Skip to Main Content

Music Library Guide: Home

This guide is a central portal to all Music Library services.

Chat with the Music Library

Music Library Video Tutorials

Searching Compass
Our library catalog is actually a lot more than a catalog. It is an advanced, multi-purpose search interface packed with features you can use to save time and manage your research. This tutorial will get you up to speed on a powerful tool.

Using the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
More than a dictionary, the New Grove is the pre-eminent source of information on music in the English language. It has a number of useful features you may not be aware of. This video covers every aspect of using the New Grove in both the print version and the online version.

Navigating Collected Critical Score Editions with Grove and IPM
Ever wonder how to find the piece you are looking for in a collected critical edition of a composer's works? That's what this video is all about. Learn all of the tricks, and you'll soon be using these scholarly resources like a pro.

Field Guide to Monographs and Essay Collections
Reading a scholarly text is different from reading Harry Potter. This video talks about different kind of scholarly books: monographs and essay collections; primary, secondary, and tertiary sources. We look at different parts of these works, how to engage them more efficiently, and how to use them as a point of departure for learning more on a topic.

Introduction to Database Searching
Ever wonder how to access and get the most out of those hundreds of databases the library subscribes to? This video walks you through some of the most common database search interfaces, discussing typical features, how to use them, and things to watch for.

Using Music Research Databases
This video examines several individual databases that are particularly useful for doing music research. Picking up where "Intro to Database Searching" leaves off, you can learn where to look for what, and develop the same research chops your professors have.

Using Music Research Handbooks
Save yourself an enormous amount of time by taking advantage of the extensive bibliographic research already done for you in research handbooks. This video goes into the variations in structure and indexing you need to understand in order to get the most out of these library resources.

Introduction to Thematic Catalogs in Music
Thematic catalogs are one of the most powerful tools at our disposal for conducting music research, but they are also one of the most challenging to use. This guide is an introduction to thematic catalogs, and aims to make you more comfortable finding, navigating, and engaging them.

Introduction to RISM
RISM is the only international index to primary sources in music. This video explains the background of RISM, how it built on Robert Eitner's vision, how to use its online search interface to locate manuscripts and rare early editions of musical works.

Accessing Resources through Prospector and Interlibrary Loan 
As complete as it is, DU's library collection is only the beginning of what you have access to. Use this tutorial to learn how to discover and access library materials from around Colorado and around the world!

Searching DU's Collection

You can search Compass, our discovery interface, by clicking this link. 
This link should work even if our website is down.

You can search the statewide Prospector consortium by clicking this link.
You can place a Prospector request this way. It will also show whether a title is in our collection. 

You can search a title in Worldcat by clicking this link.
Worldcat searches libraries around the world. If you find an item in Worldcat, you can request an Interlibrary Loan using the form here.

You can search our article holdings through Google Scholar by clicking this link.
Using this link will associate your Google Scholar search with DU's subscriptions. If we have access to an article, a blue link reading "U. of Denver fulltext" will appear to the right of it.

You can see all our databases by clicking this link.
Use the three drop-down menus to select a database subject, database type, or database vendor; or use the search box to the right of the drop-down menus to search for a database by keyword.

Music Subscription Databases

NEW! Classical Scores Library
Around one million pages of printable music scores.

NEW! Vibe Archive
Archive of Vibe magazine, covering rap, hip-hop, R&B, and urban youth culture.

Black Music History Library
A living collection of books, articles, documentaries, series, podcasts and more about the Black origins of traditional and popular music dating from the 18th century to present day.

Index to Printed Music
Indexes the contents of standard critical score collections, composers' collected works, and "monumental" editions such as Musica Britannica.

Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale, the most comprehensive international bibliography of scholarly literature on music, including not only journal articles but also books, dissertations, and other material. Not a full-text database, but an index of abstracts. Use Article Linker, Summon, or the library catalog to locate items indexed, or ask a librarian for help.

Music Index
The primary index of the music periodical literature, covering both scholarly and non-scholarly publications. Use Article Linker, Summon, or the library catalog to locate items indexed, or ask a librarian for help.

