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Music - NonWestern music: General information

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


Box Hill's "databases" include streamed audio, directories of information, and very large collections of journal articles, sourced from "database providers" who have contracts with the publishers. If you search the individual databases from the "Library databases" link on StudentWeb, you are exposed to many advanced searching options. The E-Journal portal  through the "online journals and books" link on the Unicorn library catalogue is not fully comprehensive, eg it covers Ethnomusicology Forum but not Ethnomusicology.

Please click on a title below, if you wish to use that database.


Oxford Music Onlne

The Oxford Music sources include the iconic online Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians



Naxos provides streamed audio. The recordings available are mostly classical, but there are also some world and jazz recordings in this file. Choose the lowest quality, as the Box Hill network does not have enough bandwidth for CD quality.


Naxos Jazz

Naxos Jazz provides streamed audio of jazz recordings. Again, please choose the lowest quality reproduction.


Music Online

Music Online is excellent for World Music. It is an integrated search interface for reference information and audio files. 



RefWorks is an easy yet powerful tool for saving and reformatting your reference citations.



RefWorks will take and store snapshots of the referencing information from the resources you find. It's quick and easy once you've had some practice.

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Performance in time and space is the essence of music. Your perception of music and your response are schooled by what you have learnt of music theory, history and aesthetics. But the performance is what is real, even if scripted by notation, and all analysis comes back to it.

To locate a recording in the library computer catalogue there are several approaches, by title, composer, performer or even (sometimes) by instrument. Always use the computer catalogue since music holdings are scattered. And loans can be renewed indefinitely so an item may have to be recalled for you - you can place a Hold from the computer catalogue.

Do you know the title of the album?

Try author. A performer, composer or group could be listed as an author (which is the personal name field, surname first, or the name of the group).

Consider the genre. Does it go by the name of a style? or a country? or a region? Try searching for these as keywords or subjects. If in doubt about the subject, "browse", and go back to the previous page or onto the next until you find what you need. It's like browsing the index at the back of a book. 

Dewey numbers are grouped by type of instrument (plucked, bowed, percussive) and ensemble so finding a number could be good, you can look at this part of the shelf. Or (better) go to powersearch in Unicorn and browse by number, once you've got one to start with. Don't forget that books may be on indefinite loan, so place a "hold" on any titles you need so they can be recalled. 

An instrument or ensemble type could be searchable by keyword if it is listed in the catalogue record.

Link to the catalogue here to try these approaches.

If you find a CD that does not have this information, please email me so we can add this information to the catalogue.

Other sources include

NAXOS recordings (Classical and World)


Music Online

Smithsonian (subscription) to October 14 2009

and iTunes.

The Web may also be a source of recorded music. Web resources include the Smithsonian Institute.

You can identify recordings using the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive.


DVDs and Videos

DVDs and Videos are alternative formats for recording performances. You will need to use "POWER SEARCH" (the link is below the basic search box) to limit to these formats. Both are given the prefix "VC" before the call number and are shelved throughout the books and music CDs depending only on the numbers.


Box Hill is currently building its score collection especially for vocal and twentieth century music. We have little or no non-Western music.

Note that all scores carry the MU prefix before the call number, and are shelved at the beginning of the 780's rather than being shelved throughout the call number range like all the other formats.

Overviews (Books)

Books are usually compiled and written by experts, while some journal articles may have been written by graduate students and early-career researchers. Some books on non-Western music include...

Myers, H. (ed.) (1993) Ethnomusicology : historical and regional studies. New York: W.W. Norton. 780.89 ETH

Nidel, R.O. (2005) World music: the basics. New York: Routledge. 780.9 NID

Wade, B.C. (2004) Thinking musically : experiencing music, expressing culture. New York: Oxford University Press. 780.8 WAD

To find more... 

Do a keyword search in Unicorn using a "wildcard" eg   music india$ retrieves Indian music, music and India, etc.

Search in Google Books then find the book in LibrariesAustralia (use your CAVAL card or request an interlibrary loan)


Journal articles

Box Hill subscribes to a number of journals and magazines. You find the print copies we hold, by searching on “periodical title” instead of “words or phrase”. (You cannot search by author or article for print copies.) All BHI print periodicals will have "PER" before the call number.

