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MUSIC RESEARCH GUIDE: Popular Music Research

Resources for music research and for finding materials in Parsons Music Library



In each case, select "Subject Heading Browse" in the "within" box on the BASIC SEARCH screen:

  • For books about an individual performer or songwriter, enter his or her last name and first name.  Click SEARCH and scan the results list for terms like BIBLIOGRAPHY or CRITICISM AND INTERPRETATION.  These will most likely give you the best result.  You can also try entering the phrase MUSICIANS BIOGRAPHY to find more general studies.
  • For books about bands/musical groups, enter their name and look for CRITICISM AND INTERPRETATION. 
  • For books about American popular music in a specific decade, enter the phrase POPULAR MUSIC, followed by the decade in this format: 1961-1970 for the sixties, 1971-1980 for the seventies, 1981-1990 for the eighties, etc.  Again, headings with words like HISTORY, CRITICISM, ANALYSIS, or INTERPRETATION will probably be the most useful.
  • For books about a musical genre, enter your genre term together with the word "music," for example, disco music, rap music, ragtime music, etc.  Again, scan the results for the phrase HISTORY AND CRITICISM. 
  • For broader studies, use terms like Rock Music History and Criticism.or Popular Music History and Criticism

If you have trouble, ask for the book Music Subject Headings, which is kept behind the circulation desk in the Music Library.  It will show you the correct subject phrases to enter for specific musical topics.

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Linda Fairtile's picture
Linda Fairtile
Parsons Music Library
Modlin Center for the Arts
University of Richmond, VA 23173
804 287-6849
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