This guide is designed to help you find biographical information about composers and musicians. It will give you
an overview of reference books and search strategies. You might find this helpful in browsing the stacks or for
finding a specific tool that matches your needs. Please consult Voyager for complete holdings information and ask
the reference assistant for help if needed.

Suggested Call Numbers for Shelf Browsing:
Below are general call number ranges. For specific call numbers, consult the Library of Congress Classification in
the orange book at the Reference Desk, and/or Voyager.

ML (Literature on Music)
ML100 Music Dictionaries and Encyclopedias, General, all languages
ML101 Music Dictionaries and Encyclopedias, by Region or Country A-Z
ML102 Music Dictionaries and Encyclopedias, by Topic A-Z
ML105 Music Dictionaries and Encyclopedias, Bio-Bibliographical
ML106 Music Dictionaries and Encyclopedias, Bio-Bibliographical, by Country A-Z
ML134 Thematic Catalogs, Bio-Bibliographies, Guides to Research, by composer’s last name A-Z
ML156.5 Discographies of composers, by composer’s last name A-Z
ML385 Collective Biographies, General
ML390 Collective Biographies, Composers
ML395-399 Collective Biographies, Instrumentalists
ML400 Collective Biographies, Singers
ML402 Collective Biographies, Conductors
ML410 Individual Biographies, Composers, by last name A-Z
ML416 Individual Biographies, Organists, by last name A-Z
ML417 Individual Biographies, Pianists, by last name A-Z
ML418 Individual Biographies, String players, by last name A-Z
ML 420 Individual Biographies, Singers, by last name A-Z
ML 422 Individual Biographies, Conductors, by last name A-Z
MT90-146 Analysis and appreciation of musical works, by genre or by composer

Subject Searching

If looking for a particular composer or performer, search for the individual’s last name and then first name as a
Subject Heading. Most biographies will be entered under the name of the composer, but more specialized studies
can be found under the subdivision, Criticisim and interpretation.

Selected Bibliography of Reference Books for Biography

Grove Online (
Open Directory Project (
Necrology of Musicians (


Compiled by David Thurmaier, 7/97; Rev. by Jim Farrington, 9/99.