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Music - NonWestern music: Database tips

"Ethnomusicology" is the study of traditional and living music from oral traditions, especially music sourced outside of the urban Western European cultures.


Please consider the macro and micro approaches to searching.

macro: the broad-brush approach appropriate to books and review articles: music + india/ indian (keywords or subjects). Don't forget to use narrower terms where discussion of a related subject can shed light on your topic: raga or hindustani (keywords or subjects, not forgetting to check the subject index to see what actual term is preferred).

micro: an approach suitable for analytical (academic) sources and in-depth reviews of recordings, where you can search in fulltext documents:  microtones/ microtonal (words in document text); tabla + tala (words in document text).

Most resources on "how to search" recommend isolating keywords. I prefer to think around and about the topic, put a boundary on what I need, and fill the space. Only then should you start listing the synonyms linked by "or" and overlapping concepts linked by "and". A good example is what makes music sound Indian. Obviously there's the melodic line, rhythmic constraint and so on, but how do you put a handle on these? If Indian music uses just intonation and microtones, then keyed, stopped and fretted instruments designed for equal temperament are unlikely to contribute much. Take care not to use the Boolean "not" unless you want to remove totally irrelevant documents from another discipline, as what you want to argue against may be included in an article discussing the pros and cons of different approachs.

National Library link

Use TROVE to discover what libraries have a particular book or journal on their shelves

Library databases

Box Hill Institute subscribes to thousands of journals and magazines.

Surprised? We have purchased the rights to access the articles online, as provided by the publishers to each host service.

See the instructions below.


EbscoHost is a host service offering a general academic file: Academic Search Premier. The Vocational Studies Complete and Australian & New Zealand Reference Center databases are also useful. You could search all of these as they have different coverage. 

The Help file on EbscoHost has many tips for advanced users.

EbscoHost also offers the intuitive "Visual search" for more interaction, but this starts with an exact phrase. 

Here's a 2-sided brochure, to fold in three.

International Index to Music Periodicals

IIMP Full Text is a good resource for music journals. When the Box Hill subscription expires you'll still be able to access it at State Library.

Music Online

Music Online lets you search for information and audio tracks in the same search. Our subscription specialises in world music.

Grove Online aka Oxford Music Online

Grove is a very important resource. It's easy to cross-search all the articles in Grove, but you may be swamped with biographies, so look out for the topics and definitions. 

Here's a folding brochure to tell you how to search Grove, and cite what you find.


Naxos streams music to your computer or iPhone. Here's a brochure you can fold in three. 

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