Cover: The Harvard Dictionary of Music: Fourth Edition, from Harvard University PressCover: The Harvard Dictionary of Music in HARDCOVER

The Harvard Dictionary of Music

Fourth Edition

Edited by Don Michael Randel

Product Details


$63.00 • £54.95 • €57.95

ISBN 9780674011632

Publication Date: 11/28/2003


1008 pages

222 line illustrations, 250 music examples

Belknap Press

Harvard University Press Reference Library


Add to Cart

Media Requests:

Related Subjects

When it appeared in 1986, The New Harvard Dictionary of Music was hailed in many quarters as the most valuable single-volume reference work on classical music in English. Now, still unsurpassed in the classical field, it has become even more valuable, with a new edition… The Harvard Dictionary now makes incursions into rock, pop and world music… This is all good news for music lovers whose tastes run to the traditional, the more so for any who might want to broaden them.—James R. Oestreich, The New York Times

The essential one-stop reference has been newly updated, making it even more essential. After all, how else are you going to find out what euouae are (the vowels of the words ‘seculorum Amen’ sung in Gregorian chant) or that you just missed Berlioz’s 200th birthday?—Mark Swed, The Los Angeles Times

The book—approximately 1,000 pages in length—is solidly accurate and refreshingly concise. Best of all, it provides a complete listing of all relevant terms, literally from A (Abendmusik, or evening music) to Z (Zigeunermusik, or gypsy music)… In short, the Harvard Dictionary of Music is amazing, wonderful, and highly useful.—John A. Murray, Bloomsbury Review

[The Harvard Dictionary of Music] manages…to live up to a sentence from its own entry on ‘Dictionaries and encyclopedias’: ‘The success of a dictionary is judged mainly on its factual details, completeness of coverage, and clarity of presentation.’ On all these counts, this volume scores very highly.—Hugh Wood, The Times Higher Education Supplement

The Harvard Dictionary of Music (Fourth Edition) is a resounding success… I can’t imagine how Harvard University Press can offer such a detailed and meticulously produced volume for $40, but that being the case there is no reason it should not become a much-thumbed part of every serious music-lover’s library.—James M. Keller, Symphony

Readers will not be disappointed with the fourth edition of the Harvard Dictionary of Music, long known as the essential single-volume music dictionary. Existing articles have been fine-tuned, and additions and deletions reflect new developments in musical scholarship as well as the changing world and its political boundaries.—K. A. Abromeit, Choice

Praise for the previous edition:

May well be the indispensable one-volume reference work on the subject of music—classical, ethnic, pop or rock… If you must know the difference between the Lydian and Mixolydian modes, you can find that lucidly described, but not to the exclusion of a note on the practice and etymology of doo-wop.—Herbert Glass, The Los Angeles Times

[Moves] impressively and easily between non-Western and Western music, integrating ancient theory and modern practice into a genuinely, and invigoratingly, global survey.—Christopher Wintle, The Times Literary Supplement

Its discussion of complicated technical issues is admirably concise and clear (see the entry on ‘twelve-tone music’), and some of its entries on pop music are both sensible and amusing… This book has proved of daily, error-free usefulness.—Richard Dyer, The Boston Globe

This single volume [provides] as full a range of non-biographical information as most of us are likely to require.—Peter Heyworth, The Observer

A genuinely indispensable book, readable, accurate, and completely reliable.—André Previn, conductor, pianist, and composer

Easily the most useful of all musical dictionaries because of its accuracy, concision, and ease of reference.—Charles Rosen, pianist, author, and critic

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500, by Peter Wilson, from Harvard University Press

A Lesson in German Military History with Peter Wilson

In his landmark book Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500, acclaimed historian Peter H. Wilson offers a masterful reappraisal of German militarism and warfighting over the last five centuries, leading to the rise of Prussia and the world wars. Below, Wilson answers our questions about this complex history,