MusRef Bibliographies

MusRef Bibliographies is a series of in-depth compilations of research devoted to narrowly defined music topics that are not covered elsewhere. Generally each bibliography consists of about 100 sources, though some are more extensive. They are intended to represent an exhaustive search for secondary literature related to the subject. They are not limited by date or language. Most reviews, however, are excluded. Whenever possible each citation has been verified with the source in hand. Unverified sources are included and identified as such. Wherever possible each citation includes a descriptive annotation. Most annotations are the result of the compiler’s own assessment of the source, but in some cases where the document could not be accessed or if the title is in a language that the compiler cannot read, annotation information may have been adapted from RILM Abstracts or the source’s own abstract. When the annotation is derived from another source, it is indicated at the end in parentheses.

Subjects treated in the series are varied. They range from research on a composer’s life and works to narrowly defined pedagogical topics and specialize historical perspectives on music. To see the current offerings click on MusRef Bibliographies in the menu above. New submissions are welcome from every interested party. There is no requirement to be associated with Brigham Young University, the host institution of the site. Submissions may be subject to editorial review and revision before posting. To submit a proposal contact David Day at

Répertoire des Arts du Spectacle

Répertoire des Arts du Spectacle is an extensive index to archival collections that relate to musical theater found in numerous regional libraries and archives throughout France. In most cases the information provided consists of basic bibliographic descriptions, but in some cases, select images of documents are included. Music related topics covered include the following: arts de la rue, ballet, cabaret, café-concert, café-théâtre, chanson, cirque, comédie musicale, commedia dell’arte, danse, marionnette, mime, music-hall, musique, opéra, opérette, prestidigitation (magic), théâtre, théâtre audiovisuel, théâtre d’ombres, théâtre lyrique, théâtre musical, théâtre radiophonique, variétés. The index can be browsed by either topic (domaine) or location (les régions). An advanced search interface is also provided in which the user can limit a search to specific keywords, the names of institutions and fonds, the broad topics or domaine, names of persons, the types of documents, the historic era, date, and subject terms.

When browsing by topic the results for each heading appear as a list. When an entry includes images there is a picture icon in the left column. 

The browse by region option results in a map of France divided by region. Clicking on a specific region will return a list of all the archival collections located in that area sorted by city.

The kinds of documents found in the fonds indexed include: handwritten or printed annotated documents (including scores), sound and audiovisual recordings, iconographic documents, works of art, scenic elements, costumes and stage props. The full display for entries provides a brief description of the archive, key bibliographic data, the location and contact information for the host institution, and links to other related collections.

The creation of Répertoire des Arts du Spectacles dates from 1997 and is a joint effort of the Ministère de la culture et de la communication, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, and the Centre national du théâtre.


Klassika is an online music encyclopedia focused on composers and their works. As a music reference source, it might best be described as an extensive guide to the works of both major and less well-known composers in the Western classical tradition. As such, it shows some of the inherent lack of diversity associated with many sources dealing with the “canon” of classical music. It is fair to note that site manager welcomes additional information where entries are incomplete or missing.  The aim is to provide complete works lists for each composer with links to corresponding commercially available recordings and scores. It shares some similarities with MusicBrainz, a site that is perhaps more familiar to music librarians in North America. Klassika currently lists 6,458 composers and 116,100 works.

Entries for each composer consist of essential biographical dates and places, a catalog of works, links to authority records (usually from the Deutsche National Bibliotheck and the Library of Congress) and wikipedia articles (in various languages). When present, biographical information for each composer is limited to a brief overview. The list of works is perhaps the strongest feature of the entire site. When a thematic catalog exists for a composer, that numbering system is used. The works lists can be sorted conveniently by thematic catalog number, genre, title, and date of composition. Entry details provide basic bibliographic information including variant titles, genre, and date. Whenever possible, links are also provide to recordings and scores of each work.

The recordings links connect to Passion for Music, a German vendor with extensive offerings for classical and popular music. This site is available in both a German and English interface. Passion for Music is noteworthy in its own right. Descriptions for most recordings are very detailed including all the basic bibliographic information, track lists, reviews, and photographs of both the front cover and contents cover. Each track listing usually includes a brief streaming excerpt which makes it possible to preview the music and performance. Within Passion for Music, each entry offers links to related recordings of music by the same composer and recommended recordings released by the same label. Links to commercially available scores usually connect to the German vendor Notenlager.

