Glossary of terms on this page:
- Historical - About people no longer living.
- Contemporary - About people living (at the time of publication).
- Biography - About a person.
- Bibliography - List of sources of information, such as articles and books.
- Works - Compositions, performances, recordings, etc.
- Signed - Articles with a named author.
- Reference books, like encyclopedias and dictionaries
- Books on the individual composer
- Books on the type of music s/he is known for
- Magazine and journal articles
- Internet Web sites
Keys to finding information on your composer:
- Name (including any variant spellings)
- Musical Time Period and/or Musical Style(s)
- Country of Residence
Books, Scores, Videos, Sound Recordings, etc.
You may find materials in the UH Libraries that are either by or about a composer by using the Hawaii Voyager Catalog.
- Try a SUBJECT search to find items ABOUT the composer, musical time period, musical style, or geograpical region.
- Try an AUTHOR search to find materials BY the composer.
- Try a KEYWORD ANYWHERE search to get a list of items
In some cases, you'll find alternate spellings for a composer's name, such as Rachmaninoff and Rachmaninov. Be sure to search using both spellings, or you may miss a great source!
Look for items on the musical period (baroque), musical style (opera), or area (German music) associated with your composer. Use the table of contents and index in such books to find information about your composer.
Some Reference Books at the WCC Library
- The New Grove dictionary of music and musicians. 2nd. ed. Edited by Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan, 2001.
Short to long signed articles including information on historical composers. Articles include lists of works and bibliography.
- WCC REF ML390 .E815 1982
- Ewen, David. American composers : a biographical dictionary. New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, c1982.
WCC REF ML105 .B16 199
Theodore. Baker's biographical dictionary of musicians. 8th ed.
Revised by Nicolas Slonimsky.
New York : Schirmer Books , c1992.
Short articles about historical and contemporary musicians and composers, including a list of works and bibliographies.
William. Musical biography; memoirs of the lives and writings of
the most eminent musical composers and writers who have flourished in
the different countries of Europe during the last three centuries.
New York: Da Capo Press, 1971.
This set, first published in 1834, contains short articles. Use the Index to locate articles about particular composers.
Neil. A dictionary of American composers. New York : Garland
Short articles on contemporary and historical American composers.
- WCC ML385
.C7 1969 v. 1-2 (Reserve Collection at the Circulation Desk)
Milton John and David Ewen. The Milton Cross new encyclopedia of
the great composers and their music. Revised and expanded. Garden
City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1969.
Long articles on composers from the 18th century through the 1960s. Includes biographical information as well as "analytical notes" on the major works.
- WCC REF
CT100 .C8 1946-
Biography Yearbook. New York : H.W. Wilson, 1940-.
Long, signed articles on contemporary figures in all fields. Use the Cumulated Index 1940 - 1985 to see if there's an article on your composer, and which year it appeared. Use the index at the back of the 1990 Yearbook to find articles for 1986 - 1990, and the index in the back of the most recent yearbook to find articles from this decade.
Dictionary of composers. Edited by Charles Osborne. New York : Taplinger
Pub. Co., 1978, c1977.
Signed articles on historical and contemporary composers.
Kenneth. Dictionary of twentieth-century composers (1911-1973).
New York: St. Martin's Press, .
Short articles on historical composers with lists of each composer's works. Also includes good bibliographies that point out other literature on the composer in general, and to literature on individual works by the composer.
WCC REF ML100 .N48
WCC ML385 B61 1971 v. 1-2 (Reserve Collection at the Circulation Desk)
ML106.U3 B87 1984
ML105 .D53 1978
ML118 .T5 1973b
Journal and Magazine Articles
Use Academic Search Premier from EBSCO to find magazine and journal articles about your composer.
Web SitesYou may find information about your composer on the Internet, but be sure to closely evaluate any information you find to ensure its quality.
Be sure to cite all your sources, including your Internet sources, in your paper. For guidelines on citing, see the Citing Sources Page on the WCC Library website
To locate information on your composer on the Internet, begin with some of the websites listed below.
- Classical Net - Search classical.net
- Use this mini search engine to find information on your composer within the Classical.net website. This may have links to outside websites with information on your composer.
- Worldwide Internet Music Resources: Composers
- This collection
of links was put together by the Library of the Indiana University School
- Classical Composers Archive
- DW3 Classical Music Resources
- Large collection of links to classical music resources.
- From All Media Guide, this is a biographical dictionary and discography.
- Classical Music Archives
- This commercial site allows you to listen to 5 classical music tracks per day for free.
- Music History 102
- The history of Western classical music, including many articles, audio clips, and images.
- Classical Music - Biography Index
- From About.com this has several links to online biographical sources with information on composers.
- Classical Composers Archive
- Mostly useful for finding portraits of composers. Some biographical information is provided for a portion of the entries.
- Essentials of Music