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Popular Music

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

General Resources

Databases for Reference and Research

Reference sources are designed to provide users with quick and authoritative background information on a given subject. They are the ideal place to familiarize yourself with a subject and its existing literature, although they should never be the culmination of your research process. Databases collect scholarly articles and information, and they can direct you to academic journals available from the Libraries. A complete list of databases can be found at the Libraries website. The following reference sources and research databases are all available online, although log-in might be required off-campus.

Databases for Popular Music:

Many journals can be found in multiple online databases while others are in-print at Bracken Library. Click here to search for a specific journal title, including online and physical locations. Use the filters on the left and the search bar above to narrow your results. You can also download the browser extension LibKey Nomad to eliminate paywalls you might encounter, if you find an article on Google, Wikipedia, or a publisher's website.

Classification and Call Numbers

The Music Collection at University Libraries uses Library of Congress Classification, or LCC, for organizing books and scores on the shelves. This system, maintained by the national library of the United States and utilized by libraries across the country and around the world, groups together items on similar subjects. Each item is then assigned a unique call number which combines alphabetical and numerical characters. These features are designed to make browsing library collections easier for users and librarians alike. Tip: Enter the first part of a call number into OneSearch to see all items in a given section.

Call Numbers for Popular Music:

ML 35 - 38   Festivals

ML 159 - 3785   History and criticism

ML 385 - 429   Biography

ML 410   Composers and songwriters

ML 416 - 419   Instrumentalists

ML 420   Singers

ML 421   Performing groups

ML 1800 - 2100   Dramatic music. Forms and types

ML 2054   Musicals. Revues

ML 2075   Motion picture music

ML 2080   Television music

ML 3469 - 3541   Popular music

ML 3470   General works

ML 3475 - 3505   By region or country

ML 3477 - 3481   United States

ML 3479   African American music

ML 3506 - 3541   Types and styles

ML 3506 - 3509   Jazz

ML 3520   Bluegrass music

ML 3521   Blues. Rhythm and blues

ML 3524   Country music

ML 3531   Rap and hip-hop

ML 3534   Rock music

ML 3540.7   Videogame music

ML 3790 - 3792   Music trade, including the record industry

ML 3792   Individual record companies and labels

ML 3916 - 3918   Social and political aspects of music

ML 3921   Religious aspects of music

MT 67   Composition. Popular music

MT 146   Analysis and appreciation. Popular music

Print Reference and General Works

Most reference books for popular music are located in the Music Reference section shelved in ranges 36 through 38. The recommended books below are sorted by their call numbers and include specialized dictionaries (ML102.P66), encyclopedias (also ML102.P66), bibliographies (ML128.P63), and discographies (ML156.4.P6). Specific genres, like rock and jazz, also have their own call numbers within Music Reference. Find general works on popular music in ML 3470. Hover over the info icon to see a description of the book.

Societies and Publications

Professional Organizations:

Academic Journals:

An extensive list of journals about popular music accessible through University Libraries can be found via OneSearch. Also try searching for specific genres, such as "country music," "rock music," etc.

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.