Searching for Music Periodical Literature in the HBLL

This guide provides a basic overview of indexes that can be used to locate music research published in journal articles. Music periodical literature is only one type of publication that may help in preparing a term paper. Books, dissertations, scores and audio or video recordings may also be appropriate and can be accessed using the online catalog of the Lee Library. Please note that the periodical indexes discussed below are not directly associated with BYU's collection. Our library may not have some of the journals that are cited in these indexes. To determine if BYU has a particular journal you must search for the journal by title in the online catalog. Articles in journals that BYU lacks may be obtained through Interlibrary Loan. Also note that current periodicals are kept separately from the bound volumes. The bound volumes are located in the open stacks. Current issues and issues awaiting binding are available in the Music Reading Room.

Music Periodical Indexes Online

BYU is fortunate to offer online access to three major music periodical indexes: RILM Abstracts, The Music Index and the International Index to Music Periodicals (IIMP). Each of these indexes can be accessed through the BYLINE "Databases & Periodical Indexes" menu option.

RILM Abstracts

RILM Abstracts (1969- present) is perhaps the most effective source for articles that are appropriate for term papers in music history and theory classes. RILM includes more than 260,000 citations.

Coverage: RILM Abstracts focuses on scholarly historical research. It is very international in its coverage and includes research in many non-European languagues. In addition to articles in journals RILM also indexes conference proceedings, articles in festschrift, dissertations, books, and government reports. Articles from non-music journals that relate to music are also included. More recent entries may not yet include an abstract.

Search Tips: In most cases it is best to select the "Advanced Search" option. Enter keywords into the category "Keywords/Phrases". Terms can be combined with basic boolean operators. The truncation symbol is the asterisc. Use other fields such as Language, Publication Type, Pub. Year, and Journal to limit or narrow searches.

International Index to Music Periodicals Full Text

IIMP Full Text draws its current content from more than 370 international music periodicals from over 20 countries with over 60 Full Text titles (a complete list is available online). IIMP Full Text also includes retrospective coverage from 185 periodicals. Included in the current and retrospective content are 29 complete-run titles, from inception to the present (or final) issue, and many partial run titles. Just a few of the most important journals that are indexed from their beginnings include Journal of the American Musicological Society, Musical Quarterly, Music and Letters and Early Music.

Coverage: Like RILM Abstracts, IIMP is international in its coverage. In comparison with RILM it is less strongly focused on scholarly historical research and includes journals that deal with performance and education issues. Its coverage is also limited more to the major European languages. IIMP is an excellent complement to RILM because of its retrospective citations for major journals prior to 1967. Many citations have a brief abstract.

Search Tips: The interface for IIMP is very user friendly. Use the icons at the top of the screen to navigate through your searchs. There is a well written help system built into the program. The approach to searching is similar to RILM. Combine keywords with basic boolean operators and then limit the search using fields such as Language, Date, Document Type, and Publication (i.e., journal). The categories for document type, however, are not very effective. The truncation symbol is the aesterisc.

The Music Index

The Music Index differs considerablely from RILM and IIMP. Its coverage leans more toward popular publications and includes reviews of recordings and performances. Its search interface is slightly less flexible in that searches cannot be limited in as many ways.

Coverage: The Music Index includes citations dating from 1979 to 2002. The 670 plus journals it indexes are limited mostly to the major European languages. It includes references to music dissertations found in Dissertation Abstracts. Its distinguishing characteristic is coverage of reviews of recordings and performances from popular music publications and newspapers.

Search Tips: The Music Index is very easy to use. Searching in Expert mode enables you to limit searchs in ways similar to RILM and IIMP. Note the instruction for boolean combinations and truncation found on the search screens. A major disadvantage in comparison with RILM and IIMP is the lack of abstracts. Keyword searching is therefore less effective.

Other Related Online Periodical Indexes

There are several periodical indexes available at most terminals throughout the Lee Library that can also be useful for music research. These indexes are not devoted specifically to music and should be used only as a supplement to the indexes discussed above. These indexes can also be accessed via the BYLINE menu for "Databases & Periodical Indexes".

RIPM (RŽpertoire International de la Presse Musicale):

Indexes major music journals of the 19th century. It includes more than 380,000 citations. It uses the same search interface as RILM Abstracts and the two databases can be searched at the same time.

