Preface - The Grove Dictionary of American Music

The 1986 edition of The New Grove Dictionary of American Music (Macmillan), edited by H. Wiley Hitchcock and Stanley Sadie, stands as a landmark in American music studies. The AmeriGrove, as it has become commonly known, was the first reference work dedicated to the music of the United States that was comprehensive in approach, academically rigorous, and written by a team of specialists. Its four authoritative volumes, examining the music of the United States in close detail and great depth, heralded the arrival and nourished the field of American music studies.

In response to the enormous growth of scholarship in American music spurred in part by the 1986 edition as well as to the wide-ranging musical activities and transformative developments since its publication, Oxford University Press initiated plans to publish a revised and greatly expanded dictionary of American music. By 2005, organizational and administrative planning was well underway and, by the following year, the advisory and editorial boards had begun to take shape. As the advisory board and editorial team gauged the extent to which the study of American music has blossomed, publication plans grew from an initial six to seven to, finally, eight printed volumes.

As in the first edition of the dictionary, “American” music here refers to musical life and cultures within the region now covered by the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and US territories. The present work likewise features coverage of the music-making practices of native cultures whose occupation of these regions predates European contact. The dictionary's inclusive definition of American music embraces music-making in the United States both by Americans and by selected foreign musicians, with special attention to Canadian and Latin American figures. The dictionary also contains articles on selected American musicians who have made their careers abroad.

This is not a general dictionary of music. It does not include entries on a complete range of musical terminology or of instruments, such as might be found in a comprehensive music dictionary; it does, however, include such terminology and such instruments as have a particular meaning or occupy a particular place in American music. The entry “Synclavier” concerns an instrument that is specifically an American creation; “Opera” deals with American traditions of opera composition, production, and performance. Dictionary entries on émigré musicians such as Arnold Schoenberg as well as groups based overseas, such as the Beatles, focus on their activities and impact within the United States. An American approach will also be seen in the dictionary's focus on scholars whose work has centered on American music; entries on music scholars with other specialties can be found in Grove Music Online.

A quarter century of musical activity and burgeoning scholarship has led to new articles in this dictionary on contemporary figures such as singer Mariah Carey and conductor Gustavo Dudamel, as well as on historical ensembles such as the 19th-century touring orchestra, the Germania Musical Society. Some articles in the present work offer updates of articles published either in the 1986 edition or in Grove Music Online (initially published in 2001 in print as The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed.), while many articles are newly written. Describing the relationship between coverage of country music in previous Grove dictionaries and the present dictionary demonstrates the way in which content has expanded. The 1986 edition of the dictionary included a substantial article on “country music” as well as nearly 90 additional articles on country music figures and topics. Grove Music Online contains a shorter entry on “country music” and a modest number of articles on individual country artists. In response to the sustained impact of and scholarly interest in country music, the present work features a newly commissioned, updated, and extensive article on “country music” as well as nearly 300 articles dedicated to individual country musicians, groups, and subgenres. While all subject areas have received close attention, coverage of certain subject areas has seen extensive growth, including African American music, Asian American music, choral music, cities and regions, concert music, film music, Hawaiian music, Latino music, Native American music, 19th-century music, music and dance, music education, music librarians and libraries, musical theater, opera, popular music, sacred music, and music technology.

The dictionary includes more than 9000 entries on significant people, places, objects, practices, genres, concepts, themes, and traditions. Entries range very widely, from coverage of ABBA and Albuquerque to zydeco and Ellen Zwilich. Given such room to explore its subject, the dictionary features not only general entries on broad topics such as awards, fellowships, patronage, and nonprofit organizations, but also devoted articles to individual patrons and selected granting institutions. The present work also features a newly designed set of entries that address musical life at significant junctures in American history, including the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the Great Depression, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, and 9/11. Repertories of American music are considered under such headings as “chamber music,” “choral music,” “percussion music,” and “piano music.” Many entries treat aspects of American musical life with significant traditions of their own (including “band,” “criticism,” “electronic dance music,” “improvisation,” “musical theater,” “orchestra,” “recorded sound,” and “tuning systems”). Various musical institutions—societies, colleges and universities, conservatories—have individual entries; those within cities that are entered in the dictionary are typically discussed within the appropriate city entry.

