The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians

Last updated

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
New Grove, shallow.JPG
Original titleA Dictionary of Music and Musicians
CountryUnited Kingdom, United States
Subject Music, musicology, music history, music theory, ethnomusicology
Genre Reference; encyclopedic dictionary
Publisher Oxford University Press
Official website
Publication date
Media typehardback, paperback, and online

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians is an encyclopedic dictionary of music and musicians. Along with the German-language Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart , it is one of the largest reference works on western music. Originally published under the title A Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and later as Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians, it has gone through several editions since the 19th century and is widely used. In recent years it has been made available as an electronic resource called Grove Music Online, which is now an important part of Oxford Music Online.

Encyclopedic dictionary dictionary that collects short articles on a wide range of topics both of an encyclopaedic and a lexicographic kind, arranged in alphabetical order

An encyclopedic dictionary typically includes a large number of short listings, arranged alphabetically, and discussing a wide range of topics. Encyclopedic dictionaries can be general, containing articles on topics in many different fields; or they can specialize in a particular field, such as art, biography, law, medicine, or philosophy. They may also be organized around a particular academic, cultural, ethnic, or national perspective.

<i>Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart</i>

Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (MGG) is the largest and most comprehensive German music encyclopedia, and among Western music reference sources, only The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians is comparable to it in size and scope. It is published by Bärenreiter-Verlag in collaboration with J. B. Metzler’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung.


A Dictionary of Music and Musicians

A Dictionary of Music and Musicians was first published in four volumes (1879, 1880, 1883, 1889) edited by George Grove with an Appendix edited by J. A. Fuller Maitland in the fourth volume. An Index edited by Mrs. E. Wodehouse was issued as a separate volume in 1890. In 1900, minor corrections were made to the plates and the entire series was reissued in four volumes, with the index added to volume 4. The original edition and the reprint are now freely available online. [1] [2] Grove limited the chronological span of his work to begin at 1450 while continuing up to the present day.

George Grove English writer on music and director of the Royal College of Music

Sir George Grove was an English writer on music, known as the founding editor of Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

John Alexander Fuller Maitland British music critic

John Alexander Fuller Maitland was an influential British music critic and scholar from the 1880s to the 1920s. He encouraged the rediscovery of English music of the 16th and 17th centuries, particularly Henry Purcell's music and English virginal music. He also propounded the notion of an English Musical Renaissance in the second half of the 19th century, particularly praising Charles Villiers Stanford and Hubert Parry.

Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians

The second edition (Grove II), in five volumes, was edited by Fuller Maitland and published from 1904 to 1910, this time as Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians. The individual volumes of the second edition were reprinted many times. An American Supplement edited by Waldo Selden Pratt and Charles N. Boyd was added in 1920. This edition removed the first edition's beginning date of 1450, [3] though important earlier composers and theorists are still missing from this edition. These volumes are also now freely available online. [4] [5]

The third edition (Grove III), also in five volumes, was an extensive revision of the 2nd edition; it was edited by H. C. Colles and published in 1927. [6]

Henry Cope Colles was an English music critic, music lexicographer, writer on music and organist. He is best known for his 32 years as chief music critic of The Times (1911–1943) and for editing the 3rd and 4th editions of Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

The fourth edition (Grove IV), also edited by Colles, was published in 1940 in five volumes (a reprint of the third edition, with some corrections). In addition to the American Supplement, [7] Macmillan also published (in New York [8] and London [9] ) a Supplementary Volume edited by Colles.

The fifth edition (Grove V), in nine volumes, was edited by Eric Blom and published in 1954. This was the most thoroughgoing revision of the work since its inception, with many articles rewritten in a more modern style and a large number of entirely new articles. Many of the articles were written by Blom personally, or translated by him. An additional Supplementary Volume, prepared for the most part by Eric Blom, followed in 1961. Blom died in 1959, and the Supplementary Volume was completed by Denis Stevens. The fifth edition was reprinted in 1966, 1968, 1970, 1973, and 1975. [10]

Eric Blom Swiss-born British-naturalised music lexicographer, musicologist, music critic, music biographer and translator

Eric Walter Blom was a Swiss-born British-naturalised music lexicographer, musicologist, music critic, music biographer and translator. He is best known as the editor of the 5th edition of Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1954).

Denis William Stevens CBE was a British musicologist specialising in early music, conductor, professor of music and radio producer.

The New Grove

First edition

The next edition was published in 1980 under the name The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and was greatly expanded to 20 volumes with 22,500 articles and 16,500 biographies. [11] Its senior editor was Stanley Sadie with Nigel Fortune also serving as one of the main editors for the publication.

