Music Reference

See also Composers

Topics here include: Musical Terms, Language Reference, Musical Instrument Reference, Directories, Library Directories, Music History, Sheet Music Reference, Recording Reference, Blank Manuscript Paper, Music Theory and Composition, Ear Training, Sight Reading, Rhythm, Acoustics/Physics of Brass Instruments, Music Search Engines & Web Indexes, Festivals, Miscellaneous Music Reference and Stuff

Musical Terms
Dolmetsch Music Dictionary Online Where else can you find out that "babaso" is Spanish for "moronic, slimy, slobbery" or that "Scharnierverstärkung" is German for "hinge reinforcement." No kidding, this is the place to come for any musical term you don't know. Glossary of Musical Terms

Load.CD - “Publish, sell, buy, and download sheet music, performing rights” Currently 30,870 works available as sheet music downloads online.

Practicespot Dictionary of Musical Terms - 1200 terms. Can tell you what “Ghiribizzoso” means.

Naxos Glossary of Musical Terms

Index of Common Musical Terms - one of the many features of Tom Bacon's Cyberhorn Museum web site.

Glossary of Rhythm and Meter Terms

Wikipedia Glossary of Musical Terminology - notice a term missing that should be here? Add it yourself!

British vs American Musical Terms - ever wonder what a hemidemisemiquaver was? This site has the answer.

Multimedia Music Dictionary - Gives not only definitions of musical terms, but also printed examples, as well as audio pronunciation (via Quicktime). Slick.

Pronouncing Dictionary of Music and Musicians - 111 page pdf file giving the phonetic pronunciations of musical terms and musicians.

Music Dictionary - definitions of common musical terms

Language Reference

Names of the Keys in French, German, Spanish, and Italian - useful chart, courtesy the Yale University Music Library

French Professor - is the excellent French language resource by and for Francophiles. Contains links to French-English dictionaries of all sorts, plus information and links on French lessons, culture, and movies. We are indebted to alert reader Becky Casen for calling our attention to this link.

English-German Dictionary

English-French Dictionary

English-Italian Dictionary

Multilingual translation dictionaries (English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Russian, English definitions) - from, see embedded version below:
Also available as an App for your iPhone or iTouch.

Musical Instrument Reference
Orchestral instrument ranges

Oriscus - Musical Instrument Information - resource center with links to further information all about all instruments.

An Educational Guide to Musical Instruments - A brief article aimed at a prospective beginner, plus dozens of links to all kinds of informational sites about musical instruments.


Classical Music City - A re-imagining of topics of interest to musicians as a “city” with 15 buildings, each with a theme: Music School, Opera House, Concert Hall, Library, Medical Center, Recording Studio, College Conservatory, etc. Claims to have 20,000 pages of information on many topics, plus videos, audition info, events, news, marketplace, social network, directories and more.

Links to Classical Music - a great compendium of links by the UK-based “B Sharp” - ensembles, surveys, associations, record companies, agencies, radio stations, biographies, and much more.

Classical Music Directory - excellent list of links of all kinds of classical music web sites, e.g. The Classical Buffet, Classical is Cool, Classical Live Online Radio, Classical USA, and many more. This is one category from the parent web site (one of many genres that include bands, blogs, blues, electronic, jazz, and many more).

Directory of Orchestras and Opera Houses - Musical Chairs is a terrific international web site for musicians loaded with all kinds of information, including this admirable compilation of links to a large number of the orchestras in the U.S.; it includes links to the lists of players. Lists for other countries available here.

List of musical societies, educational and national organizations (Naxos)

Google Web Directory: Music; subdirectory for horn

Classical Music Directory. A mother lode of links. A few categories: music schools, music education, museums, journals, musicology/history, music theory, music therapy, competitions and festivals, orchestras in the US, chamber orchestras, youth orchestras, musicians, musicians and injuries, and much more. - "International Directory of Classical Performers" [commercial site]

Musical Online - Classical Music Directory (categorized links); many categories!

Library Directories
Symphony Orchestra Library Center - links to many related topics, including online music journals, organizations, music & instrument reference, music supplies & accessories, publishers & agencies, copyright & licensing, performing rights societies, music education, music libraries & research centers, lists, sources of sheet music, composers, music reference, academic music resources, dictionaries & reference, music services, audition lists and a lot more. Heckuva site.