You will also find a number of online journals listed by title,  and with these you click on the  "URL" link to go to the online databases that provide them. Full-text sources online e.g. InfoTrac General OneFile are very useful. You may want to restrict your searching to peer-reviewed articles, for additional authority. Even if you can only find a citation or summary (“abstract”) e.g. much of EbscoHost Australia/ New Zealand Research Centre and Academic Search Elite, this may be useful too. You can download a form from StudentWeb and ask for a free interlibrary loan.

The goal of using journal articles is to achieve "intertextuality", where you add your voice to what has been published by others. You may compare, contrast, evaluate, agree, critique, contextualise, speculate... making sure that the authors you are referring to are named according to the Harvard style of referencing. i.e. they will be cited in the text and listed in end-notes.

Reference sources (Encyclopedias, dictionaries)

Reference sources are good when you're having trouble getting started, or need some general background.

Randal, D.M. (ed.) (1986) The new HARVARD Dictionary of Music, 2nd ed. Cambridge MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 780.3 NEW

Sadie, S. (ed.) (1981) The new GROVE Dictionary of Music & Musicians London: MacMillan. WR 780.3 GRO

wikipedia may be useful also, but you can't quote directly from it without verifying the information in the sources it quotes, or elsewhere.


Web sources

This option was left til last as you need to be very well-informed or discerning to know what is worthwhile on the Web.

If a site is new to you, please note who takes responsibility for it, who sponsors it, and when it was updated. Is the material supported by other facts you have found? You may need to refer to all of these points in your report.

if you find references to JSTOR articles on Google Scholar, remember that you can access JSTOR if you have a State Library card.

Other peoples' links!

Fran's interests

Music interests:

Fran once played cello rather badly.

Her music tastes range from medieval and baroque to contemporary chamber music, English art songs, and West Africa (Mali and Cape Verde).  


Philosophy, semiotics, gardening, and Australian writing.

SLV databases

Take out a State Library of Victoria card and access their databases for free.

A selection of their databases is listed below. If you are an SLV member already, just click on a title to use that database.


JSTOR: The Scholarly Journal Archive

Full-text digitised back issues of important journals covering all subjects from the first issue (some as early as 1700). Currency of the articles varies, with most within 1 to 5 years of the current issue.

OmniFile Full Text Mega (Wilson)

Mega! Huge full-text database covering education, science, humanities, social sciences, business and general interest. International coverage, some Australian material.

Periodicals Index Online (PCI)

Indexes humanities and social sciences journals with coverage from the 18th century to 1996. Includes journals in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish


American Film Institute Catalog 1893-1971

Great detail on US films 1893-1971, plus separate listing of AFI top ten films 2000 onwards. Advanced search option with 12 categories including cast, title, subject, year. Coverage beyond 1971 will be added in 2007.

Film & Television Literature Index

Index to film and television literature providing cover-to-cover indexing and abstracts for more than 300 publications, and selected coverage of 300 more. Designed for use by a diverse audience that includes film scholars, students, and general viewers.

Film Index International

ndexes over 100,000 films from 170 countries, with plot summaries, full-cast and crew lists, award details and more.

International Index to Music Periodicals Full Text 1874-

Index with some full-text for 83 journals, plus more than 420 international music periodicals indexed. Comprehensive coverage of music styles.

International Index to Performing Arts Full Text 1864-

Index with some full-text. Wide subject coverage: dance, film, drama, television, the arts and entertainment industry, stagecraft, magic, musical theatre and performance art.

Oxford Music Online

This music reference resource includes full text drawn from the 'Encyclopedia of Popular Music', 'Oxford Dictionary of Music', 'Grove Music Online' and 'Oxford Companion to Music'. Covers a wide range of musical styles, composers, performers, terminology, and works.

Wilson Art Abstracts 1984-

Information on arts, crafts, architecture, photography, fashion, textiles, film, television studies and more. Index coverage from 1984 and abstract coverage from January 1994.

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