While there is a focus on composers and their works, the site offers much more including references to conductors (with similar biographical information and links to recordings), librettists, lyricists, genres, and music terms. The entries for conductors functions effectively as an online discography of major conductors. Klassika further provides a directory of opera house and concert hall websites and a current calendar of events. A box at the bottom of the home page provides a calendar or chronology of past music events that took place on the current date (like birthdays of composers included in the site). One special and perhaps unique feature is a guide to music related anniversaries, information not easily accessible online in such an well-organized fashion. The guide to anniversaries can be search by birth date, death date, Jubilee year, and a chronological annual overview.

Klassika also serves as a limited bibliography of thematic catalogs. It currently lists about 200 titles. For every title included in the bibliography links lead to a complete listing by thematic catalog number. These lists effectively interface with the biographical entries for each composer.

A final note: Klassika offers its own monthly recommendations for new CDs

The site is well-maintained and there appear to be no dead links. This site is offered in German, but do not ignore it if you cannot read German. offer good, workable translations, and if you install the DeepL client on your computer, simply repeating the copy command twice will copy your selection and open it in DeepL for an immediate and useable translation.

This site is offered in German, but do not ignore it if you cannot read German. offers good copy and paste translation. If you install the DeepL client on your computer, simply repeating the copy command twice will copy your selection and open it in DeepL for an immediate and useable translation.

ENCCRE : Édition Numérique Collaborative et CRitique de l’Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers (1751-1772)

Originally launched in 2017, this remarkable project continues to grow in depth and substance. This collaborative and critical edition of the Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire consists of a fully digitized and searchable version of the original text and images supplemented with extensive critical commentaries. A team of more than 120 research from all walks of life aim to enrich research on the Enlightenment in a manner that Diderot himself advocated.

A summary of the project offered on the website highlights nine key objectives:

1. A first original and complete copy
2. Editorial enhancement of the original work
3. Easy navigation through the volumes of plates
4. Exploring the Encyclopedia’s network of links
5. A detailed description of the contents of the book
6. Access by nomenclature, by contributor and by domain
7. An advanced search engine, adapted to the Encyclopedia
8. A lighting of the work on several scales
9. A collaborative, dynamic, long-term oriented edition

As a primary source for numerous detailed aspects of music, the Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire offers a wealth of information concerning instruments, genres, terminology, and style valuable for research on the history of music during the Enlightenment.

Music research is greatly facilitated by “dossiers” and “domains” that help guide the researcher through the vast content of all 28 volumes. As an example of a dossier, see Christophe d’Alessandro’s concordance of information related to the clavichord, which brings together associated articles and related modern research. To explore domains for topics such as musique, danse, or opéra, navigate to the “documentation” page and then click on the pink button “Domaines.” From the drop-down menu that appears select a topic of your choice. A pop-up screen will then help you navigate all of the articles and plates related to your topic. Links take you to the full text transcription and the digital facsimile of the article. The transcription of each article also offers links to other related texts. It is also possible to search by contributor, for example, click on the blue tab “Contributeurs” and select Jean Jacques Rousseau.

To help fully appreciate the wealth of information now accessible through this digital edition, a booklet offering information on how to maximize its research opportunities titled OSER l’Encyclopédie. Un combat des Lumières is available as a free PDF download online. Also worth noting is Édith Weber’s brief review of the booklet.

