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Music History: Research Guide

A research and resource guide for exploring topics related to music history, including the Western Classical tradition, jazz and popular music.


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Brendan Higgins
Stan Getz Library, Room 296
150 Mass Ave

Research Guide

Welcome to this resource guide for Music History.


Use this guide to:

  • Learn how to locate articles through the library's search engine, Augmented Search
  • Learn how to effectively use search terms to get better results
  • Explore the databases and journals related to music history


If you have questions, please ask:

  • Your librarian, Brendan Higgins
    (contact details on the left)
  • Ask-A-Librarian

Augmented Search is the default search engine found on the library's homepage. It allows users to search both the Berklee College and Boston Conservatory catalogs and most Berklee-licensed electronic resources, including e-books, streaming audio, e-scores and full-text articles. Although the results are extensive, it's important to note that it does not include ALL materials available online to the Berklee community.


When should I use "Augmented Search"?


You should use it when:


  • You just need a few books and articles on a topic and you want to quickly search in one place.

  • You need articles on a topic and you would like to search across multiple databases.

  • You want a book, score, CD or DVD but you’re not sure which Library would have it.


Making the most of "Augmented Search"

Use the facets in the search results!  

After running a search, you can limit the results by using the sidebar on the left. We recommend limiting by:


  • Choosing "Electronically Available" for online materials or "Catalog Only" for physical items in the libraries

  • Publication date, if you need more recent research or date specific research

  • Source Type, such as "Academic Journals" for articles, "Books" or "eBooks", or specific audiovisual materials. 

  • Language, if you find that you are getting many articles in foreign languages



Other tips:

  • When off-campus, be sure to log in in the upper right corner of your results page with your Berklee OnePass - some results and content can only be shown if you are a verified member of the Berklee community.

  • Notice that not all results will provide a full-text version of the article. You may need to search further for a specific article. We suggest searching for the title again in Augmented Search (in case it's available through a different database) or searching Google for a freely accessible copy. If that does not work, you can request a copy through Interlibrary Loan.

Boolean operators are used to combine concepts when searching. The three Boolean operators you will use in searching are AND, OR, and occasionally, NOT. The operator you select will determine if the number of results you retrieve is increased or decreased. In most searches you will use a combination of these operators at various points in your search


  - Retrieves results that contain all concepts connected by the operator (AND)
  - Concepts can be entered in any order

  - Good for refining search results


Mozart AND Requiem AND harmony

[Dark shaded area would be the results]



  - Retrieves results that contain any of the concepts connected by the operator (OR)
  - Typically used to combine related concepts or synonyms
  - Increases number of results
  - Concepts can be entered in any order

Double bass OR Upright bass OR Stand-up bass

Guitar technique AND metal OR hardcore 



  - Use with caution so that you do not eliminate relevant results
  - Retrieves records that exclude the concept following the operator (NOT)
  - Decreases retrieval
  - Order does matter (e.g. the search statement "Film scoring NOT John Williams" will retrieve different results from the search statement "John Williams NOT film scoring")

Film scoring NOT John Williams

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Get library materials: scores, books and articles beyond the Berklee library with interlibrary loan (ILL).
First try to find it in our catalog, not there? please fill out ILL request form.
  • ILL is available for current undergraduates, graduates, faculty and staff.
  • Due dates vary and are set by the lending institution. Renewals can be requested via but are not guaranteed.
  • ILL takes time to come in give yourself 1-2 weeks for articles and 2-3 weeks for books and scores.


How do I get an article that the Library doesn’t have and isn’t available as full text online?

Request the article via Interlibrary Loan (ILL):

Most databases will allow you to email the citations directly.  When requesting articles from the library always email citations to, you must include your full name and email address somewhere in the message/comment.  Failing to do so will result in the request going unfilled.  Please use part of article title as subject title.  

 If not using the database’s interface to email a citation, you may email directly but you must include the entire citation.