The preparation of this dictionary involved a large-scale and extended collaboration among individual authors, a board of advisors, and a team of editors, as well as administrative, computing, and publishing staff. The initial steps of our procedure involved dividing the content of the planned dictionary into separate subject areas and inviting advisory board members to suggest updates, alterations, and additions to existing content from the 1986 edition and Grove Music Online. Individual responsibilities were assigned to individual subject areas, purposely designed to overlap as a means of achieving more thorough coverage. Incorporating suggestions from the advisory board, a team of senior editors (each responsible for several hundred dictionary entries) and contributing editors (each carrying similar responsibilities involving smaller subject areas), in consultation with the dictionary editor, decided which entries should be reprinted with little or no change, which should be more substantially altered, which should be replaced in whole or in part by new entries, which might be omitted altogether, and which new topics should be considered for inclusion.

The dictionary does not aim at completeness—it is a repository of historically significant information, not a directory. We have tried to provide generous representation of American musical life across the widest possible spectrum. Despite our best intentions, errors and omissions are inevitable in a work of this size. We encourage readers to send any communications to the editor of Grove Music Online (


First thanks must go to the dictionary contributors, nearly 1500 in number, whose names, together with the titles of the articles they wrote, are listed at the beginning of the first volume. Many of them drew attention to additional material worthy of inclusion, reframed articles, and offered productive suggestions. Claude Conyers merits special commendation for substantially expanding the dictionary's coverage of dance. The editorial team also wishes to recognize the remarkable efforts of Jonas Westover, who contributed more than 400 articles, both new and updated, across the entire dictionary.

I wish to thank all the specialists on the advisory board for sharing expertise, insightful commentary, and thoughtful suggestions concerning the dictionary's design and content. A small group of advisors took on the challenging task of envisioning dictionary entries across particularly large spectrums of musical activity: Frances R. Aparicio (Latino music), Ellen Koskoff (European American music), Portia K. Maultsby (African American music), Josephine Wright (African American music), and Deborah Wong (Asian American music). A number of advisors offered their expertise on more focused subject areas, including Harris M. Berger (ethnomusicology), Philip V. Bohlman (music and religion), David Brackett (popular music, post-1945), Dale Cockrell (sacred music), James Deaville (scholarly approaches and Canadian music), Robert Fink (concert music, post-1950), Kyle Gann (concert music, post-1950), Elise K. Kirk (opera singers), Judith McCulloh (folk music), Martin Miller Marks (film music), David Nicholls (experimentalism), Carol J. Oja (concert music, 1900–50), Katherine K. Preston (19th-century music), Thomas L. Riis (musical theater and opera), Deane L. Root (popular music, pre-1945), David Sanjek (music publishing and recording), Magen Solomon (choral music), Amy Ku‘uleialoha Stillman (Hawaiian music), Timothy D. Taylor (technology), Judith Tick (women in music), Sherrie Tucker (jazz), and Paul F. Wells (country music). Advisors who offered expertise on specific groups of musicians included Lynne Aspnes (harpists), José Antonio Bowen (conductors), Mark Katz (violinists), Craig B. Parker (winds and brass performers), Ann Sears (pianists), James A. Strain (percussionists), and Graham Wade (guitarists).

The project flourished thanks to the tireless efforts of the members of the editorial team, all of whom volunteered an enormous amount of time and energy to shape and refine coverage in assigned subject areas, to identify and contact appropriate authors, and to edit and finalize submitted articles. Their work represents a tremendous collective gift of expertise, service, and commitment to American music studies, and I am deeply thankful for the opportunity to work closely with all of them. The following members of the senior editorial board handled large subject areas or shared responsibility for separate subject areas: E. Douglas Bomberger (19th-century music), Carolyn Bryant (musical instruments and instrument makers), Mark Clague (cities, regions, and musical institutions), Kevin Fellezs (Asian American music, Hawaiian music, jazz), Tammy L. Kernodle (blues, gospel, jazz), Daniel Goldmark (film music and music publishing), Jere T. Humphreys (music education), Beth E. Levy (concert music, 1900–50), Alejandro L. Madrid (Latino music), Travis D. Stimeling (country music), and Jacqueline Warwick (popular music, post-1945). The wide scope of the dictionary necessitated the enlistment of additional experts who shaped, commissioned, and edited articles in specialized subject areas: Elizabeth Aldrich (music and dance), Bryan Burton (Native American music), Raoul F. Camus (band music), Esther R. Crookshank (19th-century sacred music), David P. DeVenney (choral music), William A. Everett (musical theater), Emily Daus Ferrigno (electronic music), Thomas V. Fraschillo (winds and brass performers), Brian Harker (jazz), Loren Kajikawa (hip hop), John Koegel (concert music, pre-1825), Paul R. Laird (musical theater), Stephen A. Marini (sacred music), Drew Massey (critics and writers), Michael Meckna (literary figures), N. Lee Orr (organs and organists), Michael V. Pisani (opera), Arian Sheets (musical instruments and instrument makers), Joanna R. Smolko (popular music, pre-1945), Stephanie N. Stallings (concert music, 1900–present), Judy S. Tsou (scholars and librarians), Paul F. Wells (folk music), Ron Wiecki (concert music, 1900–present), and Stephen D. Winick (European American music). Sylvia R. Martin served as associate contributing editor in the area of sacred music.