It was reprinted with minor corrections each subsequent year until 1995, except 1982 and 1983. In the mid-1990s, the hardback set sold for about $2,300. A paperback edition was reprinted in 1995 which sold for $500.


Some sections of The New Grove were also issued as small sets and individual books on particular topics. These typically were enhanced with expanded and updated material and included individual and grouped composer biographies, [12] a four-volume dictionary of American music (1984; revised 2013, 8 vols.), [13] a three-volume dictionary of musical instruments (1984), [14] , a four-volume dictionary of opera (1992). [15] , and a volume on women composers (1994) [16] .

Second edition

The second edition under this title (the seventh overall) was published in 2001, in 29 volumes. It was also made available by subscription on the internet in a service called Grove Music Online. [17] It was again edited by Stanley Sadie, and the executive editor was John Tyrrell. It was originally to be released on CD-ROM as well, but this plan was dropped. As Sadie writes in the preface, "The biggest single expansion in the present edition has been in the coverage of 20th-century composers".

This edition has been subject to negative criticism (e.g. in Private Eye ) owing to the significant number of typographical and factual errors that it contains. [18] Two volumes were re-issued in corrected versions, however, after production errors originally caused the omission of sections of Igor Stravinsky's worklist and Richard Wagner's bibliography.

Publication of the second edition of The New Grove was accompanied by a Web-based version, Grove Music Online. It too, attracted some initial criticism, for example for the way in which images were not incorporated into the text but kept separate.[ citation needed ]

Grove Music Online and Oxford Music Online

Currently, the complete text of The New Grove is available to subscribers to the online service Grove Music Online. [19] Grove Music Online includes a large number of revisions and additions of new articles. In addition to the 29 volumes of The New Grove second edition, Grove Music Online incorporates the four-volume New Grove Dictionary of Opera (ed. Stanley Sadie, 1992) and the three-volume New Grove Dictionary of Jazz , second edition (ed. Barry Kernfeld, 2002), The Grove Dictionary of American Music and The Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, [20] comprising a total of more than 50,000 articles. The current editor-in-chief of Grove Music, the name given to the complete slate of print and online resources that encompass the Grove brand, is University of Pittsburgh professor Deane Root. He assumed the editorship in 2009. [21]

The dictionary, originally published by Macmillan, was sold in 2004 to Oxford University Press. Since 2008[ citation needed ]Grove Music Online has served as a cornerstone of Oxford University Press's larger online research tool Oxford Music Online, which remains a subscription-based service. [22] As well as being available to individual and educational subscribers, it is available for use at many public and university libraries worldwide, through institutional subscriptions. [23]

Grove Music Online identifies itself as the Eighth Edition of the overall work. [24]


The New Grove is often the first source that English-speaking musicologists use when beginning research or seeking information on most musical topics. Its scope and extensive bibliographies make it exceedingly valuable to any scholar with a grasp of the English language. [25]

The print edition of The New Grove costs between $1,100 and $1,500, [26] while an annual subscription to Grove Music Online as of 23 October 2009 is $295. [27]

The companion four-volume series, New Grove Dictionary of Opera , is the main reference work in English on the subject of opera.

Its principal competitor is the Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart ("MGG"), currently[ when? ] ten volumes on musical subjects and seventeen on biographies of musicians, written in German.


The 2001 edition contains:

Hoaxes and parodies

Two non-existent composers have appeared in the work:

Dag Henrik Esrum-Hellerup was the subject of a hoax entry in the 1980 New Grove. Esrum-Hellerup's surname derives from a Danish village and a suburb of Copenhagen. [28] The writer of the entry was Robert Layton. Though successfully introduced into the encyclopaedia, Esrum-Hellerup appeared in the first printing only: soon exposed as a hoax, the entry was removed and the space filled with an illustration. [12] [29] In 1983, the Danish organist Henry Palsmar founded an amateur choir, the Esrum-Hellerup Choir, along with several former pupils of the Song School, St. Annae Gymnasium in Copenhagen. [30]

Guglielmo Baldini was the name of a non-existent composer who was the subject of a hoax entry in the 1980 edition. Unlike Esrum-Hellerup, Baldini was not a modern creation: his name and biography were in fact created almost a century earlier by the renowned German musicologist Hugo Riemann. The New Grove entry on Baldini was supported by a fictional reference in the form of an article supposedly in the Archiv für Freiburger Diözesan Geschichte. Though successfully introduced into the encyclopaedia, Baldini appeared in the first printing only: soon exposed as a hoax, the entry was removed. [12]

Seven parody entries, written by contributors to the 1980 edition, and full of musical puns and dictionary in-jokes, were published in the February 1981 issue of The Musical Times (which was also edited by Stanley Sadie at the time). [31] These entries never appeared in the dictionary itself and are:

