Skip to Main Content

Music History


Reference works can save you a lot of time. They have done the work of compiling information about a person or topic for you and can help you frame your research question. They also have useful bibliographies that can jump start your research process.


> Introduction

> Dictionaries

> Biographical Information

> Music Analysis

> Guides to Reference Materials and Research

> Bibliographies and Repertoire Guides

> Histories



Biographical Information

Composer research guides (also known as bio-bibliographies) are an excellent place to start when searching for information about a composer and his/her works. These books provide a biographical sketch of the composer, a descriptive list of his/her compositions, and a bibliography of publications by and about the composer and his/her music.

These guides may be found at ML 134 in both the circulating and reference collections at the Jones Music Library.  To determine if either library has a guide on a specific composer, search the OPAL Catalog by the composer as a subject (last name, first name) and consult the sub-heading, bibliography.

Music Analysis

1. There are two major texts for locating analyses of works. They include titles of articles and books that discuss and analyze composer's works.

2. If the work you are studying is not included in Diamond or Hoek, search the library catalog for books that may include analysis of your piece.

Some examples of subject headings in the library catalog that might help you find analysis:

  • Berg, Alban, 1885-1935--Criticism and interpretation.
  • Harmonic analysis.
  • Operas --Analysis, appreciation.
  • Symphonies--Analysis, appreciation.

3. You can also search in journal databases like RILM and Music Index to find individual articles and dissertations about the piece.

4. Finally, you can also try UT Knoxville's online Analysis Index, but beware that you'll need to search our catalog to see whether we have the sources they cite.

Guides to Reference Materials and Research

If you feel like you need more guidance in conducting music research and learning about the various tools available, these books can help.


Bibliographies and guides to research about particular instruments or genres are generally located in the ML128s.

Repertoire guides for particular instruments are also located in the ML128s.

Examples include: