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The New Harvard dictionary of music /

Other Authors: Randel, Don Michael., Apel, Willi, 1893-
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1986
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Review by Choice Review

The Harvard Dictionary of Music, ed. by Willi Apel (1944), won immediate acceptance as the principal work of its type in English; a second edition appeared in 1969. Like Apel, Randel (Cornell) is a medieval specialist: he edited the Harvard Concise Dictionary of Music (1978). With the assistance of 70 scholars, Randel has assembled some 6,000 articles dealing primarily with Western art music, but giving considerable attention to non-Western cultures. A number of essays on American popular music are included. There are no biographical entries. New Harvard's strength is in musicological topics: music history, theory, and instruments. These are authoritative, concise, and well illustrated with musical examples and drawings. Definitions of terms are dependable, although they lack pronunciations; some terms found in the 1969 edition are omitted. Less useful are articles on such subjects as ``Bibliography,'' ``Libraries,'' and ``Periodicals.'' Essays on music of individual countries are mostly insubstantial, with unreliable bibliographies-e.g., only five citations for art music in the USSR. Bibliographies are generally dubious throughout. Too much space is devoted to identifying operas and other named compositions, basic information found in many other books. An index would have made the volume an excellent ready-reference tool. Cross-referencing is unsteady too, so that fact-finding becomes in many cases a speculative adventure. On balance, and at the price, the New Harvard is a worthy purchase, recommended for all academic libraries-even those having the 1969 version.-G.A. Marco, U.S. Army Training Center, Fort Dix (end of file 2)

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

For more than 40 years the Harvard Dictionary has been an invaluable friend of librarians and the musical public, perhaps the most widely consulted of all music reference books. Its coverage was and still is limited to terms and concepts, but Baker's Biographical Dictionary has been at hand to cover personal names. While Baker's has been revised frequently, the Harvard Dictionary has remained largely the same text that Willi Apel conceived in 1944. The fifth printing in 1947 added a few corrections, and the second edition of 1969 was about 15 percent larger, thanks mostly to new articles by other contributors. The set remained distinctively the conception of one musicologist. It was an impressive achievement, particularly strong in its Germanic authority and in its coverage of Apel's specialties of fourteenth-century and early keyboard music, but weak and on a few occasions disastrous in areas far afield. Not only did the Harvard Dictionary and Baker's provide a more affordable alternative to Grove's Dictionary or any of the foreign sets; the two of them were also especially good for busy readers in need of short answers. However, it was clearly time for an updating. The new editor, a Cornell University musicologist respected for his work in early Spanish plainchant, has maintained the character and appearance of the work's predecessor but greatly broadened the coverage within a text not more than a quarter larger than the 1969 set no mean achievement. The names of an editorial board now grace the frontispiece, while the initials of one of 70 specialist contributors appear at the end of many of the major articles. Most numerous among the 6,000 entries are those on terminology, including musical genres and forms, performance instructions, and theoretical concepts, which are explained in a word or two or up to several pages. Longer entries have appended bibliographies. Entries for major geographical areas consist of brief summaries of their music history. Entries for musical instruments are numerous but are still a small fraction of the total in The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments (1985), and roughly a third as many as in Sybil Marcuse's Musical Instruments (Norton, 1975). Articles on printed sources containing lists of publications (e.g., Bibliography, Dictionaries and Encyclopedias, Editions, Periodicals) are selective but for this very reason broadly useful. A number of shorter lists (Cancionero, Chansonnier, Sources (pre-1500), Theory) address more the interests of musicologists than reference librarians. Entries for specific musical works come from all periods, if mostly from the standard repertory of the past 200 years; they appear in both the original language and in the common English translation. (Such entries, it should be remembered, for the most part do not appear in The New Grove [1980]. Russian works, it may also be noted, are cited under the English forms with reference to their originals, but in scientific transliteration rather than according to the Library of Congress scheme prescribed in cataloging practice.) Among the major works of our own day and recent past, a good case could be argued for a few missing titles, such as Einstein on the Beach (Glass), Estancia (Ginastera), Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima (Penderecki), and Treemoneesha (Joplin). Commenting on the currency of the 1969 edition, the Board (see RSBR, May 1, 1970) spoke of a time lag of about three years for current information. The new edition does much better than this in its bibliographical citations of new writings and infinitely better in its entries for the forms and terms associated with current music. Two hundred black-and-white drawings and 250 musical examples help explain the text. While the classic Harvard-Baker team persists on the music reference shelf, The New Harvard now has become the stronger of the two. Large libraries with The New Grove will certainly require The New Harvard as well. Notwithstanding the ve

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

Surely this indispensable tool needs no introduction; the first two editions, edited by William Apel, have served the music world only too well. The present volume, prepared by 70 noted scholars under Randel's capable editorship, contains mostly new entries; the scope has been greatly expanded to include better coverage of recent music. A work for musicians, students, musicologists, and music lovers that belongs in most collections. J. Richard Belanger, United States International Univ., San Diego, Cal. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.