Cecilia - “online guide to music collections in archives, libraries, and museums in the UK and Ireland”

WorldCat - "The world's largest network of library content and services." Lets you search the collections of libraries locally and around the world (10,000!). Find books, music, videos, research articles, audiobooks and other digital articles; you can review items or contribute facts. Create your own free account, lists of items you'd like to track or share with others, build bibliographies, get plug-ins for Foxfire or Facebook, even try some "planned serendipity."

Internet Resources for Music - Library of Congress. Performing Arts libraries, periodical indexes, dissertations, necrologies, opera, organizations, music industry, publishers, copyright, sheet music & databases, song lyrics.

New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
Services, collections, archives & manuscripts, links, "Performing Arts in America 1875-1923," books and research materials, newsletters, online magazines, journals & encyclopedias, downloadable books, databases, more. Very snazzy site!

New York Public Library - Best of the Web: Music
A sampling: Indexes of internet music resources; copyright; electronic journals; music libraries and archives; music licensing; music publishing; opera resources; necrology (birth/death dates); organizations & societies; sheet music; song indexes; song lyrics & opera librettos; other.

LibrarySpot: Music
8 categories of internet offerings: 1. Internet Music Resources (Indiana U) 2. Classical Composer bios 3. Red Hot Jazz Archive 4. NY Public Library Music links 5. Classical Music Archives (7300+ midi files) 6. Alternative Music Press (800 reviews) 7. All-Music Guide (database of recorded music) 8. Essentials of music

Music History

Timeline of Music Events - a Wikipedia timeline list. Very detailed in recent history; less so pre-1700. Check it out.

Music Timeline - Intriguing graph of recent (since 1950) music history by Google. No classical here; everything else: jazz, folk, pop, rock, country, etc. Put the cursor on a genre and album covers from it pop up below. Click on a genre and you get a new graph of sub genres. Click on those to go yet deeper. Each time a grid of related album covers appears below. Check out this article on it: “Google Charts the History of Modern Music”

Piero Scaruffi's History of Avantgarde Music - Concrete, Dadaism, Post-Chamber, Electronic, Minimalism, World Music, Ambient, New Age, Post Jazz

A Brief History of Classical Music (Naxos)

The Open University has a number of links on music history, including the history of popular song, Library of Congress resources, and more.

The Music Antiquarian Blog - “The musings of a classical music autograph dealer with an emphasis on historical composers, musicians, opera singers, and ballet dancers; with a good bit of opinion of the World of classical music and opera today…” Has some great photos and engravings.

Harmoniemusik and the Classical Wind Band

Naxos [concise] History of Classical Music - includes recommended listening

Music History 102 - a guide to Western composers and their music from the Middle Ages to the present

Music History (by era) links (+ instruments + composers) (last updated 2003)

Music and History - “A chronological view of western music history in the context of world events” [thanks to Alyssa Collins and her girl scouts for the link]

Timeline of Classical Music

Sheet Music Reference
American Sheet Music (Library of Congress) - 15,000 works 1820-1860; 47,000 1870-1885.

Colin Coleman Music - a commercial site, specializing in antiquarian music, manuscripts, 2nd hand sheet music, out of print music, letters, musical engravings, programs, and more.

Free Tunebooks - Lark in the Morning is a terrific store that sells world music and historical copy instruments of all types. They also offer links to a number of tune books (collections of folk music) - pdf files that you can print out.

Sheet Music Archive - enormous list (with links) by WIMA (Werner Icking Music Archive) of sites offering free (pdf) music files.

Digital Scores and Libretti - Harvard University. Full color digitized first- and early edition scores from the 18th and early 19th centuries by JS Bach, Mozart, Schubert, and others, plus opera scores, 2nd Viennese school and others.

Recordings Reference
Database of Recorded American Music - A remarkable audio collection online of American music, mostly compositions and composers that you won’t find on major labels. Go ‘beachcombing’ through the offerings to discover some wonderful though lesser-known works and composers. Available only through a university computer; access from the Music Library web page.

