Reference Materials

Use these to get an overview of your topic or to find definitions of key terms and concepts:

Databases for Finding Journal Articles:

RILM Abstracts of Music Literature
Extensive bibliography which covers all types and aspects of music. In addition to thousands of journal articles, it covers a variety of other publication and media types including books, conference proceedings, dissertations, Festschriften, reviews, and more.

Music Index Online
Provides citations to articles in over 670 journals on topics such as history of music, forms and types of music (including popular music), history of musical instruments, including computer produced music. Also included are book reviews, record reviews, first performances, and obituaries.

Google Scholar
Provides a multidisciplinary search for scholarly literature. Indexes peer reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, universities and other scholarly organizations.

Provides access to the complete archives of major journals in a variety of subjects. JSTOR is a "moving wall" archive: newer years are added as publishers allow. For example, one journal may cover everything up to 3 years ago, while another may cover everything up to 5 years ago.

Databases for Popular Literature

Rock's Backpages
The biggest online database of rock music writing in the world. Sourced from the pages of the music and mainstream press, it is a massive library of articles (reviews, interviews, features and more) from the early 1960s right up to the present day.

Databases for Theses and Dissertations

Doctoral Dissertations in Musicology
International database of bibliographic records for completed dissertations and new dissertation topics in the fields of musicology, music theory, and ethnomusicology.

Carleton's Institutional Repository. Includes work on "Music and Culture."

Dissertations and Theses Global
ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global is a comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses from around the world, spanning from 1743 to the present. PQDT Global includes theses from Great Britain and Ireland.

Dissertations and Theses@Carleton
Contains citations & abstracts for Carleton University Master’s and PhD theses as well as the full-text for theses. (Full text from 1997 onwards.)

Print Scores

To search for scores in our library catalogue, limit the material type to "Music Scores."

Databases for Scores and Sheet Music

Music Online: Classical Scores Library
Collection of classical scores from both in-copyright and public domain editions. The major composers output is represented, as well as many lesser known composers and works. Content in the database includes in-copyright material from Boosey and Hawkes and selected material from the University Music Editions microfilm series.

IMSLP stands for International Music Score Library Project and it started in February 16, 2006.  Users can exchange musical ideas through the site, submit their own compositions, or listen to other people's composition, which makes it an ever-growing musical community.

Online Collections of Scores and Sheet Music

19th Century American Sheet Music Digitization Project
Includes approximately 3,500 popular vocal and instrumental titles from the 1830s to the end of the century. This site contains catalog descriptions and digital images of the individual pieces in the collection.

19th Century California Sheet Music
A virtual library of roughly 2,700 pieces of sheet music published in California between 1852 and 1900.

African American Sheet Music
The sheet music, primarily vocal music of American imprint, dates from the 18th century to the present day, with the largest concentration of titles in the period 1840-1950.

Art Song Central
An archive and directory of free, printable sheet music for singers and voice teachers. An emphasis is placed on standard classical and traditional repertoire.

Chopin Early Editions
includes over 400 first and early printed editions of musical compositions by Frédéric Chopin, maintained in the Special Collections Research Center.

Databases for Streaming Music

Naxos Music Library
Comprehensive collection of music: over 8, 800 titles, 30, 000+ tracks, and works by close to 7, 000 composers.

Music Online: Classical Music Library
Includes around 20,000 tracks, along with program notes, composer biographies, and images cross-referenced to the recordings.

Music in the Library Collection

The library holds a large collection of vinyl and CDs. They are housed in the Jacob Siskind Music Resource Centre. Because the collection is shelved in a way that does not make it particularly easy for browsing, it's best to find the CD you are looking for in the Library Catalogue.

  • In the library catalogue, limit your search under "Material type" to "Sound Recordings"

For more help with searching the catalogue for music, consult the Searching for Music Guide.


Naxos Video Library

Streaming video library of classical music performances, opera, ballet, live concerts and documentaries from prestigious performing arts labels such as Arthaus Musik, Dacapo, Dynamic, EuroArts, Hänssler Classic, Medici Arts, Naxos, Opus Arte and TDK.

The National Film Board of Canada
The NFB has a great collection of music documentaries and music related films.

A streaming service that provides a platform for educational video products covering a wide range of subjects, from arts, humanities, health, business, education, and more.

Content last updated: November 4, 2020