The Music Lesson (black chalk & wash on paper), by Winslow Homer (1836-1910). Image from Credo Reference.
For the student and scholar, reference can have two meaning. One, a source that you can refer to for answers, and also the source, or reference, that accompanies a book or article. A good encyclopedia article gives you the best of both. Try starting your research with Credo Reference.
The standard of reference work in music is the 29 volume The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd edition. It’s now the same age as you, but for scholarship it can’t be beat. It’s has morphed into the online world as Oxford Music Online (see center column). Check out the 10 volume Garland Encyclopedia of World Music for, of course, your world music class. Or explore other genres with St. James Encyclopedia of Hip Hop Culture or explore the roots of country music with Folk Music: A Regional Exploration. Or gain an appreciation of MPR with Classical Music: An Introduction.
Browse all music encyclopedias.
Remember to check the bibliography at the end of an article - a basic trick to build your own bibliography for your paper. Browse the master list of print & electronic encyclopedias available to you as a student for more great sources for your other classes.
NAXOS offers over 2 million tracts of streaming choral, orchestral, classical, & period music. Who can resist the Elizabethan lutenist John Dowland that Sting paid homage to in his 2006 CD Songs from the Labyrinth? Listen to John Dowland's "Can She Excuse," from Songs for His Elizabethan Patrons
Man with Lute, by Peter Paul Rubens, 1577-1640. Oil. Image from at Art Museum Image Gallery.