Skip to main content

Music Resources: Background Information

Background Information

Research begins with understanding the context of your topic, specifically what is known or believed about it. Background information can help you to achieve this and find ways to focus your topic. These are also good sources to answer factual questions about music and musicians. Begin with Basic Reference Sources.

  • Oxford Music Online includes Grove Music Online, the authoritative music encyclopedia and the best place to begin for many topics.
  • In addition to the online reference databases below, tabs for Music Dictionaries and Music Encyclopedias highlight some important print and electronic books.
  • To dig deeper, explore the Musical Genres box to see some of the other important reference books. These are by no means all that we have. Browse the shelves in the Reference section or use SearchUp to find more!

Basic Reference Sources

Musical Genres

Helpful Links & Guides