MusRef Blog

Operas in English: A Dictionary

operas in EnglishThis two-volume dictionary by Margaret Ross Griffel, now in two volumes, was released in 2013 by the Scarecrow Press. Since all of its over 4,400 entries are devoted to opera titles originally written for an English libretto, it contains many less-famous operas that other, more general reference sources had to leave out because of space considerations. This makes it a truly unique source of information.

It is organized alphabetically by opera title. Entries provide at least some of the following information for each opera: composer, librettist, plot source, first performance information, synopsis, themes and unique characteristics, famous excerpts, score location, and bibliography. There are appendixes of composers, librettists, authors and sources, and a chronology. The second volume also includes selective bibliography and indexes of characters and names.

Margaret Ross Griffel has written a similar dictionary of operas in German, which is currently under revision for The Scarecrow Press.

Abraham Myler, research assistant

Portuguese Piano Music: An Introduction and Annotated Bibliography

portugueseClassical musicians rarely perform, or even learn much about, Portuguese music. With this research guide, Nancy Lee Harper opens this world up to pianists. Performers on all instruments can also use this guide to discover new composers.

Harper includes compositions by and printed materials about major and minor Portuguese composers of music for the piano, along with known works. Entries range from the 18th century to 2010. The guide is organized by time period, within which composers are listed alphabetically. Composer entries provide a list of known works grouped by type under Solo Piano, Chamber Music, Four Hands, etc. Biographical information provided in some entries.

Abraham Myler, research assistant, and Kiersten Favero

Art Song in the United States, 1759-2011: An Annotated Bibliography

art songThis repertoire guide is especially for performers who are interested in broadening their knowledge and repertoire of American art songs. It includes art songs composed between 1759 and 2011 by American composers, or composers who immigrated before age thirty-three and either naturalized or participated enough in American culture to be adopted as Americans. Carman excludes most concert and operatic arias, songs composed for occasional use (such as church solos), and folk song settings. Piano reductions of larger orchestral or chamber accompaniments are included selectively. Some songs from previous editions have been removed from the fourth edition (2013) due to dated texts or various musical considerations.

Entries are arranged alphabetically by the composer’s last name, then by song title. Each entry provides the poet’s name, publisher, publishing date, date of composition if known, key, vocal range, tessitura, meter(s), tempo, length, difficulty level, voice type, mood, difficulties in the voice part, difficulties in the piano part, and possible uses of the song. A separate section, containing songs by American composers in foreign languages, follows the main bibliography. These are alphabetized first by language, then by composer last name, then by song title.

The volume also includes a discography, a chronological list of composers, and a list of the publishers represented. It is indexed by composer, poet, title, special characteristics, and subject.

Abraham Myler, research assistant, and Shawn Mikkelson

Baila! A Bibliographic Guide to Afro-Latin Dance Musics from Mambo to Salsa

bailaThis bibliography is an extensive guide to available resources on Latin dance music. Prepared by John Gray, it assists researchers and students in identifying books, dissertations, articles, and other information related to Latin dance music.

The Author includes sources of information about the Latin dance music that could be verified, either physically or through a library catalog, and that he deems to have potential use for researchers. These include books, book sections, dissertations, articles in journals, scores, newspaper articles, video recordings, and other resources. The works cited range from 1930 to 2011. Coverage is global and includes works in several languages, with an emphasis on materials in English, Spanish, and French.

The book is organized into five sections: General Works, Musical Instruments, Genre Studies, Regional Studies, and Biographical and Critical Studies. The entries in each of these sections are grouped according to resource type (book, book section, article, etc.) and listed alphabetically by name. Each entry is numbered and includes a full citation based on a modified MARC format. Gray also provides annotations for some entries.A list of sources consulted and a survey of important libraries and archives follows the main bibliography.

Two appendixes follow these lists. The first shows artists alphabetically by idiom/occupation. The second is organized alphabetically by country name, and lists individuals and ensembles alphabetically within each country subheading. The book concludes with subject and author indexes.

Abraham Myler, research assistant, and Chris Downard

Arias, Ensembles, and Choruses: An Excerpt Finder for Orchestras

arias ensembles and chorusesJohn Yaffé and David Daniels’ cooperative installment in The Scarecrow Press’ Music Finders series assists orchestras, opera companies, conductors, and orchestral librarians in locating specific editions of vocal-orchestral excerpts from operas and musicals for programming purposes. It includes more than 1,750 vocal-orchestral excerpts from more than 450 operas, operettas, musicals, and oratorios written in the western hemisphere from the Baroque through the Modern eras. The editors indicate that the criteria for inclusion in this source was based on the most commonly-performed excerpts from operas and musicals.

