Internet Resources: Music and Performance

Selected reviews of digital reference resources in Music and Performance.

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Bloomsbury Popular Music. Bloomsbury. Contact publisher for pricing.

Bloomsbury Popular Music (BPM) is a truly unique popular music resource that provides an easy-to-use interface along with valuable content for researchers,” wrote Ginger Williams for ccAdvisor. With uses ranging from introductory music survey courses through graduate-level research, BPM would be an excellent resource for academic libraries that support music and performing arts curricula. Larger public libraries with extensive research collections and a local interest in fine arts or cultural studies may find this resource suited to their needs as well. Easy to navigate and fun to use, BPM is a scholarly database with an innovative, intuitive design. The content is predominantly popular music from Western traditions. The breadth of world music coverage is notable, however, as the resource offers a wealth of information about genres of music that “are popular in countries and communities all over the world.” The content could support students and researchers in a variety of fields related to popular music. Not peer-reviewed but certainly scholarly, the content is a satisfying mix of encyclopedia entries and ebooks supported by interactive features. Content from the “33 ⅓” series of brief books about particular albums is excellent in depth and insight—for example, like other volumes in the series, The Pixies’ Doolittle by Ben Sisario is informed by interviews with the band. “Although these are deep dives any fan would enjoy, the “33 ⅓” books are valuable to researchers of popular music as well,” Williams wrote. “DRM-free access to these works provides for a user-friendly ebook experience often lacking in databases.” Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

This review is a summary of a longer review by Ginger Williams, originally published in Copyright © 2019 by The Charleston Company.

DRAM (Database of Recorded American Music). Anthology of Recorded Music, Inc. Contact publisher for pricing.

DRAM, a product of the educational foundation Anthology of Recorded Music, Inc., is a streaming audio database whose mission is to preserve and disseminate musical recordings largely ignored by the commercial marketplace, based on their aesthetic and historical value,” wrote Leanna Goodwater, Hugh Burkhart and John Redford for ccAdvisor. The collection is a diverse catalog of American music represented by the New World Records and CRI (Composers Recordings, Inc.) labels. The collection in total numbers more than 4,000 albums from 42 independent labels and archives, and includes folk music, opera, Native American music, jazz, and 19th-century classical to early rock, musical theater, contemporary music, electronic, and beyond. While the primary intended audience is music scholars, students, composers, and music aficionados, DRAM includes materials useful to American history, sociology, and cultural studies students. “New World Records has served composers, artists, students, and the general public since its inception in 1975 with a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation,” Goodwater, Burkhart and Redford wrote. The original mandate was to produce a 100-disc anthology of American music encompassing the broadest possible spectrum of musical genres in honor of the Bicentennial. This set of recordings, together with their extensive liner notes, provided a core curriculum in American music and American studies that was then distributed free of charge to almost 7,000 educational and cultural institutions throughout the world. The acquisition of CRI deepened New World’s catalog of contemporary American compositions and restored to circulation recordings that had, in some cases, been out of print for decades. Presumably, the majority of its users will be music students and faculty in institutions of higher education, especially those involved in the study, performance, or composition of American and/or contemporary music. “The collection, as DRAM claims, will also be useful for cross-disciplinary studies as well as for serious music aficionados,” the authors wrote. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

This review is a summary of a longer review by Leanna Goodwater, Hugh Burkhart and John Redford, originally published in Copyright © 2019 by The Charleston Company.

Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings. Adam Matthew, 2020. Contact publisher for pricing.
Ethnomusicology: Global Field Recordings draws from more than 60 ethnomusicologist field collections to provide users with primary source materials, including “audio field recordings, field notebooks, film footage, correspondence, educational recordings, and [other] ephemera,” as Sarah Holmes wrote for ccAdvisor. The content included offers a broad purview of indigenous music from around the world, spanning all continents. Users can peruse musical recordings and research ranging from Native American powwows, Assyrian songs, gamelan music from Indonesia, African American music, and Buddhist chants, among many other genres and locations. As Holmes astutely points out, “copyright is a delicate topic when dealing with indigenous communities, and the editors do a fine job of highlighting their commitment to repatriating materials to Native communities.”

Interacting with the interface is relatively straightforward. From the home page users may search content by “People,” “Field of Study,” and “Keywords,” with the option to “Browse by Region,” “Browse by Collection,” or “Browse by Media Type” available under the Content tab. The “Musical Instruments” section, which “furnishes a curated selection of instruments from 10 areas shown on a map,” and the “Image Gallery,” containing “a portfolio of fully searchable graphic images” are other notable channels for interacting with the database. Importantly, “the sound quality of the recordings is uniformly excellent,” and navigating through the tracks to create clips, which can be saved to “My Archive” is easy. In fact, Ethnomusicology is currently unmatched by other databases or digital products for what it offers. As Holmes asserted, it is “a rich, rewarding, expansive database,” which will be of use to students and scholars in education, art, anthropology, dance, religion, ritual, history, and gender studies. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

