Music : Finding Music Resources

Reference Materials
Sound Recordings
Materials from Other Libraries


This guide is intended to provide an introduction to the music resources available from the University of Lethbridge Library.  

Use our homepage as your gateway to all of our programs and services. Follow the Undergraduates link for a general introduction to those programs and services. 

While anyone is welcome to come in to the library to access our resources, students need to update their library privileges for off campus access to our indexes, databases and other full text resources.

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Reference Materials

Use reference materials (encyclopedias, dictionaries, bibliographies, etc.) to find general introductions to a topic, explain unfamiliar concepts, locate brief factual information and identify references for further research. There are a wide variety of general and specific reference materials that will provide information in the discipline of music. Reference Universe will allow you to search the contents of thousands of print and electronic reference books accessible from our library.

Some examples of the wide variety of print reference materials available are:

Baker's biographical dictionary of musicians

Baker's biographical dictionary of twentieth-century classical musicians

The new Grove dictionary of music and musicians

The Oxford history of western music

Women and music in America since 1900 : an encyclopedia

The Garland encyclopedia of world music

The library also provides access to the full text of the following electronic music reference sources:

Grove Music Online (U of L students, staff, faculty)

The Faber companion to 20th-century popular music (U of L students, staff, faculty)

The Harvard biographical dictionary of music (U of L students, staff, faculty)

The Harvard dictionary of music (U of L students, staff, faculty)

The new Penguin dictionary of music (U of L students, staff, faculty)

Encyclopedia of music in Canada (open internet access)

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Use the library catalogue to identify the books, journal titles and audio visual items in our collections.

Perform an author or title search to locate a known item in the University of Lethbridge library.

Perform a subject search using Library of Congress Subject Headings to find materials on a particular topic, about indivdiual composers or their works.

Perform a keyword or advanced keyword search if you are having difficulty identifying the correct subject headings or are using terms not listed in the subject headings.

Browse the REFERENCE, MAIN, MEDIA or OVERSIZE collections.  The University of Lethbridge Library uses the Library of Congress classification system to organize materials on the shelves. 

M     Music Scores (collected works of individual composers are shelved by composer under the call number M 3)

ML    Literature on Music

MT    Music Instruction and Study

Use the catalogues of Other libraries to identify more books, employing the same search strategies outlined above. See Materials from other libraries (below) for instructions on requesting Interlibrary Loans for any titles you are interested in receiving.

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Use electronic and print indexes to identify journal articles, critical reviews of books and music and other information published in journals and magazines. A complete listing of all indexes to which the library subscribes may be found on the Indexes/Databases page, including a link to our Music indexes/databases. Some indexes that be useful for finding articles on music topics are:


Project Muse

Cambridge Journals

International Index to Music Periodicals

RILM Abstracts of Music Literature

Canadian Music Periodical Index (free access)

Fine Arts and Music Collection

If there is no direct link to the full text of the article in the index, you may use the Find full text button to see if the full text is available from one of our other database providers or in print in the University of Lethbridge Library.

If there is no Find full text button, you may perform a Journal Title Search of our collection to see if we own or provide access to the journal.

Remember! These indexes provide access to both popular magazines and scholarly journals so make sure you know what kind of information you are seeking and what kind you have retrieved.

See Materials from other libraries (below) for instructions on requesting Interlibrary Loans for any articles we do not own or provide access to.

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Sound Recordings

Use the library catalogue to identify the sound recordings in our collections. Perform an author (composer)title, subject or keyword search and limit by MATERIAL type or WHERE the item is located to ensure that you find the appropriate format.

The Library's sound recordings and listening equipment are located in the Media Collection on the north side of 11th floor of the Library. Please note that musical sound recordings are non-circulating.

Use one of the following databases to access sound recordings and print information about individual composers and pieces.

Classical Music Library


Use other freely accessible databases to access sound recordings of all genres of music.  The following sites have been recommended by credible music review sources:

Global Music Archive (Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University)

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Use the internet wisely.The quality and trustworthiness of information available on the Web varies greatly. Guidelines are available to help you evaluate Web-based sources when you are unsure of their credibility. Some websites that may be useful for directing you to Music resources are:

Gilbert and Sullivan Archive (Boise State University)

Music Resources on the World Wide Web (Yale University)

Online Resources for Music Scholars (Harvard University)

WWW Sites of Interest to Musicologists (American Musicological Society)

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Materials from Other Libraries

Use our Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service if we do not own the item you are looking for. Submit your request through the ILL function and follow the instructions on the screen. Undergraduate students are given 30 fully subsidized interlibrary loans per fiscal year (ending in April).

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Guides are available for help with everything from basic library research strategies to writing your research paper.  The full listing is on our "How to" Guides page for example:

Library Research Strategy

Evaluating Journal Articles

Evaluating Web Resources


Citation Style Guides

Suggestions for finding music scores and sheet music are provided in a separate guide.

HELP is available during the hours that the Information & Reseach Assistance Desk on level 10 of the library is staffed, either at the desk itself, by Instant Messenger, by email at Ask Us or by telephone at 329-2263.

Please feel free to contact me if your research question is not answered by any of the above.

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 Maintained by
 Content Revised: May 15, 2013
 Content Created: September 28, 2007

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