The main body of the work is an integrated listing of arias, ensembles, and choruses, organized alphabetically by composer’s last name. Each entry includes basic historical details about the entire work, titles of the excerpts, subtitles, voice types, keys, durations, page numbers of location within the full score and piano-vocal score, score publisher information, and instrumentation. There are four appendixes. The first and second organize the excerpts by ensemble type, while the third lists major works by language, and the fourth provides contact information for all publishers cited in the main body. It is indexed by title, and the front matter provides basic guidelines for programming a performance of operatic excerpts.

Entries include a listing of any publishers that provide the orchestral material for the specific excerpt alone, allowing conductors and companies to purchase the materials to program an excerpt from a parent work without the expense of purchasing the work as a whole.

Abraham Myler, research assistant, and Hannah Christensen

Clár amhrán Mhaigh Cuilinn – Irish Traditional Songs

9780956562814aThis catalogue of Irish traditional songs, written in the Irish language by Ciarán Ó Con Cheanainn, assists researchers or performers in finding specific Irish songs in the Irish National Folklore Collection. It includes 450 Irish songs, without including arrangements or variants of the songs.

The catalogue is divided into 14 chapters by topic: Love Songs, Funeral, Recommended Songs, Songs of Censure, Songs of the People, Songs of Animals & Birds, Fun Songs, Songs for Children, Workers’ Songs, Sailor Songs, Songs of Faith, Moral Songs, Songs about Politics, and Songs of Strife. Each chapter has categorical subsections (further dividing song topics) in which the songs are alphabetized by title and are numbered. Each entry provides song title, the first lines of each verse, the collection it is found in, the collector and the composer. There are six indexes: First Lines and Verses, Song Title, Indicated Names in Songs, Collectors, Composers, and Place of Collection.

Abraham Myler, research assistant

Orchestral Pops Music: A Handbook

orchestral popsDavid Daniel’s popular reference volume Orchestral Music: A Handbook served as the parent book for the Music Finders Series from The Scarecrow Press. This installment in the series, Orchestral Pops Music: A Handbook by Lucy Manning, is also designed as a programming resource for music directors and orchestra conductors. Currently in its second edition, it is a helpful source of repertoire information for orchestral librarians, too.

Manning includes orchestral “pops” compositions and arrangements that are currently available for purchase or hire. Organized alphabetically by composer name, entries provide composer birth and death dates, title of selection, approximate performance duration, instrumentation, different versions available, themes (dance, travel, films, Christmas, etc.), publisher, and “rental” designation. In the appendixes, works are listed by instrumentation, duration, theme, title, and publishers/sources. These extensive appendices provide valuable information for concert programming.

Abraham Myler, research assistant

Historical Dictionary of Russian Music

russian music dictionaryThis reference from The Scarecrow Press by Daniel Jaffé provides basic information concerning composers, influential historic moments, music academies, famous performance halls, and other events, figures, and items in the Russian music tradition.

Entries span the origins of Russian music until 2011 and were selected based on popularity and influence. They are arranged alphabetically, and each one provides a brief explanation or biography with essential historical information. Front matter contains a guide to acronyms and abbreviations, a chronology to provide historical context, and a bibliography. The chronology outlines major landmarks in the Russian music tradition, including political movements that factored into the style and the circumstances in which composers worked.

Abraham Myler, research assistant, and Kiersten Favero

The Capitol Records Children’s Series, 1944 to 1956: The Complete Discography

Capitol-Records-Children's-Series-300Jack Mirtle’s discography is especially helpful to collectors as a way to discover potential new acquisitions and find information about records already in their collections.

Organized chronologically by recording session date, each entry provides recording session format, date of recording, studio, location, studio time, session number, producer, artist’s name and credits, artist’s album title and credits, personnel, master number, track duration, track title, catalog numbers, known radio transcriptions, additional credits, and call numbers for associated scores available in the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University (to which Capitol Records donated their archives of music manuscripts in 1967).

Abraham Myler, research assistant.

Historical Dictionary of Jazz

jazz dictionaryThis installment in The Scarecrow Press’ Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts series includes information about Jazz from 1881 through 2011. Entries include Jazz terms, artists, groups, styles, recording labels, and more. It is arranged alphabetically and includes a bibliography and a chronology of major events.

Most entries are one paragraph long, with very few entries (“Armstrong, Louis” being one of them) covering more than a page. Written in an easy to read and engaging style, this volume can serve as informative recreational reading as well as for incidental reference use.

Abraham Myler, research assistant