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Dance Research Guide: Music

a guide to outstanding dance resources for research and enrichment

Music sources

The sound recording (CD and LP) collection at the TCU Library

The TCU Library's collection of sound recordings is shelved in the AudioVisual Center in the Music/Media Library.  Unlike the rest of the library's collection, which is organized by Library of Congress call numbers, sound recordings are call numbered according to recording medium: for example, compact disc recordings are numbered YCD-1 and onward.  Sound recordings are numbered as received, rather than according to the type of music or composers, and are

Treble clef. From the Flickr stream of Eva, ebear313
accessible only to staff, who will retrieve them on request. The collection can be browsed using a Basic search of the catalog, entering a "Call number" search for "YCD," but since there are thousands of sound recordings, this is impractical. It's best to use Advanced Search to search by a composer or performer name, by genre (symphon*; ballet*; blues), subject words of the title of a musical work, with "Music CDs" selected. A few suggestions are available by querying the LibAnswers box on the library's homepage (How do I find sound recordings?). The Music/Media Library staff is happy to help you in your search for music.

Streaming (online) sound recording databases

Music Online: Classical Music Library

Licensed for use by the TCU community (3 simultaneous users), Classical Music Library is the world's largest multi-label database of recordings for listening and learning in libraries, with over 50,000 tracks and 1800 composers. Repertoire coverage includes vocal and choral music, chamber, orchestral, solo instrumental, and opera. Recordings are supplemented by biographical information and links, including a direct link to Grove Music Online. Users may register to build individualized playlists and download favorites. Downloading songs to a personal computer involves a small fee for copyright/royalty purposes. Users may search using categories including composer, genre, time period, artist, etc. A thorough user guide ("service guide") is available under the "Help" tab. Free downloads are available from CML's parent interface, Music Online.

Naxos Music Library

Licensed for use by the TCU community, Naxos Music Library streams CD quality sound for classical, jazz, blues, folk, world and Chinese music. Several new releases are added monthly. Notes on the works being played as well as biographical information on composers or artists are available. Works can be searched and selected by composer, artist, period, year of composition, instrument or genre. Playlists can be created.

Music Online: Contemporary World Music

A streaming audio database incorporating contemporary reggae, worldbeat, neo-traditional, world fusion, Balkanic jazz, African film, Bollywood, Arab swing and jazz, and other worldwide genres in one database. Traditional ethnic muszydeco, gospel, gagaku are also represented.  It is recommended that you use the World Music homepage available via the Music Online interface to search, where there are many more refinement choices.

Music Online: American Music

Available from anywhere to the TCU community, American Song is a streaming audio database that presents American music from the 18th century to the present with, as of fall 2009, 58,837 tracks. This developing database includes songs by and about American Indians, miners, immigrants, slaves, children, pioneers, and cowboys, songs of Civil Rights, political campaigns, Prohibition, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, anti-war protests and more. Genres include blues, folk song, country and historical song. Folded into American Song, in addition, is the content of African American Song. A highlight: included is a 1924 recording of George Gershwin himself playing `Rhapsody in Blue' along with many other of his famous compositions on rare piano rolls, released on Biograph Records. Also of interest is an American Music page available via the Music Online interface, offering more search angles.

Music Online: Smithsonian Global Sound

Primarily a streaming audio database serving as a virtual encyclopedia of the world's musical and aural traditions as collected by the renowned Smithsonian, SGS includes some video ethnographies as well. The collection provides listeners with a variety of online resources that support the creation, continuity, and preservation of diverse musical forms. It includes an array of more than 40,000 individual tracks of music, spoken word, and natural and human-made sounds. Radio streams - such as Radio Haiti - are available to help listeners discover new music from various locales.  SGS has a parent interface, Music Online.

International Folk Dances

From the Internet Archive, this online resource offers a collection of music suitable for authentic folk dancing, most of it transferred from old 78 rpm and vinyl disc recordings.

British Library Archival Sound Recordings online

As of fall 2009, some 23,700 archival sound recordings in the British Library are available to all comers for online listening. Categories include Arts, literature and performance, Classical music, Environment and Nature, Jazz and popular music, Oral history, Sound recording history, and most spectacularly, World and traditional music.

Researching music

Ear Training for the Body: a Dancer's Guide to Music


Rhythmic Training for Dancers: an Interactive Guide to Music for Dancers


Muncey Music Book: Guide to Musical Theory for Dancers


Oxford Music Online database combines several outstanding music reference tools such as Grove Music Online, which covers all types of music styles, terms, genres and concepts, offering listening capability for musical examples.


Garland Encyclopedia of World Music Online (database) is a comprehensive online resource devoted to music research on all the world's peoples. covering antiquity to the present. Sound and video are available by selecting the Music Online interface option. Articles include the cultural context of dances, rituals, and ceremonies.


African American Music Reference is a growing database that will bring together 50,000 pages of text reference, biographies, chronologies, sheet music, images, lyrics, liner notes, and discographies which chronicle the diverse history and culture of the African American experience through music. It will include comprehensive coverage of blues, jazz, spirituals, civil rights songs, slave songs, minstrelsy, rhythm and blues, gospel, and other forms of black American musical expression, 19th century to the present.  Another growing database, Oxford African American Studies Center, is also of interest.