Background information can be found in such resources as encyclopedias and dictionaries, bibliographies, discographies and others.
Encyclopedias and Dictionaries
Encyclopedias and dictionaries provide an overview of a particular topic or person, and can lead to further reading through their citations and bibliographies.
This section contains sample items in Western Libraries. This list does not represent everything available from Western Libraries. Additional relevant resources can be found by searching Western Libraries' catalogue, and by including the word(s) "encyclopedias" or "dictionaries" in the Subject field.
"The stimulus this handsomely produced volume will provide to research and teaching may well surpass that offered by Dr. Southern's earlier studies. This major accomplishment belongs in the libraries of all individuals and institutions interested in any aspect of American music." Ethnomusiciology
Each volume, authored by top contributors from around the world, includes discussions on cultural, historical and geographic origins; technical musical characteristics; instrumentation and use of voice; lyrics and language; typical features of performance and presentation; historical development and paths and modes of dissemination; influence of technology, the music industry and political and economic circumstances; changing stylistic features; notable and influential performers; and relationships to other genres and sub-genres.
Each volume contains an overview of a geographic region, a survey of its musical heritage, and a description of specific musical genres, practices, and performances. Articles include detailed photographs that show musicians, musical instruments, and the cultural context of dances, rituals, and ceremonies.
Grove Music Online is the most authoritative, English-language music encyclopedia. It includes articles from the latest print editions of the Grove Dictionary of American Music (2013, 8 volumes) and the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2002, 3 volumes)). You can find in-depth articles on Black musicians from all around the world, as well as relevant articles on race and ethnicity, genres (e.g., gospel, bebop, soul), era, etc.
Uncloudy Days is a treasure chest of substantial profiles on the influential names in gospel music history such as Thomas Dorsey, Mahalia Jackson, the Hawkins family, Clara Ward, James Cleveland, and the Winans. It also uncovers the history of one hit wonders and others who are not as familiar to gospel music fans.
By listing and evaluating literature on a topic, bibliographies can lead to high-quality resources to support research.
This section contains sample items in Western Libraries. This list does not represent everything available from Western Libraries. Additional relevant resources can be found by searching Western Libraries' catalogue, and by including the word "bibliography" in the Subject field.
The impact of Afro-Brazilian culture, both inside of Brazil and abroad, has been immense, particularly in the area of popular culture. ... However a much richer and more complex story lies behind these popular images, one that spans from the long slave trade that flourished in Brazil between 1538 and the 1850s to the more recent rise of urban black and cultural nationalist movements of the 1970s and beyond. ... This less well-known history is the subject of John Gray's latest bibliography. While primarily about music the literature it documents reflects on all aspects of black life and culture in Brazil from language and religion to gender relations and race.
In spite of its relatively small size Cuba has had an inordinately large musical influence both inside the Caribbean and abroad. ...Cuba has been central to popular music developments throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, the United States and Europe. ... Unfortunately, no one has ever attempted to survey the extensive literature on the island's music, in particular the vernacular contributions of its Afro-Cuban population. This unprecedented bibliographic guide attempts to do just that.
Despite the influence of African American music and study as a worldwide phenomenon, no comprehensive and fully annotated reference tool currently exists that covers the wide range of genres. This much needed bibliography fills an important gap in this research area and will prove an indispensable resource for librarians and scholars studying African American music and culture.
Discographies document the history of recording sessions and releases. They are often be genre-, label- or musician-specific.
This section contains sample items in Western Libraries. This list does not represent everything available from Western Libraries. Additional relevant resources can be found by searching Omni, and by including the word "discography" in the Subject field.
Since its first edition, in 1964, Dixon and Godrich's Blues and Gospel Records has been dubbed 'the bible' for collectors of pre-war African-American music. It provides an exhaustive listing of all recordings made up to the end of 1943 in a distinctively African-American musical style, excluding those customarily classed as jazz (which are the subject of separate discographies).