Welcome to QNL’s Music Subject Guide!

Music is the only language that all humans understand without prior learning or teaching; it is also a major component in any nation's culture regardless of its progress status.

This guide provides an overview of recommended QNL materials on music and includes music recordings, databases, books, journals, references and other resources, printed or digital, that are accessible through different websites and platforms.. This guide is mostly focusing on western music. For Arabic music, see the Arab Music Subject Guide.

Please search the QNL Catalog to find out which of the recommended resources can be accessed in a digital format on the QNL website. The catalog also indicates where these resources can be obtained if available only in a printed format.

For study or general reference questions and further assistance on how to find relevant materials for your information needs, please feel free to contact us through the Ask QNL Librarians service.


The following databases can be used to search for articles, books, ebooks and other materials related to music. For a comprehensive list of QNL databases, please visit QNL Online Resources.

Music Periodicals Database
This online resource provides indexing and abstracts for more than 470 international music periodicals from over 30 countries. The database currently includes over 900,000 records, mostly after 1996.

Naxos Music Library
Naxos Music Library is a comprehensive collection of classical music with over 170,000 tracks, including classical, jazz and world music. It also includes information on the tracks and biographical information on composers or artists.

Naxos Video Library
Naxos Video Library is a streaming video library of classical music performances, operas, ballets, live concerts and documentaries.

Print Books

Below is a list of recommended printed books. For more books, search the QNL Catalog

Kelley, T. F. (2015). Capturing Music: The Story of Notation. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
Call number: ML431 .K45 2015
Kelley takes the reader on an entertaining ride through the history of musical notation spanning 500 years.

Maconie, R. (2010). Musicologia: Musical Knowledge From Plato to John Cage. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press.
Call number: ML3800 .M236 2010
By revealing the connection between musical analogy and history of science and philosophy, author and composer Maconie gives new insights into musical knowledge going back as far as ancient Greece and bridging music to modern times.​​​​​​

Rosen, C. (1997). The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
Call number: ML195 .R68 1997
This modern classic by Charles Rosen provides keen insights on the work and significance of three of the best-known classical music composers.


Below are recommended e-journals with articles about music, including research on musicology and the latest music news.

BBC Music
BBC Music offers news, interviews with featured artists and concert reviews reflecting the current classical music scene. The magazine contains reviews of over 120 new works in every issue.

Written for fans and music industry professionals alike, Billboard Magazine includes news, reviews and statistics for all genres of music.

Cambridge Opera Journal
Cambridge Opera Journal publishes scholarly research on opera in all its manifestations.

The official journal of the Society for Ethnomusicology, Ethnomusicology is targeted at a diverse academic audience.

Journal of Musicology
The Journal of Musicology includes scholarly research on a diverse range of musical topics.

Music & Letters
Music & Letters is a long-established British journal of musical scholarship open to all fields of musical inquiry.

Popular Music
Popular Music is an international interdisciplinary journal that covers all aspects of music.

Music Ensembles and Concerts in Doha

Music lovers have many concert options in Doha, ranging from classical music to jazz, pop and musicals. There is also a variety of artists and professional and community music ensembles that perform on a regular basis.


“Music has the capacity to create a greater reality.”
Daniel Barenboim, Argentinian pianist and conductor.

Barenboim, D. (2009). Music Quickens Time. London: Verso. Call number: ML3845 .B2696 2009

Barenboim, D. (2013). A Life in Music. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company. Call number: ML417.B2 A3 2013

“Music can name the unnamable and communicate the unknowable."
Leonard Bernstein, American composer and conductor.

Cott, J. (2013). Dinner With Lenny: The Last Long With Leonard Bernstein. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Call number: ML410.B566 C68 2013

Shawn, A. (2014). Leonard Bernstein: An American Musician. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Call number: ML410.B566 S546 2014

“I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones."
John Cage, American composer and music theorist.

Haskins, R. (2012). John Cage. London: Reaktion Books.
Call number: ML410.C24 H37 2012

“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher.

Liébert, G. (2004). Nietzsche and Music. (D. Pellauer & G. Parkes, Trans.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Call number: ML423.N56 L5413 2004


Guide to music contents in QNL Online Resources

You can find a wealth of music content, including recordings, videos of performances, and general reference or academic books, on the QNL Online Resources page. When looking for, start from these platforms. For a more extensive list, see the Guide to music contents in QNL Online Resources below.

In addition to the obvious music resources in the QNL Online Resources, many music contents can be found as part of larger and more general databases. This guide lists direct links to the music-related contents within those resources, along with noteworthy contents in music databases that are somewhat hidden. There is a focus on browsing contents rather than using the search function, which you may also use to find additional results.

Art & Humanities Database

Cambridge Core


De Gruyter ebooks




Oxford University Press Journals


University Press Scholarship Online


Children and Young Adult Resources:

NoveList Plus – (EBSCO)

NoveList K-8 (EBSCO)

SIRS Discoverer


Below is a list of recommended ebooks related to music. For more ebooks, search the QNL Catalog.

Byrne, D. (2012). How Music Works. San Francisco, CA: McSweeney's.
Call number: ML3916 .B97 2012
Talking Heads lead singer  Byrne illustrates that cultural circumstances and individual creativity are mutually rooted in creating music. At the same time, he celebrates the liberating, life-affirming power of music.

Dyer, G. (2009). But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz. New York, NY: Picador.
Call number: PR6054.Y43 B88 2009
In But Beautiful, Dyer combines writing about the music of modern jazz with photos, anecdotes and how he perceives the genre, all while giving insights into the lives of some of the most important artists who characterize jazz.

Gardiner, J. E. (2013). Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.
Call number: ML410.B1 G34 2013
This book takes the reader on a journey to explore the work and the personality of Johann Sebastian Bach, one of the greatest composers of all times.

Greil, M. (2014). The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Call number: ML3534 .M356 2014
In this music history, Greil explores the spirit of rock ’n’ roll through ten songs recorded between 1956 and 2008 by describing how each of them represent rock ’n’ roll as a thing in itself as well as through the story it tells.

Ross, A. (2008). The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century. New York, NY: Picador.
Call number: ML197 .R76 2008
Ross, the music critic for the New Yorker magazine, sheds light on the history of the 20th century and its music by weaving together numerous events in a dramatic narrative.

Sacks, O. (2007). Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.
Call number: ML 3830 S13 2007
Through illuminating and inspiring real stories from his patients referred to as “musical misalignments,” neurologist Oliver Sacks describes the place music inhabits in the brain and how it can affect the human condition.

Stanley, B. (2014). Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!: The Story of Pop Music from Bill Haley to Beyoncé. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.
Call number: ML3470 .S73 2014
In Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!, Stanley unravels the history of pop music through individual songs, bands, styles and musical scenes, from Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” (1954) to Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” (2003).