Oxford Music Online

Series: Our favourite State Library eresources.

People often ask us what our most loved eresources are. Admittedly we all have a favourite, or two, or three. It’s hard to pick as there are so many wonderful State Library eresources available. In this series our Librarians and Library Technicians share with you their most favourite eresources and how they’ve been used to solve research queries.

Next in the series we look at Oxford Music Online, a big favourite of Library Technician Kirsten Perris.

So why is Oxford Music Online so fabulous?

Oxford Music Online combines Grove Music Online, a leading online music encyclopaedia, with The Oxford Companion to Music and the Oxford Dictionary of Music. This equals comprehensive coverage of music, musicians, instruments, music-making subjects and more, making the database suitable for all music lovers, amateur musicians, students and scholars alike.

Best of all, you can access Oxford Music Online from home with your free State Library membership.

Image from Oxford Music Online database home page.

What is available through Oxford Music Online?

Updated regularly, Grove Music Online is the foundation for Oxford Music Online offering over 52,000 articles on various topics written by subject specialists from a scholarly perspective with extensive bibliographies providing follow up research opportunities. There are over 33,000 biographical articles on composers, performers, and important musical figures. You can also find over 5,000 images, musical examples and links to audio and video examples.

This is complimented by The Oxford Companion to Music and the Oxford Dictionary of Music. The Oxford Companion to Music (revised 2011) provides access to over “… 8,000 articles on composers, performers, conductors, instruments and notation, forms and genres, and individual works.” The Oxford Dictionary of Music (revised 2006) offers entries for a wide range of musical categories covering many eras that includes information on composers, songwriters, vocalists, orchestras, important ballets and operas, and musical instruments and their history.

How to use Oxford Music Online


Along the menu bar you can browse via subject areas, including the following.

  • Topic - covers twenty-one individual subject areas such as audio engineering, musicology and music history.
  • Instrument - contains seven subject areas including chordophones (stringed instruments) and membranophones (stretched membrane percussion)
  • Era - covers ten time periods ranging from Pre- and Early Medieval (before 800) to 21st Century (2000 onwards)
  • Region or Place Type
  • Occupation - has fifteen subject areas including choreographer, instrument maker and religious or ritual musician.


You can do a simple or advanced search that captures results across all subject areas. When you do an advanced search, or modify your simple search, you can filter via by format (article or image), type of article (e.g. subject reference), place type, life event (if you’re searching for a person), topic, instrument, era, region, occupation and publication date (if you’re looking for the most current information).

Other features

Create a Personal Profile so you can save content and searches for future visits.

The News menu enables you to keep up with any new articles or updates to articles, or changes to the database articles.

The Tools and Resources section has many useful links like Subject Guides and Research Resources. You can find some interesting research resources such as:

  • Timelines, which includes a women in music timeline
  • Topical Guides to Grove Music, which are guides to some major topics that contain selected Grove Music Online articles related to a particular time period or genre like Women composers A-Z.

Image from Oxford Music Online database Topical Guides to Grove Music page.

There’s something for everyone in Oxford Music Online. If you are a student looking for authoritative, peer-reviewed articles and resources for your music assignment; or a general music lover looking for information on your favourite composer, you’ll find it in this database.

Join now and start searching Oxford Music Online.

Look out for the next blog in this series #FavouriteEresources


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