BANQ Digital Resources for Music Research

The Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec offers a valuable selection of digital music resources that might be easily overlooked. It’s materials are not part of larger aggregates like the Internet Archive or Gallica. The catalog offers both materials that are part of the public domain and documents that can be accessed with an annual fee. At present the collection of free digital scores totals about 2,050 tiles, with a focus on French vocal sheet music and French opera vocal scores. The collection of digital audio files offers about 1,400 works, again with a focus on French vocal music. Public domain offerings also include a modest selection of opera librettos and several musical revues. Collectively these resource enable an interesting research perspective of opera and its related popular vocal music in Québec in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

RetroNews available for free during Covid-19 crisis

RetroNews is not normally included in MusRef because it is a “pay for” resource. In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, it is temporarily available for free during a two-week period. For those who are not familiar with RetroNews, it is a site developed by the Bibliothèque nationale de France that offers full text searching for about 600 historical newspapers dating from 1631 to 1950. “In addition to the resources available on Gallica, RetroNews is a digital archive consultation space, a research tool, and a magazine for all those interested in discovering history through press archives. The press archives come either from collections available in Gallica or from collections digitized by BnF-Partners. In all cases, the newspapers are indexed in Gallica: if a result is returned by the Gallica search engine, the complete fascicle can be viewed free of charge on RetroNews. RetroNews also offers advanced search tools specific to press collections and additional editorial content (articles, long formats, video, audio, etc.) for discovering the story through the press: access to these additional services is [normally] by subscription.”

Swiss Music Journals at

A growing number of historic and current music journals can be found at large aggregate sites devoted to publishing journals online. Some of these sites are nationally oriented and cover a wide variety of disciplines. Others may be sponsored by an institution, including universities and conservatories. Some of these aggregates which I monitor and use to identify electronic journals for MusRef include,, iremus.cnrs, and

This post will draw attention to e-periodica, a Swiss effort to make a wide variety of publications available for free online. The music offerings include publications dating from the early 20th century to the recent past. Some of these publications are useful as historic primary sources, while others offer relatively recent musicological research. The e-periodica site is careful to document the history and evolution of periodical titles over time. For example, the information page for the Schweizer Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft outlines the history of the periodical dating back to the Mitteilungen that first appeared in 1934. The information page also provides a link to the current sponsoring organization for the journal.

The music journals currently offered in and indexed in MusRef can be found at this link. As a side note, the journal for modern music Dissonance is currently available at a separate website, but the current site indicates back issues of Dissonance will soon be accessible at

JSCM Instrumenta

The Society for Seventeenth-Century Music maintains an active website useful for both musicologists and music librarians ( In addition to current information about the organization and its membership, the site offers links to the society’s free online journal ( and an interesting series of bibliographic publications collectively titled JSCM Instrumenta. The series currently consists of five noteworthy publications, resources that might not be well-known among music librarians.

Volume 1 : Chambonnières: A Thematic Catalogue, compiled by Bruce Gustafson
Volume 2 : A Catalogue of Motets, Mass, Office, and Holy Week Music Printed in Italy, 1516–1770, compiled by Jeffrey Kurtzman and Anne Schnoebelen
Volume 3 : Thematic Catalogue of Chamber Cantatas by Marc’Antonio Pasqualini, compiled by Margaret Murata
Volume 4 : A Thematic Locator for the Works of Jean-Baptiste Lully, compiled by Bruce Gustafson with Matthew Leshinskie
Volume 5 : Worship Culture in a Lutheran Court Chapel: Sacred Music, Chorales, and Liturgical Practices at the Dresden Court, ca. 1650–1680, compiled by Mary E. Frandsen

The left sidebar displays the contents of each source with links to separate sections displayed online in a PDF format chapter by chapter. Individual resources are described separately and also presented as links to PDF pages. These resources are mostly recent publications and volumes 1 and 2 were updated in late 2019 and January 2020. All are indexed and accessible through MusRef here

Les musiques du cinéma français

Lacombe, Alain, and Francois Porcile. Les musiques du cinéma Français. Paris: Bordas, 1995.

An important history of French cinematic music from 1895 to 1990. The first portion consists mostly of brief biographical sketches for key composers placed in their historical context and written by Lecombe. This biographical history is followed by a sixty-page listing of films by the same composers (alphabetical by last name, then chronologically by film). The listing is international and not strictly limited to French productions. A third section consists of a collection of essays on various topics related to French film music subtitled “Une esthétique des contraires et des contraintes” (An aesthetics of opposites and constraints) written by François Porcile. The book includes numerous photographs in black and white. It includes two indexes, one for composers and performers, and a second for film titles.

For a review see Diapason: Le magazine de la musique classique, no. 421 (November 1995): 24.

For related reference sources in MusRef click here.