Listen and Learn: Harvard's Online Music Resources

March 17, 2009

Harvard students, faculty, and staff have online access to specialized online music listening services, several dictionaries and encyclopedias about music, and indexes to scholarly and popular articles about music. A valid Harvard ID and PIN are required to use most of these resources outside of Harvard libraries.

Online Music Listening Services

American Song: American Song has over 17,000 tracks of American roots music and pre-1960 American popular music and includes country, folk, bluegrass, Western, Native American, blues, gospel, and shape note singing. The database includes songs of the Civil Rights movement, political campaigns, Prohibition, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, antiwar protests, and more. Among the notable recording artists represented are Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Peggy Seeger, Si Kahn, Lead Belly, Sleepy LaBeef, the New Lost City Ramblers, Otis Clay, Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater, Nanci Griffith, the Lilly Brothers, and Merle Travis. Liner notes to each track and album in the database are available.

Classical Music Library: The Classical Music Library offers a broad range of classical music recordings available online. The recordings are searchable by a variety of fields, such as by composer, artist, and instrument. Tracks can be saved to individual playlists or course folders. The Classical Music Library also contains a smaller collection of jazz and world music recordings as well as music history and reference material.

Database of Recorded American Music (DRAM): DRAM has recordings of more than 7,000 compositions of American music (with liner notes, essays, bibliographies, and discographies) on important labels such as New World Records and Composers Recordings, Inc. Genres include folk, opera, Native American, jazz, nineteenth century classical, early rock, musical theater, electronic, and contemporary. It is searchable by composer, performer, date, keyword, and links to repositories for sheet music.

Naxos Music Library: Naxos Music Library provides online streaming audio access to the entire Naxos, Marco Polo, and Dacapo catalogs of recordings. The resource currently comprises 85,000 tracks, including classical music, jazz, world, folk, and Chinese music. It is searchable by composer, artist, period, year of composition, instrument, or genre. It also searches the full text of the CD liner notes and biographical information about selected composers and performers. Naxos's new releases (currently around 200 CDs per year) are continually added to the library.

Naxos Music Library - Jazz: Naxos Jazz includes over 23,000 additional tracks of music from the Fantasy jazz catalog. The collection spans the genres of jazz, blues, R&B, rock, comedy, and the Beat poetry of the 1960s. Notable historic recordings include Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Chet Baker, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, and the Modern Jazz Quartet. Soul artists like The Blackbyrds, the Staple Singers, Isaac Hayes, and Albert King are also featured. Rock artists include Little Richard, Sam Cooke, the Soul Stirrers, Lloyd Price, and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Smithsonian Global Sound: Smithsonian Global Sound is an international collection of all types of recorded sound. The tracks include folk, popular, classical world music, and nonmusical recordings such as speeches and oral histories. The collection also features a variety of natural, animal, and human sounds. Global Sound recordings have been collected from archives such as Smithsonian Folkways, the International Library of African Music, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, and the Archives and Research Center for Ethnomusicology. The collection can be searched with keywords and by geographic area, cultural group, instrument, and language.

Dictionaries and Encyclopedias: Quick Information From Scholars

Oxford Music Online: Grove Music Online is an integrated music resource that includes the full text of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (second edition), The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, and The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (second edition). The coverage is international in scope and includes articles about persons, places, organizations, and terminology associated with the study of western classical, popular, and world music. Bibliographies, lists of works, and illustrations enhance many of the articles. Key features include full-text search capabilities, sound archives and illustrations, and over 3,000 links to related sites.

Other online information sources include The Encyclopedia of Popular Music and The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Online.

Indexes of Articles in Scholarly Journals

Indexes to articles in international periodicals and scholarly journals include International Index to Music Periodicals, Music Index Online, and RILM Abstracts of Music Literature.

Indexes of Popular Articles and News

Rock's Back Pages: Rock's Back Pages has over 10,000 articles, interviews, and reviews from music writers, journalists, and critics, from the late 1950s to the present, which appear in publications such as Billboard, Cashbox, Rolling Stone, Melody Maker, and many smaller local publications. It is searchable by keyword, date, subject, publication, writer, artist, or band.

For additional news sources about music and musicians, see the library's listing of Key E-Resources by Type: News Media.