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MUMH 4760: Chamber Music Literature

Guide to finding library resources for chamber music literature



From "RILM Abstracts of Music Literature is a comprehensive bibliography of writings about music, featuring bibliographic citations, abstracts, and indexing. It covers publications in all document types from around the world on traditional music, popular music, jazz, classical music, and related subjects."

Type of Database

A bibliography of resources related to music, many with full-text of the item described in the citation hosted on the EBSCOhost platform.

Resources Included

Full-text is available for many of the entries. Each entry contains an abstract (synopsis of the source), subject headings related to the information in the article, and publication information. This database contains a mixture of citations to primary and secondary sources.


RILM is an excellent database to use once you are starting to narrow your topic. It is a powerful database, especially if used with appropriate search strategies unique to the EBSCOHost vendor platform.

Search Strategies

  • Open RILM and follow along with the guide below.
  • RILM uses controlled vocabulary, which is findable in the Names and Subjects thesauruses. This means that specific terms are associated with each citation. You will obtain the most results when searching with the correct controlled vocabulary, along with other keywords of your choosing.
  • Observe the menu options in the upper left-hand corner of the webpage:

New search, names, subjects, instrument families, countries, index search menu options in RILM

  • To find the most results, you will need to search composer names with the controlled vocabulary as defined by the RILM database under Names, the second option in the menu with the green background. Also explore controlled Subject terms in the menu at a later time.
  • When searching for Beethoven, Ludwig van, select [Explode] to choose all topics that fall under the broader person of Ludwig van Beethoven. Alternatively, scroll down to the branched terms. Select [Explode] for the appropriate branched term of your choosing, or [Expand] to observe even narrower topics. Choose [Previous Level] to go back a step. Experiment with this to grasp how it works:

RILM explode and expand options for Beethoven

  • Once you "Explode" a name, Beethoven's name is automatically filled in as a subject search. Click on Advanced Search to narrow your search further with more keywords/phrases. For instance, try another subject search with "String Quartet" like the image below:

Advanced searching in RILM with two subject searches

  • In advanced searching, you can control Boolean operators (AND, OR, or NOT) to combine search words. Also, the dropdown fields to the right of the search fields contain numerous options for controlling the search. In the image above, the fields are set to "subject." Experiment with the drop-down fields.
  • Additional options on the Advanced Search screen include the option to link to full text, limit results to a specific language, limit the date range, search for specific types of documents, and more. Regarding limiting to full-text, while this can be useful if you are crunched for time, leaving this box unchecked will include more results. It is possible the full-text is available through the UNT Music Library print collections or in WorldCat to request items through Interlibrary Loan.
  • When looking at a resource record in RILM, take note of the subjects associated with the resource. The subject headings can serve as more keywords for your subject and keyword searches. In the image below, observe the associated subject terms:
  • Try searching for composition titles as a keyword or "TX: All text" search.

Database Features

Database Features


Database features in EBSCHOST: Google drive, add to folder, print, cite, export, create note, permalink

  • In a record, the tools options are available on the right-hand side of the screen, as shown in the image above. As a student, you have access to create an account on EBSCOHost, the vendor platform that hosts RILM and Music Index. Save citations and search history in your account. 
  • Export citations to RefWorks to keep track of your citations in one location.

Find Full-Text

  • On the left-hand side of the screen, use the "Find Full Text" link to search for full-text options of the citation. 

Create a Personal Account

  • Save resources for future reference by saving them to your personal EBSCOhost account. Create an account by going to the upper, right-hand side of the webpage and select Sign in.

Additional Links