Online Resources for Musicians during the Quarantine Era

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Note: we are now collecting available online events, courses and resources.. etc. for students to enjoy academic life in this difficult time. This list is by any mean far from comprehensive, but we will try our best to update it regularly, so please let us know any of your suggestions by leaving messages below or email:

1. Online Events

For online seminars / colloquia, my first suggestion is always the ‘Music Scholarship at a Distance‘, which is organised by our American colleagues. The seminar will start at every weekday 4pm EDT (make sure to check the time difference), via Zoom. Also, the online colloquium is accepting papers, so do think of submit something especially if you have any conference presentation that has been cancelled.

The best websites compiling UK/EU-based conference (in my opinion) would be GoldenPages. If you’re active on Facebook or Twitter, following the account of main musical associations (RMA, BFE, SMA, IMS, ICTM, AMS, SEM, SMT, SMI… etc.) would be always a good idea to keep yourself updated.

For those whom wish to be a better stalker on academic updates, then mailing list subscription will surely be your best choice. For those main Anglophonic mailing lists, I’ll recommend BFE, Musicology-All, AMS, SMT, ICTM and some more suggestions from SEM. The ultimate advantage of mailing lists is everyone subscribed (including you, that’s what I’m implying) can send email announcements, which will be far efficient and comprehensive. My last hint is: do register a new email address to subscribe, otherwise your mailbox will be flooded within (literally) one week.

2. Online Learning

If you have no previous experience about online courses, I’d like to introduce the concept of MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses). Those famous platforms e.g. Coursera, EdX and Futurelearn etc. One great pity is that most of the MOOC websites are developed by programmers, so they prioritise coding courses rather than… well, music. Most music courses I’ve found in MOOC are first-year introductory level course and scattered around various platforms, so rather than introducing dozens of platforms with mostly unmusical content, I’d suggest these two useful search engines instead: MOOC-List and Classcentral. It’s very easy to use, just visit the website, type in keywords (e.g. ‘music’) that you’re looking for, then everything will be listed.

I also have three quirky suggestions, as I found it useful but it’s not frequently advertised online. The best MOOC platform for music engineer is Kadenze. There is also OpenLearn, a platform developed by Open University for various material for online education, they even also encourage you to make your own course if you’re keen to share your knowledge. Another one is the LCM diploma, it is one of the several examination boards within UK, but the special feature for LCM is they provide diploma on thesis, which means you can submit a research paper and directly get the qualification without taking any coursework. For those fanatics who wish to accelerate their academic career without getting a degree, this will be a suitable alternative.

Update: I got some great supplementary information from Dr. Carla Rees at the Open College of the Arts (OCA), for some tips about online music teaching: The OCA also offers BA(Hons) programme and an Open Foundations, Students can enrol any time at and study at their own pace under the supervision of a one-to-one tutor. Feel free to contact Dr. Rees ( for further information.

3. Online Resources

3.1. General Information

Most importantly, beware that some ways of downloading e-books and resources may be illegal (what I’ve heard includes but not limited to Libgen, Scihub, Pirate Bay, Booksc and Scribd), so be careful and always check before you use.

What I’ll usually suggest first is, Wikisource and Project Gutenberg, the three main databases that I’ve heard, as well as a long list of other digital libraries. Another powerful tool is Gallica, a digital database with abundant resource from the Bibliothèque nationale de France. We British gentlemen seem to be more reserved as many digitised works have to be accessed via designated PCs, but British Library still provides a large digital collection, as well as its EThOS database which stores numerous MPhil & PhD dissertations (so I know where to find your embarrassing past, haha!); for me as a database fanatic, I also found that RILM and RISM Online Catalogue seems to be very helpful.

For both getting resources and academic connection, and ResearchGate are like LinkedIn, and with the additional feature of downloading your colleagues’ academic work. I would also encourage you to upload your own work as a contributor in order to help your peers.

It would be extremely helpful you have university VPN, as you can access much more resources via Google Scholar, Oxford Scholarships Online, Cambridge Core, Project MUSE and Proquest Ebook Central etc. For us musicians, those frequent-used musical encyclopedia such as Grove Music Online or its German equivalent MGG-Online would be life-saving for getting some initial bibliography (I’m still updating this list as there’re too many and very useful); so if you’re an independent researcher, simply make friends with colleagues with university affiliation, seek help from them and treat them vodka later on!

3.2. For Ethnomusicologists

If you ask for where to get online archives, I may answer without any doubt: ‘YouTube and Vimeo!’ – well, that’s surely a bad answer. But there’re too many channels on internet platforms that I’m unable to enumerate all of them. The famous large platform includes British Library Sounds, the UCLA Ethnomusicology Archive and Archives of Traditional Music at Indiana University. Please do let me know if you have other suggestions.

Besides, there’s an email circulated on SEM mailing list asking for suggestions of ethnomusicology archives online, where a few responses are already posted by scholars, including Various sources on Traditional Polyphony, Katherine Morehouse’s playlist, Bob Grafias’ Collection on Archive and YouTube, The Yearbook for Traditional Music published by CUP, Kanopy for ethnomusicology films, the global soundmap radio Aporee, the Ethnographic Video Online (may need library subscription), Deb Bakerjian’s Music & Memory project, Jennie Gubner’s Music & Memory service, the Apsara Media for Intercultural Education, Kit Ashton’s Channel on musicology etc. I’ll keep this list updated in case there’re further responses.

3.3. For Antique and Medieval Musicologists

Well, this is my own research focus and I surely know a lot of databases, but this field is too niche and will probably bored most of my colleagues, but anyways…

Regarding music in antiquity, many sources are actually hidden within the discipline of Archaeology, Assyriology and Classics, and I just write a few examples risking that the post might be seriously out of topic. ICONEA and NEMO-Online is a good starting point for Ancient Near & Middle Eastern musicology; EMAP for music archaeology; Perseus, Loeb, and other loads of databases for generally Classical texts as musical content are everywhere from Plato to Boethius; the MOISA database is a good one specifically for Greek & Roman music. I also personally recommend the reference list from Flutopedia.

Relatively, loads of databases about Medieval music are available online, such as Cantus Planus, Musicalia Mediaevalia, Cantus Database, MMMO Database, Motet Cycles Database, Measuring Polyphony, The Neumes Project, Medieval Music Besalú Digital Library etc. We have a great digital humanist who is in charge of various other databases, which would somehow be helpful for a good starting.

To be continued…

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