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Music Research

Music Histories


This list is just the very basics, enough to get you started in research. They are only a small fraction of the volumes of music history in any good library.

Cambridge History of Music. Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press
One of the most recent series, this is not yet complete. There are also volumes on specific topics (such as theory) that are not listed here.

Tim Carter and John Butt, eds.  Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Music. 2005.
Simon P. Keefe, ed. Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Music. 2009.
Jim Samson, ed. Cambridge History of Nineteenth-century Music. 2002.
Nicholas Cook and Anthony Pople, eds. Cambridge History of Twentieth-Century Music. 2004.
Thomas Christensen. Cambridge History of Western Music Theory. 2006.
David Nicholls. Cambridge History of American Music. 2004.

New Oxford History of Music. 10 vols. London: Oxford University Press, 1957-90.
A well-respected ten-volume history comprising chapters by many different authors. Two volumes of a second edition were published but the project was then abandoned.

Norton History of Music Series. New York: W. W. Norton, 1940-66.
A high-quality series that is now significantly out-of-date, but some of the volumes are still valuable.

Curt Sachs. The Rise of Music in the Ancient World. 1940.

Gustave Reese. Music in the Middle Ages. 1940.

_____. Music in the Renaissance. 1954; rev. ed., 1959.

Manfred Bukofzer. Music in the Baroque Era. 1947

Alfred Einstein. Music in the Romantic Era. 1947.

William Austin. Music in the 20th Century. 1966

Norton Introduction to Music History Series. New York: W. W. Norton, 1978-2005.
A newer series by Norton reflecting more recent scholarship, with a score anthology to accompany each volume.

Richard Hoppin. Medieval Music. 1978

Allan Atlas. Renaissance Music: Music in Western Europe, 1400-1600. 1998

John W. Hill. Baroque Music: Music in Western Europe, 1580-1750. 2005

Philip G. Downs. Classical Music: The Era of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. 2005

Leon Plantinga. Romantic Music: A History of Musical Style in Nineteenth-Century Europe. 1984

Robert P. Morgan. Twentieth-Century Music: A History of Musical Style in Modern Europe and America. 1991

Prentice Hall History of Music Series. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1965-
Another well-respected series of histories. Shorter than the Norton volumes, and without anthologies. Only the current editions are listed, and only those on Western music, although there are also volumes on music of other cultures.

Jeremy Yudkin. Music in Medieval Europe. 1989.

Howard Mayer Brown and Louise K. Stein. Music in the Renaissance. 2nd ed. 1999.

Claude Palisca. Baroque Music. 3rd ed. 1991.

Reinhard Pauly. Music in the Classic Period. 4th ed. 2000.

Rey Longyear. Nineteenth-Century Romanticism in Music. 3rd ed. 1988.

Eric Salzman. Twentieth-Century Music: An Introduction. 4th ed. 2002.


Taruskin, Richard. 6 vols. Oxford History of Western Music. London: Oxford University Press, 2005.
A single-author history with some emphasis on historiography (the study of how history is written). Contains many musical examples, including facsimiles.