Skip to Main Content

Music literature full-text and bibliographic databases

Databases and other resources for finding written information about music: journal articles, ebooks, and more

Welcome! Use this guide to find literature about music for your research projects and assignments: full-text journal articles, article abstracts, e-books, digital collections, and more

Search the Library's Sofia Discovery tool


Note: Not all resources can be found through this search tool (catalogue).

Consult the resources on this and other guides to access additional sources.

Core databases for finding music literature, including journal articles

  • RILM Abstracts of Music Literature with Full Text
    • Comprehensive scholarly bibliography of writings on music, international in scope, from 1900 to the present
    • Covers a wide range of publications: journal articles, conference proceedings, books, dissertations, and essay collections
    • Includes full-text content from many leading journals, magazines, and newsletters
  • Music Periodicals Database (formerly IIMP - International Index to Music Periodicals)
    • Guide to scholarly and popular music journals for a wide range of subjects
    • Emphasis on articles from 1996 to the present; indexing for certain journals from 1874
    • Includes full-text content for many journals
  • RIPM Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals with Full Text (1760-1966)
    • Online access to extensive collections of rare, primary source music periodicals from 1760 to 1966
    • Includes specialized music journals selected from more than 20 countries worldwide
    • Citations and full text available
    • Provides an almost daily chronicle of musical activities over a period of 200 years
  • RIPM Jazz Periodicals
    • Online access to over 100 American jazz periodicals published over the last century
    • Coverage includes general, discographical, critical research, and entertainment industry journals
    • Advanced search allows for limiting the results to images and discographical entries
    • Journal browse feature available
  • Music Index
    • Guide to music periodicals and literature
    • Coverage includes articles about music, musicians, instruments, and the music industry (popular and classical)
    • Good for finding reviews of books, recordings, and performances; news articles; and obituaries
    • Some digital content (1970 to present)
  • JSTOR: Advanced Search (or Basic Search)
    • Provides full-text access to more than 12 million academic journal articles, books, and primary sources in 75 disciplines (including music)
    • Advanced search function allows users to filter by item type, language, publication date, journal or publication title, and discipline

General, interdisciplinary, and specialty databases for finding music literature

  • AES: Audio Engineering Society
    • Professional society devoted to audio technology, uniting audio engineers, creative artists, scientists, and students worldwide by promoting advances in audio and disseminating new knowledge and research
    • AES E-Library provides access to almost every AES paper published at a convention, conference or in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society from 1953 to the present
  • Albert Schatz Collection of Opera Libretti (Library of Congress)
    • First and early editions of Italian, French, and German opera libretti from the 17th and 18th centuries
    • Collection contains more than 12,000 fully catalogued and digitized libretti
    • Object viewer allows users to zoom and download 
  • Bibliographie des Musikschrifttums Online
    • An international and interactive bibliography of music literature
    • Includes monographs, articles and reviews from journals, Festschriften, conference proceedings, yearbooks, anthologies and essays from critical reports
    • Search interface available in German and English
  • Canadian Encyclopedia
    • Bilingual digital encyclopedia of history, culture, and people in Canada
    • Includes former Encyclopedia of Music in Canada entries
    • Almost 20,000 articles written by expert contributors
    • Interactive features include curated content exhibits, interactive timelines, immediate updates of important events, and a user-generated content map that invites Canadians to share their stories
    • Offers a new learning centre for teachers and parents that contains classroom resources, quizzes, and themed study guides
  • Canadian Music Periodical Index
    • Find citations to articles from hundreds of Canadian music journals, newsletters, and magazines
    • Discover articles on musical activity in Canada, from the late-19th century to 2010
  • Concert Programmes
    • Search this database to find locations and descriptions of concert program collections held in European libraries, archives, and museums
    • Website provides links to other groups working in this area of documentation, and to a selection of online related projects
  • Entertainment Industry Magazine Archive
    • Archival research resource for studying history of the film and entertainment industries
    • Coverage: 1880-2000
  • Europeana
    • Provides access to millions of digitized books, music, and artworks from thousands of European archives, libraries, and museums 
    • Explore recordings, sheet music, instruments, and music-related collections 
    • Includes digital exhibitions, galleries, and blogs about music, instruments, and composers
  • France: Musiques, Cultures, 1789-1918
    • A network of over 250 academics and librarians with interests in the music of the French long nineteenth century, linked by a JISC discussion group
    • Repository includes more than 3000 digitized, searchable texts relating to French music and ballet in the nineteenth century
    • Also provides access to bibliographical resources and work in progress
  • Gallica, la bibliothèque numérique de la Bibliothèque nationale de France
    • Excellent resource for historical and archival research
    • Provides access to public-domain digital documents held at the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)
    • Wide variety of formats included: books, newspapers, periodicals, scores, sound recordings, images, and more
  • Google Scholar
    • Provides a simple way to broadly search for scholarly literature
    • Search across many disciplines and sources, including journal articles, academic theses, books, and abstracts
    • Configure Google Scholar to access articles available through the Library
  • Hathi Trust
    • A not-for-profit collaborative of academic and research libraries preserving 17+ million digitized items
    • Offers reading access to the fullest extent allowable by U.S. copyright law, computational access to the entire corpus for scholarly research, and other emerging services based on the combined collection 
    • Search the collection in several ways: catalogue record and full-text across the collection or within a single item
  • Internet Archive
    • Digital collection of public domain materials, including archives and published media from university collections around the world
    • Includes sound recordings, scores, books, and other materials
    • Public domain materials can be downloaded
    • Offers full-text searching within documents and across the collection
  • Music Online: Music Periodicals of the 19th Century (Alexander Street Press)
    • Collection of full-text periodicals depicting American musical life from 1838 to the early 1900s
    • Contains local and international news, reviews, editorials, sheet music, and advertisements
  • Opening Night! Opera & Oratorio Premieres
    • Cross-index of data for more than 43,000 opera and oratorio premieres that received a public performance between the years 1589 and the present
    • Historical notes provide detailed descriptions for each category, including content parameters and exceptions, and notes on forms of personal and geographical name entries
    • Search by title, composer, librettist, or keyword
  • Oxford Bibliographies: Music
    • Book-length bibliographies provide an authoritative guide to current scholarship, containing original commentary and annotations
    • Interface guides users directly to relevant information; provides personalized citation lists and links to full-text print and online content
    • Bibliographies are written and reviewed by academic experts
  • Oxford Handbooks Online: Music
    • Handbooks offer thorough introductions to topics and a critical survey of the current state of scholarship