DRAM - "A scholarly resource of recordings, including CD quality audio, liner notes and essays from New World, Composers Recordings" and other labels (e.g. Albany, Artifact, Deep Listening, Frog Peak, Innova, XI, Mutable, et al.).

Classical Music Used in Films - Did you know that Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik was used in both Ace Ventura movies, also in Alien, Batman, Daddy Day Care and many others? Naxos has the answers, listing a huge numbers of films with the classical pieces used in the soundtrack.


Internet Archive - digital library of free books, movies, audio recordings (880,973 recordings and 92,211 live concerts at last count).

SoundCloud - A quick, easy, and free way to post your recordings so that friends, relatives, and, well, anyone with internet access can hear them.


Blank Manuscript Paper

Blank Music Manuscript Paper - Free! - Single line (10 lines/page), Double line (piano or duet - 10 lines). Or make your own to print out from's Staff Paper Generator.

Music Paper - many types of blank music paper, courtesy of Microsoft Office.

Free Blank Sheet Music [manscript paper] - lots of downloadable pdf templates, e.g. 8 stave, 8 stave with treble clef, 10-12-20 stave, piano or instrumental duo 12 stave, more. Available in both A4 and US Letter paper sizes.

Another great source of blank music manuscript paper in many formats can be found here, courtesy of Brian Blood and Dolmetsch Online, with links to other sources at the University of Virginia and

Free printable music staff paper - courtesy of Linkware Graphics. 10 and 12 staves.

Free downloadable
10 stave, no-clef music manuscript paper as a pdf file by

Practicespot - Manuscript Paper - 8 styles, beginning with 13 line clefless.

Music Manuscript Paper - free. This web site allows you to quickly and easily print blank manuscript paper of many formats; customizable. Includes links to free sheet music downloads.

Music Theory & Composition

Beginner's Course in Music Theory - from 46 lessons on the fundamentals of music theory.

Teoría - Music Theory Web. - tutorials, exercises, reference, articles about music theory. Requires Adobe Flash Player. - "Provides online tools for teachers and students of basic music theory."

Theory on the Web - Robert J. Frank's comprehensive site on I. Fundamentals II. Harmony III. Part Writing IV. Chromatic Harmony, + Appendix, which includes Blank Staff Paper that you can print out.

Those interested in jazz theory and history would do well to check out
A Passion for Jazz, a comprehensive source of jazz information of all kinds by D. C. DowDell.

Dolmetsch Music Publisher's Music Theory and History Online - This link is to the contents page; theory has 34 sections, all very detailed and comprehensive. Sample headings: 1. Staff, Clefs & Pitch Notation 2S [supplement]: links about Music Notation; 17. Chords in Detail 17S 1000+ scales; 26. Score Formats; 27. Pitch, Temperament & Timbre; 29. Instrument Ranges & Names; 32. Words & Music 33. Counterpoint 34. Drums & Drumming. Music History is sections 35-40, taking music century by century. Every section in both contains bibliographies and links to references. Most are quite lengthy.

Dolmetsch Music Publisher's Composition and Orchestration is a continuation of the Dolmetsch Music Publisher's Music Theory and History Online [scroll down], sections 41-44. 41: Practical Guide to Composition; 42: Artistic Composition; 43: Ear Tests and Drills 44: Jazz Improvisation by Marc Sabatella, downloadable music manuscript paper, and more.

Ricci Adams'
Not to be outdone by Brian Blood's Dolmetsch entries, Ricci Adams has constructed a very elegant and content-rich site on music theory with three main categories: Lessons (scales, chords, intervals, composing, etc.), Trainers (aural training), and Utilities (Chord Calculator, Staff Paper Generator, and Matrix Generator). For lagniappe, the entire site has been packaged for downloading (4.9MB)!


AAA State of Play - contains many links to basic music and music theory elements like staff, clefs, ledger lines, rests, accidentals, meters, key signatures, chords and chord progressions and more. 

Ear Training - free ear training software + articles - to improve your musical ear

Good Ear - Ear training web site.

Theta Music Trainer - solves the problem of dry, academic learning of learning music theory and ear training through the use of musical games. Instead of monotonous drills, games are fun and thus self-motivating. Designed for all levels, these games train the user in melody, harmony, rhythm, and sound, and can be used by all levels of musicians and/or music students; master one level and you move up to a more challenging level.

