Skip to main content

Music Research Guide: Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

Where is Search Anything?

Search Anything is located on the library home page ( and broadly searches across books, ebooks, articles and more.

You can also search this, and all other Research Guides, using the Search Box located in the top right corner of the page.

Ask Us

Rachel Schwedt's picture
Rachel Schwedt

Library of Congress Subject Headings

All cataloged materials in the JFL library receive Library of Congress Subject Headings. These headings are like keywords, but are more precise and less flexible. The following headings are suggestions of the patterns that LC headings follow for the field of music.

Music Education

(Area of music plus – Instruction and study)
Music – Instruction and study
Choral singing – Instruction and study
School music – Instruction and study
Guitar – Instruction and study

Music History

(Use History and criticism or analysis as subheadings)
Music – History and criticism
Beethoven, Ludwig van, 1770-1827 – Criticism and interpretation
       (Composer’s name, dates if you know them plus – Criticism and interpretation or Analysis)
Music – 19th century – History and criticism
       (Narrow search results by adding time period for music style)
Piano – History
       (Type of instrument and appropriate subheading)

Worship Music

Public worship
Church music
Ministers of music
Contemporary Christian music


Folk songs
Music – Italy – History and criticism
       (Music, name of country or people group, and subheading)
Music – social aspects

Credo Reference

Credo contains content from hundreds of reference books covering every major subject including music. This is a good place to research composers and types or time periods of music. Credo will provide links to numerous reference books on any chosen topic. It may also link out to journal articles found in the library's many databases. Use it as a starting point to provide basic background information.

    Cambridge Companions to Music

Cambridge Companions to Music provide clear and accessible information on composers, instruments or musical topics, written with the student, the performer and the music lover in mind. Each volume provides a carefully structured series of specially-commissioned essays by leading authorities offering comprehensive reference material.

Encyclopedias - Examples of Music Encyclopedias

Dictionaries - Examples of Music Dictionaries

Research Guides - Examples of guides for individual composers