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Popular Music

Library resources on rock, jazz, hip hop, videogame music, and other popular genres

Jazz and Ragtime

Jazz emerged at the outset of the 20th century as a musical style emphasizing group improvisation and an approach to rhythmic phrasing known as swing. Like other musical genres rooted in African American traditions, it derives from the blues and applies that idiom's characteristic harmonies and powerful expressiveness. Jazz was also the first popular genre to benefit from sound recording, and it still maintains its allegiance to the aural experience as a way to learn and participate in the music. Find resources on jazz, its history, and its innovators listed below. For even more resources, see the independent Jazz Research Guide.

Recommended Books

The recommended books below include print reference sources and books on a wide sampling of jazz topics. Reference sources on jazz are classified in ML 128.J3 (bibliographies) and ML 156.4.J3 (discographies). Other books can be found in biographies (especially ML 419) and in types and styles of popular music (starts ML 3506). Books are sorted by their call numbers for ease of browsing. Hover over the info icon to see a description.

Interlibrary Loan

Users are encouraged to search for items beyond University Libraries' catalog via RILM Abstracts of Music Literature and WorldCat. Materials not available in print or online may be requested through Interlibrary Loan. Please allow up to seven days for electronic delivery and up to fourteen days for delivery of physical items.