Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music - now online!

There have been many encyclopedias and dictionaries for music of the Western classical tradition.  Jazz, rock and pop music also have their share of reference works.  When it was published in the late 1990s and early 2000s, The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music was a welcome and much-needed source for our reference shelves.

Well-known genres like Anglo-American folk, jazz, rock, pop and classical musics, while encompassing many styles and sub-genres have a certain uniformity in approach.  The wider music of the world, however, is breath-taking in its diversity.  Much of the music written about in The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music is literally far from the beaten path, created by musicians with no connection to the commercial music world.  Many of the world's nations have amazing ethnic and linguistic diversity.  The ten volumes of this reference endeavor to bring an understanding of this vast range of musical possibilities to the interested music lover.

The most frequent users of this reference set have been students writing papers, usually about the music or culture of a nation or ethnic group.  The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music has always been a solid source.  For non-students and non-researchers it works as a sort of musical travelogue that includes, audio, as well as bibliographic and discographic references for further reference.

We are now pleased to be able to offer online access to the entire content of The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music.  While this eBook offers the same great information, the access to this information as the printed resource, is not always straight-forward to use due to the translation of a book format into a database.

(click image to enlarge)

Of course, one welcome innovation that a database has is a keyword search, located at the top right corner of every page.  A more user-friendly feature of the database is the column labelled "Browse" on the left side.
  • All Volumes allows you to work your way through each of the 10 volumes.
  • Audio Albums links you to streaming audio of the recordings that accompany each of these volumes.
  • All People is an alphabetical listing of the people mentioned in the text (including links to the All-Music Guide).
  • Subjects delineates around 60 subject terms that the database has indexed.
  • Genres delineates genres and subgenres that the database has indexed.
  • Instruments allows you search by instrument name or browse by the categories of  aerophones (winds), chordophones (strings),  electronic, ensemble,  idiophones (percussion) membranophones (drums) and vocalizations.
  • Ensembles is an alphabetical listing of ensemble names in the encyclopedia.
  • Cultural Groups is an alphabetical listing of ethnic groups in the encyclopedia.
  • Places delineates the world by continents and country names. 

The online The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music is available to all San Francisco Public Library card holders.

The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music (Garland Pub., 1998-2002). - print and online

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