    • Covers a wide range of music research including historical musicology, ethnomusicology, theory, pedagogy, dance, and technology
  • RIdIM (Répertoire International d’Iconographie Musicale)
    • An international index of visual sources of music, dance, theatre, and opera
    • Wide scope of visual documents and artifacts, including architecture, performance art, videos as well as paintings, drawings, and sculptures
    • RIdIM database contains descriptions and images of visual objects; search for images using controlled vocabulary terms or keywords (e.g., names of artists and musicians, musical instruments, titles, art media, date of creation, and owning institutions)
    • Images are often included unless protected by copyright
  • Rock's Backpages Library
    • Comprehensive online database of pop music writing; comprises a wide collection of more than 40,000 primary-source full-text articles from the music and mainstream press from the 1950s to the present as well as hundreds of audio interviews
    • Archive covers all types of popular music from the 1950s to the present 
    • Articles are full text and fully searchable (by artist, date, genre, keyword, etc.)
    • Sources include American and British publications

Musicology and librarianship reference tools

  • Digital Resources for Musicology (DRM)
    • Created by the Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities, at Stanford University.
    • Links to open access repositories, including digitized music manuscripts, digital score reprints, genre based projects, and more
  • MusRef: Music and dance bibliography and reference (BYU)
    • Access an online bibliography of music and dance bibliographies and reference sources (both print and online)
    • Provides helpful guides on how to find appropriate research materials using reference sources: Basic introductions to reference tools
    • Contains a series of in-depth compilations of research, ranging from an exploration of a composer's life and works to narrowly defined pedagogical topics and specialized historical perspectives on music
    • The blog regularly reviews freely accessible music and dance reference sources
  • : Références en musicologie
    • Publishes articles about music topics, including philosophy, history, and theory, as well as biographies, encyclopedic articles, and reviews of concerts and recordings
    • Provides access to practical resources and announcements about concerts and music conferences
    • Articles and documentation on the site are freely accessible but the content is protected by copyright
  • Virtual Library of Musicology (ViFaMusik)
    • Portal for music and musicology, providing links to numerous sites offering scholarly research and online resources
    • Advanced search options enable simultaneous searching across multiple catalogues

Location and contacts

Profile Photo
Music Library Staff
Marvin Duchow Music Library
Elizabeth Wirth Music Building
3rd floor - 527 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1E3
Subjects: Music


Profile Photo
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

McGill LibraryQuestions? Ask us!
Privacy notice