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Rock and Contemporary Music: Background Research

A Guide to Important Reference Sources and Online Resources Available at USC Upstate.

New Library System!

On June 1, the Upstate Library introduced a new library system that will change the way you access books and other library materials. When you connect to the library web site, you will find a single search box for books and a selection of databases, meaning you can search for books, articles, and media in one search. You will also be able to choose what you want to search, limit your results to specific materials, and will still be able to access library databases through the Databases and E-Resources page and this library guide. This guide will be updated as soon as possible after the change.

Reference Sources

All sources with "REF" before the call number are shelved in the Reference Section (library use only).

Links to electronic resources are shown in blue text.

New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed. – REF ML 100 .N48 2001 vols. 1-29.  The first-stop source for a broad range of musical topics, the New Grove is considered the most authoritative music encyclopedia in the English language. Covers all aspects of music including composers and musicians, compositions, music history and criticism, musical instruments, popular and non-Western music. Available online in Oxford Music Online.

Oxford Dictionary of Music, 6th ed. (formerly Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music) – Oxford Reference Online. Brief definitions of musical terms, topics, composers and musicians.

Harvard Dictionary of Music – REF ML 100 .A64 2003. An authoritative dictionary for musical terminology, including entries on basic terms, styles, genres, historical periods and countries. Covers popular styles and non-Western music as well as Western Classical music.

Encyclopedia of African-American Music - available in EBSCO eBooks.

Music in American Life - REF ML 101 .U6 M87 2013 vols. 1-4; also available in Gale Virtual Reference Library

Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 4th ed. – REF ML 102 P66 G84 1995 vols. 1-10. Authoritative source that provides detailed entries, with “balanced opinion,” documenting popular music from 1900 to the present day. Biographical in emphasis, but with many topics covered as well.          

Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll : Revised and Updated for the 21st Century – REF ML 102 .R6 2001.  An authoritative volume on the world’s music makers, from one-hit wonders to the megastars.

Popular Musicians - REF ML 105 .P66 1999, 4 vols. Biographies of popular musicians of all genres, including rock.

Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990 - REF ML 102 .P66 B35 2004, 2 vols, and online in Gale Virtual Reference Library. A good source for musicians emerging or active in the 1990s.

Rock Who's Who - REF ML 102 .R6 H5 1996.

100 Greatest Bands of All Time -  available in EBSCO eBooks.

Essential Rock Discography - REF ML 156.4 .R6 S78 2006. Extensive discography with profiles of artists. Includes most major and many minor figures.

The Album: A Guide to Pop Music's Most Provocative, Influential and Important Creations - EBSCO eBooks  Detailed discussions of 163 pop/rock albums from the early 1960s to 2010. While not every great album in included here, the set contains an impressive selection of iconic bands and singer-songwriters working in several popular music genres.

Beatles Encyclopedia - available in EBSCO eBooks.

Cultural Dictionary of Punk - REF ML3918 .R63 R66 2009

Encyclopedia of Rhythm and Blues and Doo-Wop Vocal Groups - REF ML 102 .P66 R67 2000.

The Rockin' '60s - REF ML 156..4 .R6 H46 1999.

The Story of Rock 'n' Roll - REF ML 3534 .S87 1995. Year-by-year chronicle of major events and bands.

Who's New Wave in Music - REF ML 12 .W5 1985. A good guide to New Wave bands of the 1980s.

Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music - REF ML 102 .G6 E63 2005. Also available online in EBSCO E-book collection.

Encyclopedia of the Blues - REF ML 102 .B6 E53 2006, 2 vols. Also available in ProQuest E-book Central.

Encyclopedia of Country Music, 2nd Ed. - REF ML 102 .C7 E54 2012.

Encyclopedia of Folk, Country and Western Music - REF ML 102 .J3 S78

Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip Hop Culture - REF ML 102 .R27 B96 2006

Hip Hop Around the World: An Encyclopedia - Available online in EBSCO E-book collection.

Online Classes and Remote Access