Music Periodicals Database
Formerly known as IIMP, or International Index of Music Periodicals, this resource provides indexing and abstracting of about 425 music journals, with full-text access to about 140 journals. For articles without full-text availability, use Article Linker or the library catalog to locate items indexed, or ask a librarian for help.

Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals (RIPM)
A highly-annotated international index of 223 music periodicals covering the period from 1760-1966 (the year of the founding of RILM). Limited abstracting, but informative details about the journals indexed. Use Article Linker or the library catalog to locate articles indexed, or ask a librarian for help.

Academic Search Complete
A large, interdisciplinary aggregated database with scholarly literature from many fields.

ProQuest Central
Another large, interdisciplinary aggregated database with scholarly literature from many fields.

A large repository of scholarly content with backfiles of over 2,000 journals. One the first projects of its kind, it first went online in 1995.

ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, formerly Dissertation Abstracts International, a large repository of unpublished research and scholarship. The official digital dissertations archive for the Library of Congress and the database of record for graduate research. Dissertations and theses are especially useful for their bibliographies and literature reviews, and often represent the cutting edge of scholarship in a particular topic. 

Music E-Reference

Oxford Music Online
Formerly Grove Music Online, this resource now offers electronic access to the full content of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, The Oxford Dictionary of Music, The Oxford Companion to Music, and The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, plus articles from The New Grove Dictionary of Opera and The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. Access limited to 5 simultaneous users; please log out when finished.

Garland Encyclopedia of World Music
Online access to the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, a comprehensive reference resource of in-depth essays on music cultures around the world.

Oxford History of Western Music
Richard Taruskin's monumental Oxford History of Western Music, in interactive digital format. Contains the full text, all images, and all musical examples from the print edition. Access limited to 2 simultaneous users; please log out when finished.

Harvard Dictionary of Music
Online, interactive access to the full text of the Harvard Dictionary of Music. Part of the Credo Reference Collection.

New Penguin Dictionary of Music
Online, interactive access to the full text of the New Penguin Dictionary of Music. Part of the Credo Reference Collection.

Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990
Online, interactive access to the full text of Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. Part of the Gale Virtual Reference Collection.

Credo Reference
A large general collection of scholarly reference e-books with many useful interactive features. Search across the complete collection with a single interface.

Oxford Reference
Another general collection of scholarly reference e-books, including titles like The Grove Dictionary of American Music, The Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, The Oxford Encyclopaedia of the Music of India, and The Oxford Companion to the American Musical. Access limited to 5 simultaneous users; please log out when finished.

Gale eBooks
Another major, easy-to search collection of scholarly reference e-books.

IPA Source
A searchable online database with literal translations and International Phonetic Alphabet transcriptions of more than 12,000 aria and song texts.

Finding Leadsheets

The Music Library has the following fakebook-type volumes on permanent reserve behind the Service Desk:

  • Irving Berlin Fake Book
  • European Real Book
  • New Real Book (vols. 1-3)
  • Just Standards Real Book
    • (E-flat and B-flat)
  • Real Jazz Book
    • (E-flat and B-flat)
  • Real Jazz Classics
  • Standards Real Book
  • World’s Greatest Fake Book

We also have a custom-compiled index of all 10 volumes, so you can just look up a song once. Just ask at the desk for the “Real Book Index,” or consult this nifty online version: Online Real Book Index. You can contact us by email ( or chat to request electronic delivery of a PDF scan of an individual chart.

The Public Domain Song Anthology

By David Berger and Chuck Israels. A collection of 348 popular songs with modern and traditional harmonization for both study and performance. This open educational resource was curated by two leading jazz repertory experts and consists of songs in the US public domain. This anthology is the first of its kind and is free for students and performers to use, adapt, remix, and share. The songs, many of which are at risk of being forgotten, are free of copyright restrictions and are available fo download in PDF, Sibelius, or Music XML formats.

The Public Domain Christmas Jazz Fakebook

By Stephen Cox. Third revision edition. A compliation of public domain christmas music with jazz changes. Includes Concert, Bb, and Eb lead sheets. Available for download in PDF or MuseScore format.


Profile Photo
Woody Colahan
Subjects: Dance, Music, Theatre