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The Oxford Dictionary of Music
Other title(s):
Dictionary of Music
Second edition.
New York : Oxford University Press, 1994.
Physical Description:
xv, 985 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Preface -- Abbreviations -- Designation of notes -- A-Z entries.
More than one thousand new entries have been added to the dictionary since its first edition in 1985, and 80% of the others have been revised. The scope is classical music and jazz. American nomenclature is used. People, terms groups, instruments and works are included in alphabetical order. Definitions and descriptions for terms and biographies for individuals are treated briefly. Entries for individuals include Dorsey, Foster, Gershwin, Gottschalk and (Scott) Joplin. Some general topics receive longer entries. This is a useful, general-purpose music dictionary. Recommended for secondary collections. When The Oxford Dictionary of Music first appeared, it was hailed as "without question the most comprehensive, detailed, reliable one-volume reference work on music now available in the English language" (Music and Musicians). Extensively revised and expanded, the second edition features over 900 entirely new entries, and many more descriptions of U.S. composers and performers than in the original work. Now with over 12,000 total entries, the dictionary remains the most comprehensive one-volume reference work available, offering a wealth of information on music and musicians from the Middle Ages to the present. As in the past, the dictionary's coverage is exceptional, spanning musical topics of all kinds. Arranged alphabetically and laid out in an attractive two-column format, the entries cover over 2,000 composers of all nationalities, from Ludwig van Beethoven to Stravinsky and Strauss (including extensive, up-to-date lists of their principal works); almost 1,800 entries on performers in all fields, from Beverly Sills, to Paul McCartney, to Vaclav Nijinsky; over 450 entries on conductors; over 2,200 definitions of musical terms and forms, such as "intonation," "reggae," and "partimento"; over 550 descriptions of musical instruments; entries on leading orchestras and music academies around the world; and information on critics, journalists, and other writers on music. Written to appeal to general readers as well as musicians and musicologists, The Oxford Dictionary of Music is an indispensable addition to the reference shelf of the concert goer, the opera buff, the record buyer, or anyone involved in music, whether amateur or professional.
Added Author:


Call Number
780.3 Kennedy 1994
780.3 KENNEDY 1994

On Order



* The most up-to-date single-volume general dictionary of music available in English* Written by an established author and critic on English music of the twentieth century* New edition contains 10,000 revised and updated entries.Described on its first publication as `without question the most comprehensive, detailed, reliable one-volume reference work on music now available in the English language' (Music and Musicians), Michael Kennedy's Oxford Dictionary of Music is now published in a completely revised and expandededition.The Dictionary encompasses musical subjects of all kinds: composers (for the majority of whom Kennedy gives up-to-date and accurate lists of principal works); performers in all fields; orchestras; titles and descriptions of individual works, opera, and ballets; musical forms and terms; instruments;institutions; and writers and scholars.

Author Notes

Michael Kennedy is music critic of The Sunday Telegraph, and an authority on English music of the twentieth century. His many books include Portrait of Elgar, Portrait of Walton, and The Works of Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

YA-This volume identifies and provides short discussions of terms, composers, conductors, works, singers, instruments, instrumentalists, and orchestras. Eighty percent of the original entries have been revised to include modern works, and 1,500 entries have been added to update this rapidly changing field. An excellent resource for music and history students. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Kennedy, a longtime British music critic and author, has updated and expanded his 1985 Oxford Dictionary of Music with more than 1,000 new entries plus revisions (in many cases major) to about four-fifths of the original 11,000 entries. Entries define and identify all facets of music from titles of individual works to performers, orchestras, musical forms, instruments, and composers. Identifications can be as short as one line (moll) or as long as four pages (Mozart). Much mention is made of debuts in various places and of first performances; almost no note is made of personal lives apart from music. Among new entries are those for performers Cecilia Bartoli, Evelyn Glennie, Hakan Hardenberger, and Bryn Terfel; composers Robert Moran, Andrew Toovey, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich; and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen. Many composer entries have added compositions, including such operas and musicals as William Bolcom's 1992 McTeague, John Corigliano's Ghosts of Versailles (which also has its own entry), and Andrew Lloyd-Webber's Sunset Boulevard. Death of Klinghoffer and Einstein on the Beach also have their own entries. An update to the entry for Paul McCartney includes his 1991 Liverpool Oratorio. Many 1990s dates of new compositions, debuts, first performances, and deaths are noted, including those of Copland and Bernstein. Entries for Carreras, Domingo, and Pavarotti are all updated, but no mention is made of the "Three Tenors" concert(s). A few people not included: Nadia Salerno-Sonnenberg, Ofra Harnoy, neither Wynton nor Branford Marsalis, nor Ida or Ani Kavafian. The Beaux Arts Trio entry still includes the names Pressler, Cohen, and Greenhouse even though they have left the group; the Juilliard Quartet entry mentions Robert Mann as the sole original member left while not naming others. The first edition of this title received an unequivocal endorsement in RBB stating that it was "indispensable to all types of libraries"; this new edition merits the same recommendation. (Reviewed Mar. 1, 1995)

Choice Review

The second edition of this invaluable ready-reference tool contains 161 more pages and approximately 1,000 new entries, compared with the first edition (1985). Many of the earlier articles have been revised and updated. Kennedy, a music critic, biographer, and scholar, remains the single author of the ODM and has improved coverage in several areas, including early music (particularly Italian personalities) and contemporary terms and figures. There continues to be a distinctly English flavor (if not bias) to the writing and selection of entries. Bibliographies are absent and lists of works, where they exist at all, are much abbreviated. As a resource for the ever-growing field of world music and for popular music the ODM is grossly inadequate. Several errors, though none major, have remained uncorrected from the first edition (for example, the second double bar illustrated under the entry "Repeat marks" faces the wrong direction). Variations of names, titles, and terms are fairly well cross-referenced. Despite its shortcomings and flaws, the ODM is a comprehensive and useful resource for accurate and concise definitions and biographical sketches. It should be a part of most general and undergraduate collections. B. Doherty; John B. Stetson University

Table of Contents

Designation of notes, A-Z entries