MusRef Blog

The Recorder: A Research and Information Guide

recorderThis research guide, currently in its third edition, leads scholars researching the history and use of the recorder to printed materials. Performers can also use it to find information about repertoire and techniques. It has a selection of articles, books, dissertations, and theses that are devoted entirely to the recorder, or that include significant sections that are. The authors include historical teaching material in book form, articles on the topic of transcription and arrangement, reviews of included books, and all relevant articles from a selection of important periodicals. Coverage of English-language materials is more complete than that of materials in other languages. This bibliography excludes modern methods and exercises, most articles from mass-market magazines, writings on specific transcriptions and arrangements, articles on music originally written for instruments other than the recorder, ephemeral articles, and reviews of printed music and sound recordings.

There are 27 chapters organized by topic: (1-2) General Writings; (3) Etymology, Terminology, Symbolism, and Literary References; (4-5) Periods; (6) Size Studies; (7) Art and Iconography; (8) Humor, Fantasy, and Fiction; (9-15) Instruments, Makers, Collections, Construction, and Maintenance; (16-19) Pedagogy, Performance Practice, and Technique; (20-22) Individual and Ensemble Biographies; (23) Bibliographies and Discographies; and (24-27) Repertory. Within chapters, sources are further subdivided by type, then alphabetically by author. Entries contain standard bibliographic information with annotations. There is also an appendix titled “Communications in the FoMRHI Quarterly” and an index.

Abraham Myler, research assistant

Directions in Music Cataloging

directionsThis collection of essays provides music librarians with an explanation of the origins of the modern music cataloging system, and considers the future of the system as digitization becomes increasingly prominent. It is dedicated to Arsen Ralph Papakhian, one of the most prominent music catalogers ever and a beloved mentor to many music librarians. Most essays address issues in music cataloging from the 1980s to the present. The nine independent essays are organized in three chronological sections for the past, the present, and the future of cataloging. The volume also includes an epilogue that eulogizes Arsen Ralph Papakhian, and an index.

Abraham Myler, research assistant.

William Byrd: A Guide to Research

ByrdThis second edition of this guide, released in 2006, leads scholars researching the history and music of William Byrd to printed materials. Performers can also use it to find information that will inform their interpretations of his music. It includes both a catalogue of Byrd’s works and a bibliography/discography. The term “2nd edition” may be misleading here, as the bibliography portion essentially picks up where the previous edition left off, making this 2006 release more of a second volume.

The catalogue includes all known works accepted as William Byrd’s, with supplementary lists of dubious attributions and known spurious attributions.  The bibliography and discography survey writings that were published between 1987 and 2004 and recordings released between 1995 and 2003. There are five main sections: the catalogue of works, a checklist of Byrd criticism from 1826, the annotated bibliography, the discography (by Michael Greenhalgh) and an index of the Annual Byrd Newsletter 1995-2004.

In 2012, Routledge released a third edition of this research guide.

Abraham Myler, research assistant

Music in American Life

American LifeEditor Jaqueline Edmondson states in the preface to this encyclopedia: “The intent of these volumes is to capture some of the many ways that music affects life and culture in the United States, as well as the ways American culture in all its complexities influences music.” It is most useful for high school and undergraduate students as a starting point for research projects and papers, and each entry has suggestions for further reading. There are about five hundred entries, which average two to three thousand words each. They cover a wide range of topics, including musicians, places, events, instruments, and more. The organization is alphabetical, and the whole encyclopedia is well indexed. The authors have also included a selected general bibliography and discography, and a list of informative web sites for further reading.

Abraham Myler, research assistant

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