In a number of specialized areas, expert advice and guidance was needed. The editors wish to thank Cari Geer Alexander, Robert Christgau, Paula Conlon, Richard Crawford, Kyle Devine, J. Richard Haefer, David Hildebrand, Edmond Johnson, Victoria Lindsay Levine, Laurence Libin, Thomas MacCracken, Rick Mattingly, Marie McCarthy, Brian Moon, Renee Lapp Norris, William Osborne, Barbara Owen, Ron Pen, Jody Rosen, Alex Ross, Sally Sommers Smith, Steve Swayne, Thane Tierney, and James Wierzbicki for their generous assistance.

Research assistants, working at the University of Michigan and other institutions, made very significant contributions to the dictionary. We are grateful to Chevauna Adams, Alexander Bonus, Leah Branstetter, TajRoy Calhoun, Joshua Duchan, Sarah Gerk, Mariah Gillespie, Andrew Hoppert, Craig Jennex, Laura Kennedy, Amy Kimura, Ryan Kirk, Michael Mauskapf, Elia Pepps, Christopher Paul Phillpott, Nathan Platte, Judson Cole Ritchie, Rebecca Schwartz-Bishir, Tim Smolko, Garrett Thorson, Leah Weinberg, and Catherine Wojtanowski.

The editorial team also wishes to acknowledge the various helpful forms of institutional support provided by Case Western Reserve University, Elizabethtown College, the Library of Congress, Millikin University, and Texas Christian University.

The primary editorial and administrative work for the dictionary project was carried out at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan, an especially generous host institution that provided consistent support for the dictionary. Dean Christopher Kendall served as a tremendous advocate for the project, as did Associate Deans Steven M. Whiting and Mary Simoni. James Borders, chair of the Department of Musicology, and my faculty colleagues were especially supportive and understanding about the editorial demands of this project. University funding for research support, student assistants, and technological support was provided by the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Rackham Graduate School, and the University Research Opportunity Program. University of Michigan professor Jonathan Maybaum, the principal inventor of UM.SiteMaker—a web-based platform that supported the project's extensive development website—provided vital design assistance, contributed specialized programming, and offered timely technical support throughout.

Deepest thanks go to Mark Clague, whose dedication to the project proved absolutely vital. In addition to serving as a senior editor, he offered generous and valuable advice over the entire course of the project. As project editor, he also designed an extensive project website that served as a shared database that facilitated communication between all participants in the project. The dictionary would not have taken its final shape or have been completed on schedule without his many contributions.

I am also extremely thankful to everyone at Grove Music Online whose efforts showed such devotion to this project. The dictionary would not exist without Laura Macy, who championed the project from the start and collaborated on the design of its shape, basic features, and editorial structure. Her leadership, vision, and boundless energy enabled the project to become reality. In her role as Laura's assistant, Catriona Hopton handled a variety of administrative details that also helped the project get off the ground. Tim Sachs next took over the reins as publishing editor for the dictionary, and he offered extremely valuable advice, publishing wisdom, creative suggestions, and patient support. As Tim's successor, Anna-Lise Santella skillfully guided the project to its completion with great care and good cheer. I am fortunate as well to have worked closely with Lucie McGee, Jenny Doster, and Jessica Barbour—all of whom provided timely, frequent, and helpful support in their roles assisting Tim and Anna-Lise. Kudos go out to Mary Araneo and her copyediting and production staff for their thorough, detailed, and consistent work on the dictionary. Thanks as well are deserved by Shira Bistricer for her assistance with illustrations.

On a personal note, I wish to thank my family members for being so supportive throughout the course of this project and, most of all, Saleema Waraich for her infinitely generous kindness, love, and patience.

September 2013