Talk about your special interest reference works;The New Grove Dictionary of American Music qualifies with a vengeance. This set, in four hefty volumes, is not one of those that no home should be without. But if your interests run strongly toward American music, you'll find it useful, interesting, and informative. Note that "American music" in this context is not strictly of the sort commonly known as "classical"; the editors have included folk, jazz, popular, and performance art. (One set of opposing pages in Volume 1, chosen at random, offers details on the disparate likes of Luciano Berio--concentrating on his American years--the city of Berkeley, Busby Berkeley, Berklee College, the Berkshire Music Center, and Irving Berlin.) It makes the books useful for the writer or academic, and they're also fun to riffle through at random. One caveat: the set is now more than a decade old, and anyone whose interest lies strictly in the 1990s should turn elsewhere for information.
From Library Journal
One can only use the highest superlatives to describe this major reference work. Building on The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians ( LJ 12/15/80), the thoroughly revised sixth edition of a longstanding reference, the present work is a much-needed guide to our national music. The style is both elegant and scholarly, and though the format follows that of other New Grove publications, the typography is significantly better, the margins wider, and the photographs sharper. All phases of American musicserious, popular, jazz, and folkare superbly covered by outstanding specialists. In particular, the articles on regional music, American composers and performers, publishing, periodicals, libraries, and American cities will set the standard for years to come. A work that will not easily be superseded. William Shank, CUNY Graduate Sch. Lib.
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