, with the majority of full text titles in native (searchable) PDF format.

JSTOR: The Scholarly Journal Archive

JSTOR started as a scholarly journal archive – JSTOR is an abbreviation for Journal STORage.  JSTOR primarily provides online article access to back files (non-current) of hundreds of important scholarly journals in nearly 50 disciplines spanning the arts, humanities, social sciences and the sciences.  Current issues are only included for a few titles.  Date ranges of coverage vary by journal title.  JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization established with the assistance of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

PLEASE NOTE:  JSTOR is now providing some eBook collections as it expands to become a “highly selective digital library academic content in many formats and disciplines.”

Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive

An archival research resource containing the essential primary sources for studying the history of the film and entertainment industries, from the era of vaudeville and silent movies through to 2000. The core US and UK trade magazines covering film, music, broadcasting and theater are included, together with film fan magazines and music press titles. Magazines have been scanned cover-to-cover in high-resolution color, with granular indexing of all articles, covers, ads and reviews.

Performing Arts Encyclopedia (Library of Congress)

A guide to the performing arts collections (both print and digital) and exhibitions at the Library of Congress. Includes digitized items from the collections, with some works by composers Amy Beach, George W. Chadwick, Charles Ives, Edward MacDowell, Gerry Mulligan and several others. Also topical material, such as Civil War Sheet music and American Choral Music.

Turabian Citation Guide

A concise reference list from Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses and Dissertations. Provides basic guidelines for bibliographic information in footnotes, endnotes and a bibliography.

MPA Copyright Resource Center
A guide to copyright law as it applies to music. Prepared by the Music Publishers Association.
ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Database
“The most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses in the world”, according to the publisher.
Coverage: 1861-present
Naxos Classical Music Library (NML)

The Naxos Classical Music Library consists of 98,977 albums, comprising 1,436,654 tracks, with new content added regularly.

Naxos Music Library Jazz (NML Jazz)

Naxos Music Library Jazz offers close to 20,000 tracks of jazz from over 1,900 albums. Over 500 jazz artists are represented. Naxos Music Library Jazz comprises Naxos Jazz and the 22 labels of Fantasy Jazz. New content is added regularly.

Naxos Music Library World

NEW in April 2021! Naxos Music Library World (NML World) is one of the most comprehensive collections of world music available online.  The Naxos Music Library World consists of 14,938 albums, comprising 178,863 tracks, with new content added regularly.

NLM World covers the entire Smithsonian Folkways catalogue, plus world music from other independent labels. All these can be accessible from computers in academic libraries, home or office.

See the Naxos Music Library World FAQ, for further information.

Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings

NEW in April 2021! Global collection of hundreds of audio field recordings, with videos, photographs and field notes from over 50 ethnomusicological collections. Materials document musical traditions worldwide, from the Yoruba in Africa to hip hop in Brooklyn, from Guatemala’s indigenous peoples to Javanese of Indonesia. Formats include audio field recordings and interviews, educational recordings, film footage, field notebooks, slides, correspondence, ephemera and a unique ‘musical instrument map’ feature. Supports study of cultural identity, social norms, religion and ritual, gender roles, as well as other themes. Features content from the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive and University of Washington.

UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive

The UCSB Library, with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Grammy Foundation, and donors, has created a digital collection of more than 10,000 cylinder recordings held by the UCSB Library. To bring these recordings to a wider audience, the Library makes them available to download or stream online for free.

This searchable database features all types of recordings made from the late 1800s to early 1900s, including popular songs, vaudeville acts, classical and operatic music, comedic monologues, ethnic and foreign recordings, speeches and readings.

The website also includes the Library’s collection of more than 650 Vernacular Wax Cylinder Recordings, which in 2015 were selected to be part of the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. These personal recordings, also known as home wax recordings, were made by everyday people at home, not by record companies or field researchers, and capture the early spirit of the public’s interaction with recording technology.

Discography of American Historical Recordings (DAHR)

DAHR is the preeminent searchable database documenting historical commercial sound recordings in the US, with audio streaming of more than 30,000 recordings, available free-of-charge. Used by researchers, musicologists, and general music fans, DAHR had its genesis in 1964 as the Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings, a project founded by private collectors Ted Fagan and William R. Moran. It initially documented recordings made by the Victor Talking Machine Company from original documents in the Victor (now Sony) Archives. It became an online database at UCSB in 2008 and streaming audio was added through a partnership with the Library of Congress in 2011. In 2013, DAHR became the primary project of the UCSB-based American Discography Project (ADP)— with the expansion of the project to document seven other early record companies with support from the Packard Humanities Institute.

The Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings

NOTE: Selected streaming audio files are available.

From the website description: “The Arhoolie Foundation’s Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings is the largest repository of these commercially produced vernacular recordings in existence. The nearly 160,000 recordings in the collection were made primarily in the United States and Mexico and were issued on 78 rpm, 45 rpm, and 33⅓ rpm (long-playing, or LP) phonograph records and cassette and reel-to-reel tapes. The earliest recording was made in 1908, and the latest recordings were released in the 1990s. These performances are divided into three sections, roughly by era. Because of the depth and breadth of each section, and because many of the recordings are irreplaceable, the Strachwitz Frontera Collection is unique.

The early-twentieth-century section includes approximately 35,000 individual songs recorded on 17,000 two-sided 78 rpm discs. These rare and very fragile records were released between 1905 and 1955. Many types of popular songs are represented in the performances, which include the first recordings of corridos (narrative ballads on topics of the day), canciones, boleros, rancheras, and sones. This section also contains many types of instrumental music, including the first recordings of norteño and conjunto music. The artists who made these records helped propagate and popularize a number of traditional regional styles, such as the Tejano music of South Texas, providing the foundation for Latino music today. In addition, this section includes spoken performances such as patriotic speeches and comedy skits. Many of the recordings are one of a kind because the companies that made them no longer exist or, if the companies do exist, the masters were lost or destroyed.

The late-twentieth-century section contains approximately 56,000 individual songs from 45 rpm recordings that date from around 1955 to the 1990s. These include recordings produced by a wide range of small regional firms that were created to serve the musical interests of the growing immigrant population in the United States, especially along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The last section of the collection includes over 62,000 individual songs from 33⅓ rpm phonograph records and cassette tapes also from 1955 to 1990. These songs demonstrate the continuity of traditional styles into contemporary times.

Also in the collection are rare reel-to-reel master tapes whose recording dates span the end of the 78 rpm era through the LP era.”

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