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Reference books on musical instruments and their repertoire available at the British Library

The bibliographies listed here are a representative sample of reference books available on the open shelves of the Rare Books & Music Reading Room.

Brass instruments
Keyboard instruments
Percussion instruments
String instruments
Woodwind instruments

Brass instruments

Baines, AnthonyBrass instruments, their history and development (London, 1976).
Brüchle, BernhardHorn-bibliographie (Wilhelmshaven, 1970-83), 3 vols.
Fasman, Mark J.Brass bibliography: sources on the history, literature, pedagogy, performance and acoustics of brass instruments (Bloomington, 1990).
Herbert, Trevor (ed.)The British brass band : a musical and social history (Oxford, 2000).

Keyboard instruments

Arnold, Corliss RichardOrgan literature: a comprehensive survey (3rd ed., Metuchen, 1995). 2 vols.
Bicknell, StephenThe history of the English organ (Cambridge, 1996. 
Boalch, Donald H.Makers of the harpsichord and clavichord 1440-1840 (3rd ed., Oxford, 1995).
Brookes, VirginiaBritish keyboard music to c.1660: sources and thematic index (Oxford, 1996).
Clinkscale, Martha NovakMakers of the piano (Oxford, 1993, 1999). 2 vols.
Gellerman, Robert R.Gellerman's international reed organ atlas (2nd ed., Lanham, 1998).
Harley, JohnBritish harpsichord music (Aldershot, 1992-4). 2 vols.
Palmieri, RobertEncyclopedia of keyboard instruments. Vol. 1: The piano (New York, London, 1994).
Palmieri, RobertPiano information guide: an aid to research (New York, London, 1989).
Praet, WilfriedOrgelwoordenboek (Zwijndrecht, 1989).
Reuter, RudolfBibliographie der Orgel: Literatur zur Geschichte der Orgel bis 1968 (Kassel, 1973).
Russell, RaymondThe harpsichord and clavichord: an introductory study (2nd ed., rev. by Howard Schott, London, 1973).
Schaefer, Marc (ed.)Das Silbermann-Archiv: der handschrifliche Nachlass des Orgelmachers Johann Andreas Silbermann 1712-1783 (Winterthur, 1994).
Sumner, William LeslieThe organ: its evolution, principles of construction and use (4th ed., rev. and enlarged, London, 1973).
Williams, PeterThe European organ, 1450-1850 (London, 1978).
Wolters, KlausHandbuch der Klavierliteratur: Klaviermusik zu zwei Händen (dritte, revidierte und erweiterte Auflage, Zürich, 1985).

Percussion instruments

Bajzek, DieterPercussion: an annotated bibliography, with special emphasis on contemporary notation and performance (Metuchen, London, 1988).
Barnhart, Stephen L.Percussionists : a biographical dictionary (Westport, Conn., 2000).
Beck, John H.Encyclopedia of percussion (New York, 1995).
Blades, JamesPercussion instruments and their history (new and rev. ed., London, 1975).


Altmann, WilhelmLiteraturverzeichnis für Bratsche und Viola d'amore: eine Vollständigkeit anstrebende, auch ungredruckte Werke berücksichtigende Bibliographie (Wolfenbüttel, 1937).
Ashbee, Andrew, Wainwright, Jonathan, Thompson, Robert (eds.)The Viola da Gamba Society index of manuscripts containing consort music, Vol. 1 (Aldershot, 2001).
Berck, HeinzViola d'amore Bibliographie: Verzeichnis gedruckter und ungedruckter Werke (Kassel, 1986).
Boyden, David D.The history of violin playing from its origins to 1761 (London, 1975). 
Edlund, HarryMusic for solo violin unaccompanied: a catalogue of published and unpublished works from the seventeenth century to 1989 (High Wycombe, 1989).
Harvey, Brian W.The violin family and its makers in the British Isles: an illustrated history and directory (Oxford, 1995). 
Henley, WilliamUniversal dictionary of violin and bow makers (Brighton, 1973).
Homuth, DonaldCello music since 1960: a bibliography of solo, chamber, & orchestral works for the solo cellist (Berkeley, 1994). 
McCutcheon, Meredith A.Guitar and vihuela: an annotated bibliography (New York, 1985).
Markevitch, DimitryThe solo cello: a bibliography of the unaccompanied violoncello literature (Berkeley, 1989).
Prat Marsal, DomingoDicconario biográfico, bibliográfico, histórico, crítico de guitarras... guitarristas... guitarreros (Buenos Aires, 1934).
Regazzi, RobertoThe complete luthier's library: a useful international critical bibliography for the maker and connoisseur of stringed and plucked instruments (Bologna, 1990).
Schwarz, WernerGuitar bibliography: an international listing of theoretical literature on classical guitar from the beginning to the present (München, 1984).
Straeten, E. S. J. van derThe history of the violin, its ancestors and collateral instruments from earliest times. Unabridged republication of the first edition, 1933 (New York, 1968). 2 vols.
Vannes, RenéDictionnaire universel des luthiers (Troisième édition revue et augmentée, Bruxelles, 1975). 2 vols.
Vannes, RenéDictionnaire universel des luthiers (Troisième édition revue et augmentée, Tom III, Bruxelles, 1985).

Woodwind instruments

Baines, Anthony C.Woodwind instruments and their history (3rd ed., London, 1967).
Bulling, BurchardFagott-Bibliographie I (Wilhelmshaven, 1998).
Gillaspie, Jon A.The wind ensemble catalog (Westport, Conn., 1998).
Haynes, BruceMusic for oboe, 1650-1800: a bibliography (2nd ed., rev. and expanded, Berkeley, 1992).
Hosek, MiroslavOboen-bibliographie (Wilhelmshaven, 1975- ).
Koenigsbeck, BodoBassoon bibliography (Monteux, 1994).
Pellerite, James J.A handbook of literature for the flute (rev. 3rd ed., Bloomington, 1978).
Vester, FransFlute music of the 18th century: an annotated bibliography (Monteux, 1985).
Warner, Thomas EAn annotated bibliography of woodwind instruction books, 1600-1830 (Detroit, 1967). (Detroit studies in music bibliography. no. 11)

Guide to music reference books


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