This review is a summary of a longer review by Sarah Holmes, Northern Illinois University, originally published in Copyright © 2019 by The Charleston Company. MUSEEC Some content open access, contact publisher for pricing. is a database that provides streaming videos of live and on-demand classical music performances, including concerts, ballets, documentaries, and master classes,” wrote Jeremy Whitt for ccAdvisor. The site is easy to navigate, “although there is room for improvement in the aspects of finding and filtering content.” This review also provides an in-depth content examination of the composers and genres featured on the site. Overall, the breadth and depth of content available in is outstanding; the site compares favorably to competing products, and its live performances will appeal to music fans, music scholars, and musicians around the globe. The live performances from the world’s most renowned performers set the site apart from competing products. The site features many of the most critically acclaimed ensembles as well, including many ensembles from Gramophone’s list of “World’s Greatest Orchestras” such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and many more (Gramophone 2008). also includes performances from renowned festivals, such as Aix-en-Provence, BBC Proms, Glyndebourne, Salzburg Festival, Lucerne Festival, among others (Shea 2017). Simply put, there is something here for anyone interested in performances of classical music, from neophytes to aficionados and those in between. To provide a glimpse of content included on the site as of November 2018, one of many highlights is a 2011 concert of the LA Phil conducted by Gustavo Dudamel performing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, featuring Herbie Hancock on piano. “Overall, capably achieves its goal of providing access to an immense video library of live and on-demand classical performances,” Whitt wrote. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

This review is a summary of a longer review by Jeremy Whitt, originally published in Copyright © 2019 by The Charleston Company.

The Routledge Performance Archive. Routledge, 2019. Pricing ranges from $3,400 to $5,600.

“Capturing the esoteric community of international performance art, Routledge Performance Archive (RPA) comprises entries on dozens of entities, from historical to contemporary, enriched by commentaries by experts,” wrote Joe Badics for ccAdvisor. The world of dance, theater, and performance is represented within eight subjects, including workshops, rehearsals, master classes, interviews, and performances. The variety of the content is impressive, and the product is likely to evolve as new content is added. Capturing dance and theater interviews, classes, and rehearsals for future use is admirable. The commentaries and explanations are what set RPA apart from a source like Kanopy. The user will learn just by perusing. But this reviewer has some concerns, as follows: “users unfamiliar with the particular language of performance art may find not find the general search intuitive,” Badics wrote, “and some keywords may bring up only one result.” Using one of three browse headings is probably best for nonspecialists. In addition, and not unexpectedly, “the video quality varies from entry to entry,” Badics wrote. Transcripts should be available for non-print entries, not just some. The “Practitioners” and “Commentators” are arranged alphabetically, but some are alphabetized by last name and some are alphabetized by first name; “this is sloppy editing and can easily be fixed,” Badics wrote. Finally, North American users looking for local content should be aware that this is an international resource, with particularly strong representation from Europe. Though the spectrum of practitioners covered is impressive, “RPA is still limited,” Badics wrote. Summing Up: Optional. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

This review is a summary of a longer review by Joe Badics, Eastern Michigan University, originally published in Copyright © 2019 by The Charleston Company.

Shakespeare’s Globe Archive: Theatres, Players & Performance. Adam Matthew. Contact publisher for pricing.

Shakespeare’s Globe Archive (SGA) is a digital database preserving the history of the Globe Theatre during the period when it was designed and rebuilt (1970–1997) and covering the first 20 years of productions (1997–2016), as Joe Badics wrote for ccAdvisor. This educational resource contains 14 areas of digitally curated archival resources, including prompt books, wardrobe notes, show reports, performance photographs, programs, and oral histories, among others. To search through these items, users may take advantage of either basic or advanced search options, which permit visitors to specify certain criteria, such as play, author, cast, director, or production. Some search capabilities are also offered under the “Documents” heading on the landing page, through which users can filter all available documents in SGA by date range, document type, season, theater, author, or director. Additionally, the “Image Gallery” heading provides “hundreds of photographs of the construction of the new Globe Theatre,” while under the “Explore” heading, the “Essays & Interviews” section offers important historical background on the theater, which Badics proclaimed should not be skipped. To facilitate user experience, patrons can locate guides under “Teaching” (found under “Help”), with helpful instruction on how best to use the archive and correctly cite its contents.

Though SGA “will certainly appeal to any Shakespeare connoisseur,” its niche focus and high price tag may preclude libraries with limited budgets from purchasing it. Alternative databases include Shakespeare in Performance (also hosted by Adam Matthew), which highlights various interpretations of Shakespeare’s plays over time; the Folger Shakespeare Library’s website, which provides access to a wealth of information, including a digital image collection; and, which provides free access to Shakespeare’s texts. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. —Abstracted from, ccAdvisor

This review is a summary of a longer review by Joe Badics, Eastern Michigan University, originally published in Copyright © 2019 by The Charleston Company.