African American Music Reference

African American Music Reference

“A+ rating” Library Journal

“Highly recommended” CHOICE


African American Music Reference is a critically-acclaimed and comprehensive reference database chronicling the rich history of African American music that comprises more than 67,000 pages.

Editorial Advisor: Dr. Samuel A. Floyd Jr.

Content selection was conducted under the direction of our Editorial Advisor, Samuel A. Floyd, Jr. Dr. Floyd is the founder of the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago and was Editor-in-Chief for the International Dictionary of Black Composers. He has published in many scholarly journals, including The Chronicle of Higher Education, Music Educators Journal, College Music Symposium, Music Journal, and The Black Perspective in Music. Dr. Floyd taught at Florida A&M University, Southern Illinois University, Fisk University, and Columbia College Chicago.

Comprehensive coverage of African American music

African American Music Reference provides comprehensive coverage of black American musical expression from colonial times to the present, including blues, jazz, spirituals, civil rights songs, slave songs, minstrelsy, rhythm and blues, gospel, and other forms.

It provides coverage of a wide range of material types, including discographies, biographies, anthologies, encyclopedias, critical works, photographs and other images, lyrics, sheet music, chronologies, and textbooks.

African American Music Reference brings a new dimension to topics relevant to the African American experience, including civil rights, religious history, mining and plantation history, emancipation, regional studies, and many more.

Powerful teaching resources

Our collections include a playlist functionality to enable educators to create, annotate, and share thematic playlists of recordings to support their teaching needs.

Example playlists based around key musical concepts

Our customers actively use playlists to support teaching

Key features

  • Advanced search: Articles are indexed for instrument, person, genre, ensemble, organization, place, language, cultural group, and other general topics.
  • Liner notes: Collection includes detailed liner notes for the entire output of Document Records, along with individually indexed images.
  • Custom playlists: Users can create, annotate, and share playlists, and access a library of playlists created by other users, including themed playlists created by our editor.
  • Permanent URLs: All reference works and playlists can be cited on permanent URLs.
  • Cross-search: Reference works can be cross-searched alongside our related audio, video, scores and reference material to provide a powerful tool for music research.