Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Why Not Google?
You might be wondering why you can't just Google the information you are looking for. It's all online, right??
Not so fast! Things to remember about such a BIG search:
- Information Overload (too much information to sort through)
- Quality v. Quantity (anyone can make a webpage... is the source any good?)
- Show Me The Money! (sometimes you'll have to PAY to get the information)
While our databases might be a little different from what you're used to, they can help to eliminate some of these obstacles.
Another way to make searching easier is to stick to trusted sites:
Online Music Resources
College Music Society
If you have an interest in college teaching, you should join CMS. This site has information on academic position vacancies, professional development, conferences, publications, international music organizations and other sites that promote music teaching and learning.
Darmstadt Jazz Institute
Write for a free bibliography from the Darmstadt Jazz Institute. Information about this great free service is here, along with some samples of the bibliographies they send out (the ones posted here are old, so be sure to email and request a current one!)
The Jazz Discography (Tom Lord)
Search through the jazz discography by Tom Lord and cut-and-paste into Word the extensive discographical listings of the artists relevant to their research. Now, this one is not free–a subscription is required. If they visit the IJS at my campus they can use it therefor free and e-mail the results to themselves. Also there is an individual subscription option for people who think they'll be using it a lot or want to subscribe for a short time.
Music Library Association
Although geared primarily toward music librarianship, this site contains links to publications produced by the MLA.
Music Theory Online
An online journal produced by the Society for Music Theory, with holdings dating back to February 1993. Full content is available on their website.
This site contains a large amount of information on the composer George Frideric Handel, including biographical & historical information, discographies, bibliographic information and other related links.
The Leonard Bernstein Collection
"The Leonard Bernstein Collection is one of the largest and most varied of the many special collections held by the Library of Congress Music Division. Its more than 400,000 items, including music and literary manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, audio and video recordings, fan mail, and other types of materials extensively document Bernstein's extraordinary life and career." - Library of Congress
The Classical Music Navigator
Profiles of 444 important classical composers covers basic data, major works, and influences. The site enables users to match individual works to works representing similar compositional forms and styles, and the site also includes a useful glossary of musical terms.
John Cage Unbound: A Living Archive
"John Cage Unbound: A Living Archive is an online record of John Cage's work and its evolving impact on music and performance." Hosted by the New York Public Library, this resource includes manuscripts, ephemera (photos, programs, etc.) and videos of, or about, the composer.
William Paterson University Resources
Music Resources @ Cheng Library
A collection of Music-related resources maintained by the librarians at the Cheng Library. This page is often updated, so check back regularly.
National Libraries & Archives
National Libraries sometimes have unique and valuable information (including primary sources!) on composers who were born or resided there.
Additionally, there are a wide range of archives (usually at colleges and universities) that keep the papers and artifacts of famous composers.
Keep in mind that not everything will always be available online, and that you might need to be careful of the quality of these archives before using them. But, they might be excellent places to find interesting documents and information.
Below are a few examples:
Library of Congress
Use the search at the top of the site to look for online collections about your composer or topic!
The British Library
Search through a wide range of sources for information on British composers (or those who resided there).