Easy Ear Training - a UK based music software and iPhone music training app development company. The iPhone/iTouch app is called “Relative Pitch”. The site features articles on ear training, rhythm, warm-ups, plus forums, and a great set of links.

Blind Listening Tests - Tests on hearing small differences in pitch and sound level, dynamic range, perfect pitch and more.

Sight Reading

Practicespot Sightreading Genie - 4 levels

Practice Sight Reading - Free: create your own rhythms for sight-reading - set time signature, # of measures, difficulty level. You can listen to what it’s supposed to sound like. To add melody to the rhythms there is Deluxe Membership for $. Many options for customization. 2 week free trial.


Metronome Online - Just what it says, plus an A-440 tone for tuning. Have a look as well at the "Free Interactive Online Metronome" of, which offers "metronome tick, pop beat, swing beat, rock beat, samba beat, and if you want to invent your own, they have a Riff Generator that you can use.

Online Metronome - Slick online metronome by Seventh String Software. Also downloadable as a zip file.

Online Tuner - Slick online tuner by Seventh String Software. Also downloadable as a zip file.

Practicespot Rhythm Machine -

Practicespot Rhythm Gym - 21 rhythm challenge exercises of progressive difficulty. Can be listened to as a midi file and printed out as a pdf file.

Acoustics/Physics of Brass Instruments
Acoustics of Brass Instruments

Brass Instruments - physics

Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics - book by Arthur Benade

Horns, Strings, and Harmony by Arthur Benade

The Physics of Musical Instruments (book)

How Brass Instruments are Built: Art, Craft, Perhaps Even Science - paper by Robert W. Pyle, Jr. Nice color photos of the process.

Brass Instrument Acoustics: An Introduction - good article by Prof. Joe Wolfe with many graphics. See also FAQ in musical acoustics and excellent set of links.

Broadband Expert - links to a variety of computer music resources, including acoustics, psychoacoustics, additive synthesis and sampling, computer music, signal processing, MIDI, music languages, wavelets, organizations, and computer music links. (A tip of the hat for this link to alert reader Sarah Golding)

The Physics of Inner Brass and the Acoustical Effects of Various Materials and Their Treatments - by Ren Schilke

Computer Music Resources

Computer Music Resources on the Internet - includes links to sites on Acoustics, Psychoacoustics, and Music Perception, Additive Synthesis and Sampling, Compoistion with Computers, History of Electro-Acoustic and Computer Music, Digital Signal Processing, MIDI, Music Languages, Wavelets, Organizations, and Computer Music Links [a tip of the hat for this link to Nat Harris at Bear Mountain Schools and Scott, who gave it to her]

Music Search Engines & Web Indexes
Music Web Hunter - "A guide to the major search engines and music sources on the internet"

Classical Music - "A Comprehensive Web Index". Very thorough New Zealand web site.

Fest 300 - The World's Best [Music] Festivals 

Festivals, Competitions & Concerts - extensive list of links from

Sound Clips/Sound Effects

55 Great Websites to Download Free Sound Effects - annotated links for free sound effects (55 sites!!!)

Sound Bible - free sound effects and clips. Use in your Power Point presentations, movie editing, app design or just for fun. Listen to the Kid Laugh to start your day….

Aporee - sort of an audio Google maps. You see a street view of various locations around the world that have accompanying recordings of whatever sound is happening at that location (traffic, people talking, street musicians, fire alarms, etc.).

Freesound Project - huge database of public domain sounds of all kinds: birdsong, thunderstorms, aliens landing, coins dropping, steam whistles, sirens, gongs, spaceships, rude noises, etc. etc - audio snippets of every kind of sound effect imaginable (and some un-...).

Royalty Free Music - from Partners in Rhyme. Also: sound effects, audio software, midi files, music loops, drum loops, more.

Sound Jay - free sound effects: background sounds, clicks & beeps, human body sounds, house sounds, machine/mechanical sounds, nature sounds, more.

Royalty-Free Music, Stock Music, Sound Effects - by Shockwave-Sound - many genres available besides classical, including Corporate/Business, Chill-Out Grooves, Ambient, Urban Funk, Film Scores, Exercise/Workout, Novelty, and many more. Note that royalty-free is not the same as free - you have to purchase the tracks. Tons of very cool tracks of all kinds. Even if you don’t buy, it’s fun to play along with the online demo samples.

