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The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music

Product Description
An illustrated companion volume to The New Harvard Dictionary of Music offers authoritative articles covering nearly 5,500 figures in the history of music, from classical to jazz to hymns to blues. UP. Review
From Pietro Aaron to Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Don Randel compiles 1,013 pages of thumbnail sketches describing the life and music of 5,500 individuals who figure significantly in the world of music. Intended for “the musically incline… More >>

The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music

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  1. #1 by popmusicfan on April 17, 2010 - 4:31 am

    As far as scholarship for the buck, this volume perhaps is the best. As another reviewer wrote, it is an ideal companion to The New Harvard Dictionary of Music. In fact, over the past several years my colleagues and I have presented the two books to our top graduating music major award winner. The Harvard Biographical Dictionary includes excellent coverage of important figures from throughout the history of music. Despite the incredible value of this book, the one drawback it has is that it will always be at least a little out of date, no matter how often new editions are issued. Even musicians, professors, and college music students who have access to such resources as The New Grove online, however, will love the Harvard publications for their excellent scholarship, ease of use, and their price. While electronic resources from New Grove and Oxford themselves are of very high quality, there’s nothing like having this physical book for browsing. A must have for anyone with an interest in music history and the contributions of the widest variety of musicians throughout history.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. #2 by C. Nemec on April 17, 2010 - 5:23 am

    If you want to know what a composer or proformer means to music, or the contributions they made, this is the book to get. It’s the only one you need!
    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. #3 by David Sherman on April 17, 2010 - 5:24 am

    A great companion to the Harvard Dictionary of Music. Well written, comprehensive, and surprisingly complete for a sigle volume dictionary. Highly recommended for any serious musician or teacher.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. #4 by Anonymous on April 17, 2010 - 6:15 am

    Written by over 70 top musicologists, this splendid reference focuses on composers but also includes a generous selection of performers, theorists, and instrument makers, of all eras and genres, in nearly 6,000 entries.
    Biographical details are of course provided, with a brief professional resume, (with longer entries for composers of greater significance), an accounting of major works, and a discerning bibliography where appropriate. The authors mention lifestyle issues when they bear heavily on the career of the subject (e.g., Chet Baker’s heroin addiction), but the emphasis is on music, as it should be.
    Coverage runs from Edouard Lalo to Little Richard, Johann Friedrich Fasch to Johnny Rotten, so whatever the musical taste, this dictionary will be useful. Highly recommended for music lovers of all persuasions.

    (The “score” rating is an ineradicable feature of the page. This reviewer does not “score” books.)
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. #5 by Anonymous on April 17, 2010 - 6:33 am

    One word. Wow! This book, combined with The New Harvard Dictionary of Music, makes a great resource for serious musicians, amateurs, and students alike. The near 6000 entries make this reference the best for its price. I’ve used the Baker on several occasions. While the Baker is certainly more comprehensive, a glance at its price (~$90) is enough to make one think twice. The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music, with its bargain price, is a must buy. Couple it with The New Harvard Dictionary of Music (which is the same price as the Biographical Dictionary), and you will have an unbeatable musical resource at your disposal. If you are REALLY tight on budget, then perhaps you may want to check out the Oxford Dictionary of Music. It accomplishes in 1 volume (and ~$34 compared to the Harvards’ $54 combined) what the Harvard Dictionaries do in 2, though (understandably) to a much lesser extent. Nevertheless, the Harvard music references are still great buys, especially if you have a little extra cash to expend.
    Rating: 5 / 5

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