Detroit: Information Coordinators, 1949–. A subject and author index to more than 600 music periodicals. International in scope, its citations cover both musicology and performance journals.
New York: RILM, 1967–. Offers abstracts of articles appearing in over 5,000 international journals, books, and dissertations and other materials in the music field. Its coverage is especially strong for music history and musicology.
http://www.classical-composers.org. Offers basic biographical information about composers, both well known and obscure, and links to information about them on the Web. Includes composers’ chronologies, news, and calendars. The list is maintained by Jos Smeets, a classical composer.
http://www.wku.edu/~smithch/music. Provides information on over 400 composers with a list of works arranged by musical genre, a geographical roster, an index of forms and styles, and a glossary of musical terms. Maintained by Charles H. Smith of Western Kentucky University.
http://www.ipl.org/div/mushist. A nicely organized chronological survey of music with images, audio files, and links to composer profiles. The author of this site is Robert Sherane, a librarian at the Juilliard School of Music; the site is part of the Internet Public Library.
Ed. Nicolas Slonimsky. 9th ed. 6 vols. New York: Schirmer, 2001. Compact biographies of composers and performers with bibliographies of works by and about them. This reference is good for a quick overview of a musician and his or her impact.
Ed. Colin Larkin. 4th ed. 10 vols. London: Muze, 2006. Offers brief entries on musicians, bands, musicals, and record labels as well as a song title index.
10 vols. New York: Garland, 1998–2002. Covers the music of peoples of the world in regional volumes that offer area profiles, social contexts for music, and in-depth information on the musical traditions of specific nations and ethnic groups. The work includes musical examples on accompanying CDs.
Ed. Stanley Sadie. 2nd ed. 29 vols. New York: Grove, 2001. The definitive source on music and music history. The articles in these volumes are carefully researched and documented and provide information on national music traditions, musical forms, composers and musicians, instruments, and more.
11 vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 1957–1990. An excellent chronological exploration of all aspects of music. Each volume covers a different musical period. Some have been published in newer editions. The final volume includes chronologies, bibliographies, and an index to the set.
Ed. Alison Latham. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Covers primarily Western classical music, offering brief entries on musicians, works, musical terms, and movements, with surveys of musical traditions in various countries.
By Michael Kennedy and Joyce Bourne. 2nd ed. rev. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. Offers brief identifications of musical terms and musicians; a handy place to find dates and other quick facts.