Related Research Articles

Symphony extended musical composition

A symphony is an extended musical composition in Western classical music, most often written by composers for orchestra. Although the term has had many meanings from its origins in the ancient Greek era, by the late 18th century the word had taken on the meaning common today: a work usually consisting of multiple distinct sections or movements, often four, with the first movement in sonata form. Symphonies are almost always scored for an orchestra consisting of a string section, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments which altogether number about 30 to 100 musicians. Symphonies are notated in a musical score, which contains all the instrument parts. Orchestral musicians play from parts which contain just the notated music for their own instrument. Some symphonies also contain vocal parts.

The Aeolian mode is a musical mode or, in modern usage, a diatonic scale also called the natural minor scale. On the white piano keys, it is the scale that starts with A. Its ascending interval form consists of a key note, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, half step, whole step to return.

Samuel Scheidt German composer, organist and teacher

Samuel Scheidt was a German composer, organist and teacher of the early Baroque era.

Alfred Einstein German-American musicologist and music editor

Alfred Einstein was a German-American musicologist and music editor. He is best known for being the editor of the first major revision of the Köchel catalogue, which was published in the year 1936. The Köchel catalogue is the extensive catalogue of the works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Stanley John Sadie was an influential and prolific British musicologist, music critic, and editor. He was editor of the sixth edition of the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1980), which was published as the first edition of The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

The New Grove Dictionary of Opera is an encyclopedia of opera, considered to be one of the best general reference sources on the subject. It is the largest work on opera in English, and in its printed form, amounts to 5,448 pages in four volumes.

<i>The Oxford Companion to Music</i> reference work

The Oxford Companion to Music is a music reference book in the series of Oxford Companions produced by the Oxford University Press. It was originally conceived and written by Percy Scholes and published in 1938. Since then, it has undergone two distinct rewritings: one by Denis Arnold, in 1983, and the latest edition by Alison Latham in 2002. It is "arguably the most successful book on music ever produced".

Opéra-ballet is a genre of French Baroque lyric theatre that was most popular during the 18th century, combining elements of opera and ballet, "that grew out of the ballets à entrées of the early seventeenth century". It differed from the more elevated tragédie en musique as practised by Jean-Baptiste Lully in several ways. It contained more dance music than the tragédie, and the plots were not necessarily derived from classical mythology and allowed for the comic elements, which Lully had excluded from the tragédie en musique after Thésée (1675). The opéra-ballet consisted of a prologue followed by a number of self-contained acts, often loosely grouped around a single theme. The individual acts could also be performed independently, in which case they were known as actes de ballet.

Rosa Harriet Newmarch was an English poet and writer on music.

Historical editions form part of a category of printed music, which generally consists of classical music and opera from a past repertory, where the term can apply to several different types of published music. However, it is principally applied to one of three types of music of this sort:

Händel-Gesellschaft German society that produced 105-volume edition of Handels work

Between 1858 and 1902, the Händel-Gesellschaft produced a collected 105-volume edition of the works of George Frideric Handel. Even though the collection was initiated by the society, many of the volumes were published by Friedrich Chrysander working alone. The wording on the title page of the volumes is "Georg Friedrich Händel's Werke. Ausgabe der Deutschen Händelgesellschaft" which translates as "Georg Friedrich Handel's works. Edition of the German Handel Society". Chrysander's work has been criticised, however the scale of his achievement is also praised. The collection's abbreviation of "HG" can be used to identify individual works by Handel; for example Handel's Messiah can be referred to as "HG xlv". For practical use, the HG system has been superseded by the HWV numbering system. The 105 volumes do not contain the complete works of Handel—with at least 250 of his works unpublished in the collection.

The first decade of the 16th century marked the creation of some significant compositions. These were to become some of the most famous compositions of the century.

Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians is a major reference originally compiled by Theodore Baker, PhD, and published in 1900 by G. Schirmer, Inc. The ninth edition, the most recent edition, was published in 2001 — one hundred and one years after the first edition.

Barry Shelley Brook was an American musicologist.

Mosco Carner Austrian musicologist

Mosco Carner was an Austrian-born British musicologist, conductor and critic. He wrote on a wide range of music subjects, but was particularly known for his studies on the life and works of the composers Giacomo Puccini and Alban Berg.

Anthony Hedges is an English composer whose output covers most musical genres. His orchestral music includes two symphonies, a Sinfonia Concertante, concertinos for Flute, Horn, Trumpet, Bassoon, Variations on a theme of Rameau, together with a substantial number of light music compositions. Works for chorus and orchestra include Bridge for the Living,, The Temple of Solomon, The Lamp of Liberty,, I Sing the Birth together with a number of large-scale works for massed junior choirs and orchestra which have been widely performed.

