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Syracuse University Libraries

Music: Getting Started: Reference

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Major reference sources in music are a good place to start your research. Reference articles can be about specific musicians, musical groups, instruments, geographic locations, cultures, styles, and genres. They provide broad coverage at an introductory level, allowing you to become familiar with the terminology and context of your topic.

Use the major reference works below to locate articles on different facets of your topic, and then use the bibliographies and suggested related terms in the articles to expand your knowledge before moving on to books and journal articles.

Also check out the other sections of this guide on different geographic regions/styles for additional subject-specific resources.

Bibliography of Music Reference Sources

Writing About Music

Music Criticism