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Ethnomusicology: Home

Ethnomusicology resources



Searching the Library catalogue

Search using words for historical periods (e.g., baroque, renaissance, romantic), musical genres (e.g., punk, folk songs, symphonies), musical styles (e.g., galant, bop, minimalist music), instruments, and/or individual musicians.

Truncation symbol: ? e.g. ethnomusicolog? will retrieve catalogue records containing the wordsethnomusicologistethnomusicologyethnomusicological, etc.
Phrase searching: "___" e.g. "participant observation" will retrieve catalogue records containing the phrase participant observation
Boolean operators: (), AND, OR, NOT
default: AND
e.g. "north america" AND (indians OR indigenous OR "first nations") will retrieve catalogue records containing the phrase north america AND at least one of the words/phrases indians OR indigenous OR first nations

Browse by call number

From the Basic Search screen of the Classic Catalogue, select Call number begins with... and enter one of the call numbers below, or simply browse the Music Library shelves at:

ML128 E8 Bibliography
ML198-ML239 Music History and Criticism by region: Americas
ML240-ML325 Music History and Criticism by region: Europe
ML330-ML345 Music History and Criticism by region: Asia
ML348 Music History and Criticism by region: Arab Countries
ML350 Music History and Criticism by region: Africa
ML360 Music History and Criticism by region: Australia
ML3797.7 Ethnomusicology - Congresses
ML3798 Ethnomusicology - General works (including works on methods of research)
ML3799 Ethnomusicology - Addresses, essays, lectures

Search by subject heading

From the Basic Search screen of the Classic Catalogue, select Subject heading begins with... and enter one of the suggested subject headings below (the dashes are not necessary).

Music - [Region]
Music and dance
Music and anthropology
Folk music - [Region]
Popular music - [Region]
World music - [Region]
[Ethnic group] - [Region] - Music

Core and additional databases

Core databases

  • RILM Abstracts of Music Literature
    Citations and abstracts of music scholarship – articles, books, theses, conference proceedings, etc. – from around the world
  • Music Index Online
  • Citations to a mix of scholarly and more popular periodical literature, with some links to full-text articles
  • Music Periodicals Database (formerly IIMP - International Index to Music Periodicals)
    Citations and abstracts of scholarly and popular music periodical literature; more than 80 titles have at least some full text
  • CMPI: Canadian Music Periodical Index
    Citations only to nearly 30,000 articles in Canadian music periodicals published from the late 19th century to the present


Additional databases


Ethnomusicological studies are published in many journals in other disciplines. The indexes below will provide relevant citations and sometimes full text of articles not found in the music-specific databases above.

  • Anthropology Plus
    As a compilation of the Royal Anthropological Institute’s Anthropological Index and Harvard University's Anthropological Literature databases, Anthropology Plus is the world’s most comprehensive index covering the fields of anthropology, archaeology, and related interdisciplinary research.
  • International Bibliography of the Social Sciences
    Bibliographic citations for journal articles, books, reviews and selected chapters published since 1951 in a broad range of social science disciplines
  • Sociological Abstracts
    Indexes the international literature of sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences from 1952 to the present

Core ethnomusicology journals at McGill

Print journals are located on the 5th floor of the Music Library. Many journals are available electronically.

Use the core databases above to locate ethnomusicological research in these and other music journals.

Dissertation databases

Dissertations are book-length papers written by graduate students in partial fulfillment of a Ph.D. or other doctoral degree requirements. Because they represent new areas of research and undergo a rigorous academic evaluation process, dissertations can be excellent resources for finding information on topics in ethnomusicology. Be sure to check their bibliographies for further reading.

For more online dissertation resources, consult the theses page.

Recordings databases

  • Naxos Music Library contains several labels such as Marco Polo that focus on traditional music from around the world.
  • Smithsonian Global Sound (access via BAnQ; requires free subscription to remote services)
    Dedicated to the music of cultures around the world, this database offers an array of traditional and folk music recordings.

Selected Internet sites

Borrowing from other libraries

All Montreal residents may register for free access to the collections of the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. Present a valid photo ID and proof of residency to obtain a borrowing card.

BCI card allows its holder to borrow materials from other academic libraries. McGill undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty can request a card from the service desk of any McGill branch library. Graduate and faculty BCI cards grant their holders borrowing rights at participating university libraries across Canada. For more information, visit McGill Library's "Borrowing in person at other universities" page.

Students and faculty may use other libraries' collections - possibly with certain restrictions - even if they do not have borrowing privileges.

Other resources

Audio / video resources

Other relevant McGill Subject Guides

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Music Library Staff
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3rd floor - 527 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1E3

Resource key

  • McGill users only
  • Open access resource
  • Free resource
  • In-library use
  • Catalogue record

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