René Vannes was a Belgian musicologist and author of a standard history of lutenists, which is also used as a standard reference work on violin bow makes and archetiers.

Gustave Chouquet French music historian

Gustave Chouquet was a French music historian, music critic, and teacher of French.

Théodore Lajarte French librarian and musicologist

Théodore Lajarte was a French musicologist, librarian, and composer.


  1. The volumes of the first edition were published as follows:
    Vol. 1 (1879) A - Impromptu
    Vol. 2 (1880) Improperia – Plain Song
    Vol. 3 (1883) Planché – Sumer is icumen in
    Vol. 4 (1889) Sumer is icumen in – Z, Appendix, Supplement
    Index (1890)
    • Text-searchable copies are available at
    Google Books: vols. 1, 2, 3, 4, Index.
    • Additional copies (non-searchable PDF image files) are also available for download at IMSLP.
  2. The 1900 reprint is available in text-searchable format at the Internet Archive: vols.1, 2, 3, 4. (Vol. 4 includes the Appendix, Index, and a catalogue of articles listed by author.)
  3. Grove II, vol. 1, p. vii
  4. The volumes of the second edition were published as follows:
    Vol. 1 (1904) A–E ( OCLC   250954613)
    Vol. 2 (1906) F–L ( OCLC   250954626)
    Vol. 3 (1907) M–P ( OCLC   250953930)
    Vol. 4 (1908) Q–S ( OCLC   252807560)
    Vol. 5 (1910) T–Z, Appendix ( OCLC   252807569)
    • Text-searchable copies are available at:
        Internet Archive: vols. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
        Google Books: vols. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
    • Copies (non-searchable PDF image files) are also available for download at IMSLP.
  5. For the American Supplement published in 1920, see OCLC   1077116, searchable copy at Google Books, and IMSLP file #93522.
  6. Blom 1954 (1970 reprint), p. iv.
  7. For the 4th edition American Supplement published in New York, see OCLC   74811413.
  8. For the 4th edition Supplementary Volume published in New York, see OCLC   248932279.
  9. For the 4th edition Supplementary Volume published in London, see OCLC   493270221.
  10. Blom 1954.
  11. Scott Kennedy, Reference Sources for Small and Medium-sized Libraries (1999) p. 216.
  12. 1 2 3 Oestreich, James R. (21 January 2001). "Words on Music, 25 Million of Them". The New York Times . Retrieved 23 October 2009.
  13. The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, 4 volumes, 1984. ISBN   978-0-333-37879-3; 2013 (8 volumes): ISBN   9780195314281 .
  14. The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, 1984. ISBN   978-0-333-37878-6.
  15. The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, 1992. ISBN   978-0-333-48552-1
  16. The New Grove Dictionary of Women Composers, 1994. ISBN   0-333-51598-6
  17. Grove Music Online – online version of the 2001 edition
  18. Michael Lorenz, "'Franz Schubert' in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2001)" (Vienna, 2013).
  19. "About Grove Music Online".
  20. Oxford Music Online, retrieved 8 May 2015 (subscription required)
  21. "Deane Root to be Editor in Chief of Grove Music Program at OUP" (press release), Oxford University Press.
  22. "About Oxford Music Online".
  23. Oxford Music Online: listing at WorldCat.
  24. Deane L. Root, "A History of Grove Music", 1 July 2012.
  25. Article by Kathleen McMorrow, University of Toronto, in CAML Review, 7 February 2010, accessed 30 January 2011 Archived 7 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  26. Product page ISBN   978-0-19-517067-2. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
  27. "Grove Music Online Subscription Order Form" . Retrieved 23 October 2009.
  28. Foreign-language webpage showing the original dictionary entry [ unreliable source? ] Archived 19 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  29. Levison, Brian; Farrer, Frances (2007). "How the Danes Discovered a New Composer". Classical Music's Strangest Concerts: Extraordinary But True Stories From Over Five Centuries of Harmony and Discord. London: Robson Books. pp. 40–43. ISBN   978-1-86105-938-3.
  30. Foreign-language webpage for the Choir Archived 25 August 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  31. [Stanley Sadie and others] "The New Grove", in The Musical Times, Vol. 122, no. 1656 (February 1981), pp. 89–91.
Second edition:
Vol. 1 (1904) A–E, Vol. 2 (1906) F–L, Vol. 3 (1907) M–P, Vol. 4 (1908) Q–S, Vol. 5 (1910) T–Z, Appendix