Miscellaneous Music References and Stuff

Writing Successful Dissertations - blog by Nancy Whichard

9 of the Strangest Musical Instruments of All Time - from cello-horn to harpitar...

Music Design Slides - Need some music-themed slides for your Power Point presentation? Try this free collection courtesy of Microsoft Office online templates. Slides for many other categories available here, e.g. Academic presentations, Holidays, Nature, People, Season, Sports, Symbols, Travel, and many more.

Helpful Music Games - links to various musical games, ear training, online metronome, tuner, and more.

Digital Grove’s Dictionary - 1911 edition on 2 CD-ROMs.

Copyright Resource Library

Music Resources for Educators - quality links in a number of categories: Music History and Time Periods, Famous Musicians, Musical Associations, Resources for Band Teachers, Resources for Vocal/Choir Teachers, Resources for Classroom Music Teachers, Sheet Music, Music in the Public Domain.

Sound/List - by Wikipedia, “an incomplete list of full-length copyleft/public domain musical works available on Wikipedia or Wikimedia Commons, with special emphasis on works that are (or should be) linked in Wikipedia articles.”

Soundsnap - Sound library of 100,000 sound effects. You can download 5 sounds per month for free; for more you need "Pro membership." Many categories of sounds; a sampling: Animals, Comics & Film FX, Industry & Machines; Music Loops; Music Samples; Nature; Science Fiction; Sound Art; Sports; Unreal Ambiances (sic). Each category has many subcategories of sounds. Formats: mp3, wav, aiff.

Fotosearch - commercial site that offers not only stock photo images but “stock audio clips” - they’re not free, but they are royalty-free (i.e. you don’t have to pay royalties to use them).

Royalty Free Music - courtesy of

Jazz Online - great place to go to listen to jazz, old time through the swing era. All public domain recordings.

Digital History - Music

NoiseAddicts - online music and audio magazine. Everything to do with audio technology.

Music Reference - courtesy of - Groves Concise Music Dictionary, composition list, discographies, music in print, concert notes, Kobbé's Opera book, NY Review of books [on classical music], profiles (of musicians], music timeline, dissertations, music encyclopedia, directories. This is a subscription site, but you can get a 2 week free trial.

QSP Music - vast list of links to music-related topics

The iVasi Network - "A community of people interested in performing classical music" [The IVASI system is a series of videos of conductors conducting standard orchestral repertoire so that a player may watch and practice excerpts in this 'virtual' orchestra setting]

The Golden Pages - Comprehensive reference links for musicians by the Royal Holloway Dept. of Music of the University of London. Offerings include bibliographical aids and links, bookshops, internet citation guides, composers' home pages, music conferences, dictonaries and encyclopedias, dissertation abstracts, online journals, libraries, news services, record shops, societies and associations, text collections online, university music departments, academic music resources, American Music Information Source Guide, American Music Resource, online digital images, British Music Information Centre, Centre for the Study of Music Performance,, International Directory of Musicians, Orchestralist, and a great deal more. Seems to have a number of dead links, but that is bound to happen with listings this vast.

Musicians' Etiquette - written for oboe players, but we could learn a thing or two...

Music With Ease - "Free music resources on classical music, opera, jazz, rock, and more." Tons of information: on composers, quotes, pictures, guide to certain concert works (e.g. The Messiah, Beethoven's 9th, etc.), opera composers, pictures, quotes, history of music in various eras, bios, jazz, rock, musical instruments, even musical games for children.

Udemy is an online tutorial services offering courses in many, many areas, from software development to business to how-to's with popular software programs to various things in the arts, including.... music. There are tutorials in many instruments (heavy on guitar...), but also music theory, audio production, composition, songwriting, and more. The courses don't seem exactly cheap at first glance, but they do seem to offer a lot of content. To pick one at random: a guitar course is $200 (like many of them), but offers 34 hours of video, 156 downloadable resources, lifetime access. The courses offer previews, so you check it out and see if it might be something for you.

