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MUS 200: Music, Culture, and Society

Music Databases

These databases cover the field of music in depth.  Use them to find journal articles and other publications.

RILM Abstracts of Music Literature
A comprehensive guide to publications on music from all over the world, RILM Abstracts covers all literature about music, not just journal articles. Entries include abstracts in English. Coverage begins with 1967.

Music Index Online
Indexes articles in more than 700 music periodicals and selectively indexes journals in related fields. Coverage begins with 1979.

Music Periodicals Database
Try this for popular music.  Indexes articles in more than 430 music journals from about 20 countries; selectively indexes some newspapers. Coverage begins with 1996 except for selected titles indexed in their entirety. Abstracts are provided for articles published after 1995. To limit results to articles in English and/or exclude reviews, use the Advanced Search.

RIPM:  Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals
Try this if you need an early journal or newspaper article for your primary-source paper.  It indexes articles in music periodicals from about 1800 to 1950.  See the guide to Primary Sources for Music for more information on RIPM.

Newspaper Articles

Newspaper research is a specialized task.  Get started with the resources below, or just ask for help!

Multidisciplinary Databases

These databases help you search the literature of various fields simultaneously.

Academic Search Complete
A large multidisciplinary database offering full text of over 5000 periodicals. Also indexes and abstracts other types of publications. Coverage dates vary, with some content going as far back as 1865.

JSTOR (Journal Storage Project)
A multidisciplinary collection of academic journals in digitized form. Not current—for any journal, coverage begins with vol. 1 but lacks the most recent 2-5 years, by agreement with the publisher. Sometimes current issues are in Project Muse, a companion database.

Google Scholar
Searches scholarly literature across many disciplines. Try the "Advanced Scholar Search" to focus your search. Be aware that the links to Emory content sometimes yield false negatives.

Scholarly vs Popular Journals

Scholarly-journal articles are appropriate for academic papers.

Popular-journal articles are especially useful when

  • your topic is so current that scholars haven't written much about it.
  • you need first-hand, contemporaneous reports (such as a newspaper or magazine review by a person who attended a work's premiere).

Characteristics of Popular Publications:

  • Contain general information that appeals to a wide audience
  • Written by journalists or others who are not professionals in that field
  • Use easily understood language
  • Usually do NOT include citations or a bibliography
  • Limited or non-existent editorial review
  • May contain glossy photographs.
Examples include the New Yorker, Time, Down Beat, Rolling Stone, and Variety.


Characteristics of Scholarly Publications:

  • Report on primary research
  • Written by experts in the field
  • Written for other researchers/scholars
  • Use terms and language that are discipline-specific
  • Usually include in-text citations and a bibliography of cited sources
  • May include graphs, charts, etc. related to the topic
  • Often are peer reviewed by an editorial board of experts
  • Published by a professional organization or society, university, research center, or scholarly press.
Examples include Cambridge Opera Journal, Ethnomusicology, Opera Quarterly, Journal of Musicology, American Music, Musical Quarterly, and Popular Music.
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