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Music History Tutorials: Streaming Audio Databases and Free Websites

Research assistance for advanced students in music history courses

Streaming Audio Databases and Free Websites

Subscription streaming audio services:

Naxos Music Library
Naxos Music Library allows UNT users to stream a wide variety of classical, jazz, new age, and world music. Please be sure to click on the red “Log Out” button on the upper right hand of the screen when you are finished using Naxos.

Naxos Music Library Jazz
The recordings in Naxos Music Library Jazz include famous Jazz Legends and Historicals, new selected titles of other leading independent labels are added every month. Contains more than 3000 CDs and new CDs are added every month.

Classical Music Library

As its title indicates, this service focuses mainly on classical music, but there are a few jazz offerings.

DRAM - Database of Recorded American Music
DRAM is a not-for-profit resource providing educational communities with on-demand streaming access to CD-quality audio (192kbps Mp4), complete original liner notes and essays from independent record labels and sound archives. Continuing in the tradition of DRAM's sister company New World Records, one of DRAM's primary focuses is the preservation and dissemination of important recordings that have been neglected by the commercial marketplace, recordings that may otherwise become lost or forgotten. Currently DRAM's collection contains nearly 2,300 albums worth of recordings from a distinctive set of 15 independent labels, and we are continually working to add more content. The basis for the current collection is the diverse catalogue of American music recordings by New World Records.

American Song
American Song will become the definitive source for American roots music and pre-1960 American popular music. Included are powerful recordings by artists such as Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Peggy Seeger, Si Kahn, Lead Belly, Sleepy LaBeef, the New Lost City Ramblers, Otis Clay, Eddy The Chief Clearwater, Nanci Griffith, The Lilly Brothers, Merle Travis, Ma Rainey, Mahalia Jackson, Alberta Hunter, Tampa Red, William Bunk Johnson, Duke Ellington, Sophie Tucker, Joe Turner, T-Bone Walker, Sarah Vaughn, Cripple Clarence Lofton, Big Joe Williams, Memphis Jug Band, Roosevelt Sykes, Dizzy Gillespie, Chicago River Kings, Muddy Waters, Skip James, Blind Willie McTell, Lonnie Johnson, Alberta Jones, Johnny Shines, Memphis Minnie, Arthur Big Boy Crudup, Little Brother Montgomery, Speckled Red, Edith Wilson, Earl Hines, Eddie Johnson, Bobby Bradford, Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, and hundreds more.

Opera in Video
Opera in Video will contain 250 of the most important opera performances, captured on video through staged productions, interviews, and documentaries. Selections represent the world’s best performers, conductors, and opera houses and are based on a works importance to the operatic canon. The collection presents an overview of the most commonly studied operas in music history, opera literature, and performance classes. Multiple performances and stagings worldwide of the major operas allow for analysis of stage design, vocal techniques, roles, and musical interpretation across time periods, opera houses, and conductors. Performances will cover the full range of operatic composition, from the Baroque to the 20th century. Specially developed controlled vocabularies let users browse by composer, genre, performer, ensemble, time period, and role.

Smithsonian Global Sound
Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries is an online streaming music database of the world's musical and aural traditions. The database includes 2,900+ albums, comprising over 42,000 tracks. The database includes the published recordings owned by the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings label and the archival audio collections of numerous influential labels and recording pioneers. Users may search with standard and advanced features or browse the collections by album, genre, instruments, labels, languages, people, ensembles, places or cultural groups.


Using Free Sites on the Internet for Serious Music Research

There are many ways to find good sites on the Internet.  One is to use human-selected collections of links.  The best ones are expertly prepared and will efficiently take users to pertinent sites with high-quality content, possibly saving them hours of surfer frustration.  Following are some significant examples: 

Center for the History of Music Theory and Literature
from Indiana University; includes Doctoral Dissertations in Musicology and several research sites

Medieval Music:

La Trobe University Library Medieval Music Database
Modern scores and facsimiles of original manuscripts

Thesaurus Musicarum Latinarum
"The Thesaurus Musicarum Latinarum (TML) is an evolving database of the entire corpus of Latin music theory written during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance."

Abbaye de Solesmes
From the abbey renowned for spearheading the revival of Gregorian chant in modern times

The British Library - Digital Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts - Tour
Images of illuminated manuscripts from many centuries

RELICS Renaissance Liturgical Imprints: A Census

Hill Museum & Manuscript Library
a vast database of manuscript images, including music, from St. John's University and St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, MN; includes the Renaissance and much more

Three sites from the Society for Creative Anachronism:
SCA Renaissance Dance Homepage

SCA Medieval and Renaissance Music Homepage

SCA Minstrel Homepage

Baroque Music:

Arto Wikla's Music Page
An early music site featuring information about early instruments and instrument tablatures, with important links for early music research, especially Baroque

Classic and Romantic Music:

The Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies  from San Jose State University


Ethnomusicology, Folk Music, and World Music  an important ethnomusicology portal from the University of Washington

British Forum for Ethnomusicology
"a UK society devoted to the study of music and dance from all parts of the world"

UCLA Ethnomusicology
UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology

the journal; a website providing information about it with sample full-text articles

Humanities Computing:

Voice of the Shuttle
A large humanities computing site with important links in several disciplines, the Music and Dance Page covering classical music topics and the Media Page covering popular music


Additional Links