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Music Research Guide: Find Books and E-Books

Off-Campus Access

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As a King's student, you have access to thousands of e-books, which can be accessed 24/7 and don't require you to come into the library. This guide below provides information about the various databases. 

Below are sample searches in eBook Academic Collection. If you click on the links, the searches will open, and you can browse the collections.

Browse the Shelves

Subclass ML : Literature on Music

Call number Description
ML1 - ML5 Periodicals. Serials
ML12 - ML21 Directories. Almanacs
ML25 - ML38 Societies and other organizations. Institutions. Festivals. Congresses
ML47 - ML54 Librettos. Texts
ML55 - ML89 Aspects of the field of music as a whole
ML93 - ML96 Manuscript studies and manuscripts
ML100 - ML108 Dictionaries. Encyclopedias
ML111 - ML112 Music librarianship. Music printing and publishing
ML113 - ML158 Bibliography
ML159 - ML161 History and criticism, general works
ML162 - ML197 History and criticism by period
ML198 - ML350 History and criticism by region or country
ML385 - ML429 Biographies
ML430 - ML458 Composition and performance
ML460 - ML1380 Instruments and instrumental music
ML1400 - ML3275 Vocal music
ML3400 - ML3465 Dance music
ML3470 - ML3540 Popular music
ML3545 - ML3776 Folk, national, and ethnic music
ML3790 - ML3792 Music trade
ML3795 Music as a profession. Vocational guidance
ML3797 - ML3799 Musical research
ML3800 General works on the philosophical, societal, and physiological aspects of music. 
ML3805 - ML3817 Physics and acoustics
ML3820 Physiological aspects of music
ML3830 - ML3838 Psychology
ML3845 - ML3877 Aesthetics
ML3880 - ML3915 Criticism
ML3916 - ML3918 Social and political aspects of music
ML3920 Moral influence of music. Therapeutic use of music

Subclass MT: Instruction and Study 

Call Number Description
MT1 General works
MT3 - MT5 History
MT5.5 - MT7 Music theory
MT35 Notation
MT40 - MT67 Composition. Elements and techniques of music
MT68 Improvisation. Accompaniment. Transposition
MT70 Instrumentation and orchestration
MT75 Interpretation
MT85 Conducting. Score reading and playing
MT90 - MT146 Analysis and appreciation of musical works
MT180 - MT252 Instrumental techniques for keyboard instruments
MT259 - MT338 Instrumental techniques for bowed string instruments
MT339 - MT505 Instrumental techniques for wind instruments
MT580 - MT640 Instrumental techniques for plucked string instruments
MT655 - MT725 Instrumental techniques for percussion instruments
MT728 - MT733 Instrumental techniques for ensembles
MT820 - MT915 Singing and vocal technique
MT955 - MT956 Musical theatre

Subject Terms

Arrangement in Music
Art in Music
Bach (name) in music
Choral music
Music-theory-history-15th century
Music, history and criticism
Music, Greek and Roman
Popular music
Vocal Music

What Makes a Book Scholarly?

Scholarly books disseminate research and academic discussion among professionals within disciplines.  They are intended for academic study and research, and are preferred when writing college-level papers. They are published by academic or university presses.

Adapted from University of Toronto Libraries.  

                                               Scholarly Books                                                Non-Scholarly Books


  • To share with other scholars the results of primary research & experiments.
  • To entertain or inform in a broad, general sense.


  • A respected scholar or researcher in the field; an expert in the topic; names are always noted.
  • A journalist or feature writer; names not always noted.


  • A university press; a professional association or known (independent) scholarly publisher.
  • A commercial publisher.

Intended audience

  • Other scholars or researchers in the field, or those interested in the topic at a research level.
  • General public.


  • Language is formal and technical; usually contains discipline-specific jargon.
  • Language is casual. Few, if any, technical terms are used (and if they are, they are usually defined).


  • References are always cited and expected; text often contains footnotes.
  • Very uncommon; text may contain referrals to "a study published at..." or "researchers have found that..." with no other details.


Adapted from University of Toronto Libraries 

These clues will go a long way towards assisting you in differentiating between books intended for the scholar and therefore, preferred when writing research papers, from trade publications or mass market publications that are intended for a general audience.

Publisher: A good clue to a scholarly resource is its publisher. 

Books from publishers specializing in the field will tend to be of better quality textually then those that don’t.

  • Look for “About” and a “Mission Statement”
  •  Consider how long they’ve been in business?
  • Do they provide services to academia?
  • Books published by a university press will tend to be more academically sound than those published by trade publishers, especially if the institution has a good reputation in the field covered by the work. 

Cited References and Bibliography – Even more than a useful tool for evaluating the reliability of an author, cited references are an excellent indication of the scholarship of a work. 

  • Look for cited references or at least a bibliography in the work itself.  Most books intended for the scholar contain citations and a bibliography, whereas books intended for a general audience do not.
  •  Also, consider who is being cited; how frequently are the references cited elsewhere; has any one cited the work being evaluated and is this perhaps the primary source?
  • For works in the humanities, a good clue that you’ve found the primary source is when you keep getting referred to the same source over and over again.  
  • Works in the sciences will report on original research.

Content – examine these aspects of the work to assist in ascertaining the scholarship of a work:

  • Accuracy:  how does the information compare to that of other works on the subject?
  •  Biases:  all authors are biased, but scholarly works tend to reflect the results of research in the field and not propagandize.
  • Preface, Introduction, Table of Contents, Conclusion and Index:  most scholarly works will have several, if not all, of these components. Consider also how well the author lives up to his/her claims indicated in the preface, introduction and conclusion.
  • Audience appropriate: a scholarly work will be written to those with some knowledge of or ability to understand the topic under discussion.

Graphics, Charts, Illustrations, etc.:  many scholarly works will have graphs, charts, illustrations, etc.

© Janet Tillman/The Master’s University, 2008-2014, permission is granted for non-profit educational use; any reproduction or modification should include this statement.

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