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Tips for Oxford Music Online Users

This tip sheet is designed to help users navigate Oxford Music Online and make the most of its content. We encourage you to learn more by taking a Guided Tour or by visiting the context-sensitive Help page for answers to specific questions.

Table of Contents

Search a Specific Source (e.g., Grove only)
Search within Articles
Search Results
Grove Opera and Grove Jazz Articles
Article Structure and Display
Works List
Additional Information


In order to become familiar with the content and resources available throughout Oxford Music Online, users may explore the site in a number of different ways:

  • Browse Articles: Click on "Biographies," "Subject Entries," or "All Content" at the top of any page, and the site will direct you to the browse feature of Oxford Music Online. From here you can expand the selection of articles shown by clicking the plus [+] sign to reveal various topical subcategories. You can then choose which type of person(s) or subject(s) you are looking for by checking the appropriate boxes, and the site will generate a comprehensive list of articles matching your criteria. See the section on Browse below for more details.
  • Tools and Resources: The Tools and Resources page provides links to various supplementary content pages, including an abbreviations index, music timelines, topical guides, research resources, a guide to musical examples, and more.
  • Sibelius Guide: The Sibelius Guide provides a full list of Grove articles that feature Sibelius-enabled examples, as well as separate lists for examples illustrating particular concepts and examples illustrating people.


The Browse feature of Oxford Music Online allows you to navigate alphabetical lists of all entries on the site. Start browsing at any time by selecting the type of content from the top of the page:

Browse bar found at the top of each page

Select ALL CONTENT to view a full list of articles, or choose BIOGRAPHIES or SUBJECT ENTRIES to list articles only of those types.

Source title and topic filters allow you to narrow your search further. To view a list of content from specific sources (e.g., only Grove Music Online), check the appropriate box(es) on the left side of the Browse Results page and click "Go." To view content within a particular subject area, click the plus [+] sign to reveal various topical subcategories. These filters—originally defined by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrell, editors of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd edition—allow you to browse articles in subcategories ranging from Theory Terms to Music and Religious Ritual.

As part of your Grove Music Online subscription, you also have access to the full texts of The Oxford Companion to Music and The Oxford Dictionary of Music. Unless you use the source filter to view content only from a specific title, articles from all of these works will be displayed together in the Browse Results. The source is clearly displayed for every entry:

Browse results showing different sources


Grove Music Online's search function supports the use of boolean operators, wildcards, and other common search tactics. Please see the General Search Tips section (5.2.1) of Help for more useful information about structuring your search.

The fastest way to search Oxford Music Online is to type terms into the Quick Search box, located in the top-right corner of every page:

Quick Search box found in the top right corner of each page

By default, Quick Search will conduct a full-text search of every source available in OMO (including Grove Music Online, The Oxford Companion to Music, The Oxford Dictionary of Music, and the Encyclopedia of Popular Music for users with access to this title). You can also limit your search to only Grove Music Online by checking the tick box below the search field, and this preference will then persist throughout your session unless you change it.

The site also provides an Advanced Search feature to allow for more specific searches. Click the Advanced Search link below the Quick Search box and choose from among the following options:

  • Main Search: Conduct full-text searches of all content, or search for specific entry terms, for contributors, and in the text of bibliographies and works lists.
  • Biography Search: Search biographical articles by the subject’s name, occupation, nationality, and year or place of birth and/or death.
  • Bibliography Search: Search for keywords in the text of bibliographies, with additional fields available for Author/Editor, Book/Journal Title, Chapter/Article Title, and Year of Publication.
  • Contributors: Contributors (e.g., authors of individual entries) can be searched using the Main Search section of Advanced Search.
  • Works: The full text of Works Lists can also be searched in the Main Search section of Advanced Search.

Please visit the Advanced Search section (5.3) of Help for more tips and examples.

An additional benefit of Advanced Search is the ability to limit your search to particular source(s) (e.g., only Grove Music Online and The Oxford Companion to Music) and/or topic(s) (e.g., People in History or Musical Works). For more information on structuring your search in this way, please see below or visit the Searching a Specific Source Title and Topic section (5.3.1) of Help.

Searching a Specific Source (e.g., Grove Only)

One of the many advantages of the Oxford Music Online platform is the ability to cross-search a number of different music reference works easily. However, there may be times when you would prefer to focus only on content from one or two sources. Here are four ways to limit your search to a particular source:

  • Use the Quick Search box found in the top-right corner of any page, and search only within Grove Music Online by checking the tick box below the search field.

Quick search box

  • Use the Search Box in the center of the home page, and select your titles by checking the appropriate boxes below.

Center search box on home page

Refining sources in Advanced Search

  • Use the Search Box available on any of the Browse pages if you have already limited your browse results to a particular title.

Browse search box

Search within Articles

You may also choose to search within the full text of a single article, which is particularly helpful when viewing long articles spread over multiple pages (e.g., large country articles or articles on families).

The "search within this article" box is located at the top left of every entry page. Click on the plus [+] sign to open the search box, enter your term(s) and click "search." The search box expands to display a convenient list of search hits accompanied by headings to provide context, and the search results will be highlighted in the full text of the article (a feature which may be turned on or off).

