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Resources for Music and Dance: Sacred Music

Resources for the academic areas of Music and Dance, both online and print. Includes databases, links to scholarly, trade, and popular websites, and information on searching for print materials using the Library of Congress system.

Books on Sacred Music

Hymns, Hymnals,and Hymn Collections

To browse the shelves for hymns and hymnology at the Langston Hughes Library, use these guidelines:

Hymnology: BV301-BV590

  • This area includes books with hymn lyrics only (even though tunes are indicated), and books which discuss hymn writers and the origin and meaning of hymns.

To browse the shelves for hymns and hymnology at the Langston Hughes Library, use these guidelines:

Hymnals and Hymn Collections: M2115-M2146 

M2116 - Christian, published in the U.S. through 1820

M2117 - Multi-denominational and non-denominational, mainly in English, 1821-

By denomination (U.S.):

  • M2119 - Catholic
  • M2120 - Orthodox

Protestant (M2122-2132)

  • M2122 - Baptist
  • M2123 - Congregational
  • M2124.A-Z
    • M2124.C55 - Christian Reformed
    • M2124.D7 - Dutch Reformed (Ref. Church in America)
    • M2124.G3 - German Reformed (Ref. Church in the U.S.)
  • M2125 - Episcopal
  • M2126 - Lutheran
  • M2127 - Methodist
  • M2128 - Moravian
  • M2129 - Mormon
  • M2130 - Presbyterian
  • M2131.A-Z - Other denominations
  • M2132.A-Z - Multi and non-denominational hymnals (U.S.) by language, A-Z

Examples of topical subdivisions:

Other subdivision examples (linguistic, historical, geographic)

Hymn tunes (works about hymn tunes) Collections of hymn tunes without accompanying text are entered under Tune-books.

Other related subject headings:

Hymn writers Sunday Schools--Hymns
Advent hymns Women hymn writers
Easter hymns Canticles
Funeral hymns Te Deum Laudamus (Music)
Lenten hymns Old Hundredth (Tune)
Epiphany hymns African American Churches--Hymns
Shape note hymnals Christian Reformed Church--Hymns
Bible-Use in hymns Moravian Church--Hymns
Revivals--Hymns Anabaptists--Hymns

Sacred Song and Hymn Databases and Websites is an online hymn and worship music database for worship leaders, hymnologists, and amateur hymn lovers. At you can search or browse hymns by title, tune, meter, key, scripture reference, and more.

Center for Church Music--"Through edification and education, we seek to assist the church--pastors, music directors and key laypeople-- in maintaining fidelity to its biblical and historical heritage of music. Bringing together congregational singing and choral and instrumental music, our desire is to build new awareness and excitement for church music in general and the singing of hymns in particular (mission statement)".

JSTOR--Interdisciplinary but heavy emphasis in the humanities (including music). JSTOR includes only full-text articles from peer-reviewed journals. Many journals in JSTOR go back to the early 1900s (and some well into the 1800s), but recent issues (past 3-5 years) are not covered.

Sacred Music Publishers and Retailers

1517 Media--1517 Media, formerly Augsburg Fortress, is the official publishing house of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, also publishing for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada as Augsburg Fortress Canada.

Concordia--Publisher for the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

J.W. Pepper is based in Exton, Chester County PA, and has retail locations nationwide, providing sheet music, recordings, and performance aids for everyone from the student to the professional.

GIA--Based in Chicago, this publisher not only publishes sacred choral literature, hymnals, and worship aids, but an extensive catalog of materials for K-12 music education. 

OCP--Oregon Catholic Press publishes widely used hymns, hymnals, and supplemental materials in the Roman Catholic tradition.


Sacred Music Composers

Thomas A. Dorsey (1899-1993) 

Kurt Kaiser (1934-2018)--Composer's manuscripts at Baylor University Library

John Rutter (b. 1945)

Dale Wood (1934-2003)

John Wesley Work III (1901-1967) Link to biography at BlackPast


Harry T. Burleigh (1866-1949)--Link to biography at Afrocentric Voices

Robert Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943)--Link to the Nathaniel Dett website

Healey Willan (1880-1968)--Link to the Healey Willan Society

Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924)--Link to the Stanford Society

C. Hubert H. Parry (1848-1918)--Brief article from Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, vol. 4.

Fanny Crosby (Frances Jayne van Alstyne) (1820-1915)--Papers at the Billy Graham Archive



Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

Georg Frederick Handel (1685-1759)

Ignacio de Jerusalem (1707-1769)

Antonio Vivaldi (1655-1742)

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

Jakob Handl (1550-1591)

Hildegarde von Bingen (1098-1179)

Guillaume de Machaut (ca. 1300-1377)

Leonin (ca. 1135-1201)

Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (ca. 1525-1594)

Perotin (ca. 1155-1225)

Thomas Tallis (ca. 1505-1585)

Andrea Gabrieli (ca. 1510-1586)

Giovanni Gabrieli (ca. 1555-1612) 

Professional Organizations in Church Music

Gospel Music Association--Sponsor of the DOVE awards, this Nashville-based organization is an advocacy group providing resources and support for gospel musicians of all kinds.

National Association of Pastoral Musicians--based in Silver Spring MD, this is an advocacy group providing resources for sacred musicians working in the Catholic tradition


Copyright laws, in a nutshell from the U.S. Copyright Office

Library of Congress Copyright Office

"Fair Use" says that "any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work...can be done without permission from the copyright owner (Stanford University Libraries, 2017)".  Look here for more detail. 

Sacred Music eBooks