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Music dictionaries and encyclopedias


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Welcome! Use this guide to find background information from dictionaries and encyclopedias for your research projects and assignments.

On this page, you will find links to some of the major dictionaries and encyclopedias used in music research and performance.

Dictionaries and encyclopedias can also be found through the Library's catalogue/search tool, Sofia, by using relevant keywords.

Music dictionaries and encyclopedias

Core music dictionaries and encyclopedias

  • Grove Music Online
    • Foremost English-language scholarly encyclopedia of music and musicians
    • Extensive articles and bibliographies written by subject experts
    • Includes detailed works lists for certain composers: useful for confirming the identity of pieces and for finding individual pieces within composers' complete works sets held by the Library
    • Includes access to New Grove Dictionary of Opera and New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2nd edition)
  • MGG Online (Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart)
    • Comprehensive German-language encyclopedia
    • Provides in-depth articles on many aspects of music and related areas
    • Features all content from the 2nd edition plus current updates and additions
    • Integrated translation available
    • View a tutorial on using MGG Online (4:00)
  • Music Online: The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music (Alexander Street Press)
    • Comprehensive resource devoted to music research about many of the word's peoples
    • Contains information about musical genres, practices, and performances specific to each geographic region
    • Includes photographs, maps, musical examples, and links to audio examples

Other general and specialty music dictionaries and encyclopedias

Location and contacts

Music Library Staff's picture
Music Library Staff
Elizabeth Wirth Music Building
3rd floor - 527 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1E3


Cathy Martin's picture
Cathy Martin
527 Sherbrooke St. W, A-317, Montreal, QC, H3A 1E3

Resource key

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

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