International Index to the Performing Arts:

This index is produced by the same company as the International Index to Music Periodicals (IIMP). The search interface is very similar. It currently covers more than 200 periodicals. It can be especially useful if you topic relates to theater or dance.

Arts/Humanities Search:

Broadly based in all the humanities. Noted for a special feature that cross-references citations or the footnotes found in the articles it indexes. The search interface is different from the online catalog.


A very large database that focuses on Education. This is an excellent source to consult if the focus of your research is music education.

Academic Universe:

A very extensive database consisting of full text articles from newspapers and magazines from all parts of the world. It is a limited version of the previous Lexis-Nexis. This index focuses on current news and information. It can be useful to locate up-to-date information about the activities of contemporary composers.

Music Periodical Indexes on the Internet

Indexes to music periodical literature on the internet are becoming more common. As mentioned above IIMP can be accessed via the internet if the computer you are using is logged-in to the BYU domain. Two examples of free indexes are given below. For a more detailed listing of internet sites useful for music research use the lists of links mantained by Harvard University, Duke University and Indiana University at:

Canadian Music Periodical Index (

This site is limited to journals published in Canada. It does, however, included citations for publications that are not found in the other major music periodical indexes.

CAIRSS for Music (

This index focuses on topics related to music education, music psycology, music theraphy, and music medicine. It includes information from recent conferences and research that may not yet be published.

Music Periodical Indexes in Print Format

Although the convenience and quality of CD-ROM and online indexes is increasingly inviting, thorough research still requires consultation of indexes that exist only in print format. For example, even though The Music Index is available on CD-ROM for the years 1979 to 1995, the print version dates back to 1949. The following list gives a brief description of the strengths of some of the most important titles.

Bibliographie des Musikschrifttums, 1950-88 [2001] (Mus Ref ML 113 .B54).

An excellent complement to the early years of The Music Index. Focused on serious historical research published in the major European languages. Begin by looking for your topic in the indexes at the back of each volume.

Fellinger, Imogen. Periodica Musicalia (1789-1830) im Auftrag des Staatlichen Instituts fŸr Musikforschung Preu§ischer Kulturbesitz (Mus Ref ML 117 .F43 1988).

A specialized index that cites musical scores published in music journals 1789-1830.

Jazz Index, 1977-83. (Mus Ref ML 128 .J3 J4).

Devoted specifically to jazz research. Limited to only several years of coverage.

Internationale Bibliographie der Zeitschriftenliteratur aus allen Gebieten des Wissens. Series A-C, 1896-1993 (AI 9 .I5).

A very large index devoted to all fields of knowledge. It can prove useful for locating articles published in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. If your specific topic is not listed try searching under the more general topic of "Musik". More recent entries are searchable on CD-ROM.

Music Article Guide, 1965-96 (Mus Ref ML 1 .M22795).

Focuses on research in music education. Limited to articles published in the U.S.A.

The Music Index, 1949-2001 (Mus Ref ML 118 .M84).

One of the standard music periodical indexes. See the description for the Online version above. Note that citations in this index are usually incomplete and many lack the author's full name and complete pagination.

Music Psychology Index [Originally Music Therapy Index]. 3 vols., 1976-84 (Mus Ref ML 128 .L3 M85).

Narrowly focused and limited to a brief time frame. Useful for locating sources that may have been neglected by the major music periodical indexes during this period.

The New York Public Library Reference Department Dictionary Catalog of the Music Collection, 33 vols. (Mus Ref ML 136 .N5 N573).

Although this catalog of the music collection at the NYPL is technically not a periodical index, it was a practice of the library to create index cards for articles in music journals during the first half of the 20th century. In this regard this source fills an important gap not covered by the other indexes.

Répertoire international de la presse musicale, ongoing (Mus Ref ML 128 .P24).

A special series of indexes devoted to individual journals published in the 19th century. Includes citations for illustrations, advertising, musical scores and reviews. Consult the guide to using these indexes found at the beginning of the first volume. Some of the most important journals covered to-date include Dwight's Musical Journal (1852-1881), The Musical Times (1844-1900), Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung (1863-1882), The Musical World (1836-1865) and L'Italia musicale (1847-1859). As of fall semester 2002 also available online.

RILM Abstracts, 1967-95 (Mus Ref ML 1 .I85).

See the description for RILM Abstracts Online above. In the printed version begin by looking for your topic in the index at the back of each volume or in the separate index volume.