Skip to main content

Library Subject Guides

Music: Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Why Use Reference Sources?

Specialised music encyclopedias, dictionaries and handbooks offer information on composers, musical works, instruments, genres of music and musical terms

Use them when you want to

  • define terminology
  • find brief, factual information
  • build up a context for the topic and ideas to explore

Oxford Music Online

Search on campus

Search off campus

Oxford Music Online includes

  • Grove Music Online
  • Oxford Dictionary of Music
  • Oxford Companion to Music

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Many titles are available online. For some, the Library has print only.


The Harvard dictionary of music
Central Library ML 100 .R1912 2003

The new Grove dictionary of music and musicians
Connect to electronic resource
Central Library ML 100 .G883 2001

Oxford companion to music

Oxford dictionary of music

Oxford music online
Connect to electronic resource


A dictionary of music titles : the origins of the names and titles of 3,500 musical compositions
Central Library ML 102 .T58 .R777 2000

The literature of chamber music
Central Library ML 128 .C4 .C678 1997

Music titles in translation : a checklist of musical compositions
Central Library ML 111 .H691


The new Grove dictionary of opera
Connect to electronic resource
Central Library ML 102 .O6 .N3

The Grove book of operas

The Grove book of opera singers.

A dictionary of opera characters

Opera : composers, works, performers
Central Library ML 102 .O6 .O61 2000

Jazz and Blues

The big book of blues : a biographical encyclopedia
Central Library ML 102 .B6 .S232 2001

The biographical encyclopedia of jazz
Central Library ML 102 .J3 .F288 b 1999

The new Grove dictionary of jazz
Connect to electronic resource
Central Library ML 102 .J3 .N532 2002

Popular Music

The encyclopedia of popular music
Central Library ML 102 .P66 .E56 1998

MusicWeb encyclopedia of popular music

The Virgin illustrated encyclopedia of pop & rock.
Central Library  ML 102 .R6 .V817 2002


Oxford companion to the American musical: theatre, film and television

The Garland encyclopedia of world music
Central Library ML 100 .G233

Musical instruments : history, technology, and performance of instruments of western music
Central Library ML 460 .C189 2004

The Oxford companion to musical instruments
Central Library  ML 102 .I5 .B162

The Oxford dictionary of dance

Music Analysis Guides

Music analyses : an annotated guide to the literature
Central Library ML 128 .A7 .D537 1991

The musician's guide to theory and analysis
Central Library MT 6 .C627 .M9 2005

Music Bibliography

Sourcebook for research in music
Central Library ML 113 .C883 2005

Collected editions, historical series & sets & monuments of music: a bibliography
Central Library ML 113 .H646

The Penguin guide to compact discs & DVDs
Central Library ML 156.9 .M315 2003

University Library
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140

Phone: +64 3 369 4888 (ext 94888)

Follow us
Facebook Twitter Youtube