Music Therapy for Children with Special Needs

Library of Congress Performing Arts Encyclopedia

Classical Almanac - pick a day (like: today. Or: your birthday); this site will list the famous composers and performers who were born or died on that date, plus important musical events that occurred on that date.

Classical Music Reference Library - by Alexander Street Press. "...More than 30,000 pages of essential reference materials... [including] Baker's Dictionary of Music, Baker's Dictionary of Musicians, Baker's Student Encyclopedia of Music... over 17,147 pages. Use is by subscription, usually through a library. See Music Online, below.

Musical America - news of artists, managers, contests, and the music industry

Public Domain Music - "music and lyrics published in 1922 or earlier are in the public domain in the United States." See also, another site with the same name.

ChoralWiki is home to the Choral Public Domain Library. Want to create a piece for horn ensemble? The quickest way to do this is to find a nice choral piece and transcribe it for horn ensemble. This is a great place to go to find public domain material to use for this.

Practiceopedia: The Complete Illustrated Guide to Mastering Music's Greatest Challenge, by Philip Johnston, author of the Practice Revolution. "A huge practice toolkit... to the greatest challenge facing any music student." The web site will give you a multimedia tour of the book. Read the review by Jeff Snedeker in the Feb. 2007 Horn Call (p. 81). - Very slick, well-organized high-end (both quality and quantity) educational web site aimed at helping you "explore music", learn about "How Music Works", "About Musicians," "Instruments and Voices," "Music in Context," "Composing and Remixing," "Create Music Yourself," with "Help and Resources." Many articles, features, photos, short audio and video examples under each of the these categories on every aspect of how music is conceived, organized, composed, performed, recorded. 40 professional British musicians talk about their instruments; check out the feature on the horn; Stephen Bell does a number of short video clip demonstrations (his horn is some kind of triple - does anyone know what kind?). Includes a Garageband-like "interactive music tool" to construct your own music online quickly (track-based; drop-and-drag samples). Resources for music students and teachers. Highly recommended.

Music Performance Research Guide: Program Notes

Repository of Music Notation Mistakes or Essay on the True Art of Music Engraving by Jean-Pierre Coulon. pdf file

American Music Center - information center for new American music.

Music Resources on the Internet
"Extensive collection of free music graphics and annotated links to music information, resources, graphics, newsgroups, discussion lists, organizations, publications, and more. Although emphasis is on classical and jazz genres, many other music genres and general music resources are listed as well." Needs updating; a fair amount of dead links.

Music Resources - courtesy of the Finnish Sibelius Academy. Many categories! A PC Magazine Top 100 Web Site (Feb. 1996). Great set of links, but beware: apparently the site has been neglected for some time - there are lots of dead links. How do you say "What a shame!" in Finnish?

The Classical Music Navigator - Quick information on composers, geographical roster (composers by country), works, styles, and forms; + glossary.

Notable Works (from the Classical Music Navigator, above): Considerable content: 1. Works for Orchestra 2. Works for Featured Instruments & Orchestra 3. Chamber Music 4. Works for Solo Player 5. Ballets, Operas & Operettas 6. Vocal/Choral Works; Electronic Music

Classical - Basic repertoire list, CD buying guide, composer's works, reviews, articles, books, scores,great set of links.

Classical Music Homepage - "The Complete Resource Online" for the UK: job listings, dictionaries, glossaries, encyclopedia, theory, analysis, instrument info, access to Grove Online (+ Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Grove Opera, Grove Jazz, Grove Art), access to 19,700 Naxos Music Library classical CDs; "diary service" (musician/employer hookups), concert tickets, Imprimata Edition (self-publishing), calendar, news and events.Coming soon: musician's directory, personal homepage, classical music directory, store, forums, classified ads. £25 per year subscription fee.

American Popular Music Between the 17th and 20th Centuries

A Chronological Timeline of Music 1900-1950 (slide show)

Classical Music Resources - Early Music Chicago's links for classical music.

Encyclopedias of Music - Wikipedia entry

Carolina Classical Connections - Index of classical music web site links.

H.E.A.R. - "A nonprofit hearing information source for musicians..."

Musical Instrument Samples - The University of Iowa Electronic Studios has online samples of various musican instruments, including the horn.

Musicology Dissertations

Clarion - Musical instrument insurance specialists.

Copyright - information by the American Library Association