Searching within an article

Search Results

Oxford Music Online orders search results in the following manner:

  • Articles whose titles (or alternate spellings) directly match your original search term(s) will be listed first.
  • Articles containing a section heading that directly matches your original search term(s) will be listed second.
  • Articles will then be listed in order of the "density" of your original search term(s) in the article. This is calculated by examining the number of times your original search term(s) appear in relation to the length of the article.
  • Assuming two articles equally meet one of the criteria above (e.g., there are two articles entitled "Beethoven"), biographies will be listed before subject entries, and Grove Music Online content will be listed before other content.

Each result will indicate the name of the article, the type of content, and the article's source (e.g., Grove Music Online):

Search result

For large Grove Music Online articles that have been split into subsections, the results list will include results for the main entry title as well as the subtitles for each of the subsections that match your search criteria.

For example, in a search for Mozart, the main family article ("Mozart") will be listed in the search results, as will the article sections for each family member ("Mozart: (3) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart"). You can easily access the main article by opening one of the subsections and navigating through the article's table of contents, which is always located to the left of the article text.

As with the Browse and Advanced Search pages, the source and topic filters are also available when viewing your search results. If you find that your search has returned too many results, refining by source (e.g., Grove Music Online) and/or topic(s) (e.g., Instrument Makers) is an efficient way to find what you are looking for.

Grove Opera and Grove Jazz Articles within Grove Music Online

The core content of Grove Music Online is made up of articles from several Grove print dictionaries along with articles commissioned for online updates that are not available in print. In order to make Grove Music Online a living, up-to-date resource while maintaining the high standards of intellectual integrity for which Grove is known, we have established one “primary” article on every subject in the dictionary. When there is an article on a subject in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd edition, that article is almost always shown as the primary article. Articles on the same subject from other Grove dictionaries (currently Opera, Jazz, and American Music) are available on the site through a link from the primary article. These articles are referred to as “archived” because they are static articles, not subject to updating. Where the Jazz, Opera, or American Music article is the most comprehensive and up to date, it is primary and the New Grove II article is archived.

Grove Music Online articles that link to archived Opera, Jazz, or American Music content are noted on Search Results and Browse Results pages with an icon:

Search result showing a primary article with secondary article icon

Except in cases in which they have been designated as the primary entry, Grove Opera, Grove Jazz, and American Music articles are not directly available from Search Results or Browse Results pages. The only way to access them is through the main Grove Music Online article page:

Link to secondary article

Article Structure and Display

Article pages in Oxford Music Online are designed to convey relevant information about each entry clearly and consistently. Here is an example of the heading at the top of an article page:

Navigational bar

The article's source (here, Grove Music Online) is prominently displayed over the article title. The Article tab allows you to return to the main article text at any time, and additional tabs such as Works, Multimedia, and Related Content appear when available. The Multimedia tab contains illustrations and sounds, while the Related Content tab provides links to related articles in Oxford Music Online and to external resources.

Websites that are of sufficient value for full citation are listed in the article’s bibliography. In addition, Oxford Music Online has established partnerships with Classical Music Library, Digital Recordings in American Music (DRAM), and RILM abstracts in music literature. Links to each of these sites are provided from relevant articles for subscribers to these sites.

Important article information, including contributor(s), source information, and the date the article was updated, is prominently displayed in a light-blue box at the top left of each article:

Important article information found at the top left of each article

Another important part of the article page is the table of contents, which provides for easy navigation within articles. The table of contents appears on the left side of the page as a collapsible (–) and expandable (+) list:

Article table of contents

Click on the title of each section to jump to that heading in the article.

N.B.: If the expandable list boxes disappear from the table of contents, click on the “Article” tab to make them reappear.

Within articles, all standard Grove abbreviations will appear as underlined, meaning that you may mouse over them to get more information; clicking on any abbreviation will take you to a list of abbreviations that appear within the article you are viewing.

Works Lists

Composers' works lists are accessible by clicking on the Works tab at the top of the article. Links to different sections of the works lists are also listed within the article's table of contents:

Works list sections in the table of contents

Within works lists, RISM sigla will appear as underlined, meaning that you may mouse over them to get more information; clicking on underlined or highlighted abbreviations will also take you directly to its listing on the abbreviations page for the article you are viewing. Some abbreviations have not yet been made into links, but the full list of abbreviations is always available on the abbreviations page (see below). An asterisk next to the sigla or the name of the collection denotes an autograph.


The list of abbreviations found in Grove Music Online can be reached from the Tools and Resources page. Abbreviations are divided into three categories: general terms, bibliographical abbreviations, and library sigla. All standard Grove abbreviations appear in articles as underlined or highlighted, meaning that you may mouse over them to get more information:

Abbreviations mouse-over

Clicking on any abbreviation will take you directly to a list of abbreviations found in the article you are viewing.

Additional Information

About Oxford Music Online
About Grove Music Online
Frequently Asked Questions
Oxford Music Online Guided Tour
Oxford Music Online Help

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