We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more



    1. Welcome

    Welcome to Oxford History of Western Music online Help Pages! The User's Guide and Site Help contain all you need to know about using Oxford History of Western Music online. If you still have questions about the site after consulting Help, please contact Customer Service.

    1.1 Site help

    This guide describes all the features you will encounter as you explore Oxford History of Western Music online, in the order that you are most likely to meet them.
    To find help on a specific topic click on the headings in the Table of Contents on the left or use your browser's find facility. Alternatively, you may prefer to read this guide in full as a narrative introduction to the site.

    You can access this guide at any time by clicking the Help link in the top right-hand corner.

    1.2 Other resources

    A number of other resources are available to users of the Oxford History of Western Music online:

    • For general information about the Oxford History of Western Music online, see About
    • Our FAQ contains answers to your most frequent editorial, customer service, and technical questions
    • The Tour gives you a visual insight into Oxford History of Western Music online’s features
    • If, after consulting these pages, you still have further comments, questions, or technical queries about using the site, contact our customer service desk

    2. Publicly Available Content

    Some content on the site can be accessed without a subscription. Information about the editorial content, general features and functionality of Oxford History of Western Music online is available to all visitors to the site.

    For an extensive survey of the site, see the FAQ and About sections, and explore the Browse section, which contains an organized list of all the content contained in this site. All visitors can view the Browse list, first paragraph and table of contents for each section, but access to the full content is only open to subscribers.

    Back to Top »

    3 Accessing the Site

    After your subscription setup is complete, there are a variety of ways to access the site.

    3.1 Automatic authentication

    Automatic authentication is the most common means of accessing the contents of Oxford History of Western Music online. Most institutions will set up their access via IP-authentication or URL referrer. If you come to the site through a subscribing institution, you will automatically be logged in when you access the site - you don't have to do anything.

    If you believe your institution subscribes, but you are not automatically logged in when you go to the site, please consult your librarian or library administrator.
    Librarians, you can find out about setting up your institution via the Customer Services page.

    3.2 Username and password

    If you have password access to the site, type your username and password into the login fields on the home page.

    • Remember that your password is case-sensitive.
    • If you have forgotten your password, click here.

    If you have problems logging in, please contact Customer Service. Some institutions require username and password authentication. If you do not know your institution's log in details, please consult your librarian.

    3.3 Athens access

    If your institution uses Eduserv's Athens service, simply click the “Login with Athens” link on the Home page to reach your Athens login area.

    3.4 Library Card

    Some libraries allow remote access to websites to which they subscribe. Your librarian can tell you if that option is available to you.

    If your library does allow remote access, click on the "Login with your Library Card" link to expand the Library Card field on the home page and enter your library card number in the space provided . If you encounter difficulties entering the site using your library card number, please contact your librarian.

    Back to Top »

    4 Personalize OHWM

    Register for free as an individual user with Oxford History of Western Music online and gain the ability to save your searches and organize your favorite content in order to reference your session at a later time.

    4.1 Navigating Saved Content

    Once you successfully sign up for My OHWM new options will appear on the top, left-hand side of your screen.

    Select "My Stuff" to access your saved content and searches.

    You can also access your saved entries or searches at any time by viewing the drop-down menus on the right-side of the main navigation bar. These drop-downs also allow you to access recently viewed items as well without using your Back button.

    4.2 My Content & Searches

    Sign in to your personal account on Oxford History of Western Music online and select "My Stuff" in the upper left-hand corner of your screen. This area contains all of your saved content and searches, the date you saved them and an option to delete one or many of each. You may access, view or delete any of your saved information from this screen.

    Select the "My Account" tab in order to access or update your login details.

    Back to Top »

    5 Home page

    This section describes what you can see on the home page.

    5.1 Site header

    Above the Oxford History of Western Music online logo the topmost toolbar contains links to administrative and information resources. These appear on every page.

    • Contact Us tells you how to contact customer services with your feedback.
    • Help opens these Help pages. When you click on this link, you will go to the section appropriate to the page you are on.

    Below the Oxford History of Western Music online logo the primary navigation contains additional links of interest to a user. These appear on every page.

    • Home returns you to the home page.
    • About links to information about the Oxford History of Western Music online
    • Customer Services provides help and contact details for questions about your purchase or subscription, and account management facilities for library administrators.

    The footer contains the following links:

    You can always click on the Oxford History of Western Music online logo to return to the home page.

    Once you are logged in, the Quick Search box will be available in the upper right area of all pages on the site. To start exploring, enter a word or phrase into the search box and click Search.

    5.2 Toolbar

    When you are within any type of content page, the left side of the toolbar displays the following functions:

    • Text size adjusts the size of the text on the page you are currently viewing
    • Print refreshed the window with a printable version of the chapter or section of a chapter
    • Save allows you to bookmark the current content in your personalized account. If you are not already logged in, the site will prompt you to do so
    • Email opens a new window with a form to fill out to email a link to this page. Recipients of the email will have three (3) days' free access to the page, after which they will need a site subscription

    Depending on how you reached the content, you will see some or all of the following tools in the larger part of the toolbar:

    • Previous/Next Result: if you came to the content page from a search result, you can use these links to navigate through the entries on your search results list.
    • Back to Results: click this link to return to your search results

    Back to Top »

    6 Search

    Oxford History of Western Music online features two ways to search content, from the Quick Search box at the top right of every page to the advanced search form available via the Advanced Search link located directly beneath the Quick Search box on every page.


    6.1 General Rules

    The following rules apply to all of the searches on the site.

    6.1.1 Exact matches

    Use quotation marks to tell Search that you are looking for a specific phrase and word order. For example: musical examples will return any results in which both the term "musical" and the term "examples" appear. A search for these terms within quotes, "musical examples" will return only results that have the exact phrase "musical examples”.

    6.1.2 Boolean operators

    Search supports the Boolean operators AND, OR and NOT.

    • AND

      Unless you tell it otherwise, Search assumes that you only want results in which ALL of your search terms appear. This means that there is an implicit "AND" between all your search terms. So entering: musical examples will return the same results as if you had entered: musical AND examples
    • OR

      You can use the OR operator to tell Search to return results in which either search term exists. For instance, if you enter: musical OR examples, your results will include any article in which either "musical" or "examples" exists.
    • NOT

      The NOT operator excludes documents that contain the term after NOT. For example, dance NOT minstrels will return all results for "dance" which do not include the term "minstrels”.

    6.1.3 Proximity and nested searches

    • NEAR
      Use the NEAR operator to specify search terms that you want to appear close to each other. Adding NEAR between terms narrows the search to look for content in which those terms are separated by no more than ten words. For example, rules NEAR harmony will return all results in which the terms "rules" and "harmony" appear within ten words of each other.
    • Nesting commands
      Boolean commands can be nested for more complex searches. Parentheses tell Search which expressions to evaluate first, before combining with other Boolean operators. For example: (musical OR examples) NEAR "harmony"

    6.1.4 Wildcards

    You can use the * and ? wildcards in most non-numeric search fields.

    • The question mark or ? character represents any single character. For example quart? will return results for "quartz" and "quarts".
    • The asterisk or * character represents any number of characters. Entering bead* will return results for "beads" and "beading".

    6.1.5 Special characters

    The site is sensitive to diacritical marks, and permits searching with or without their use. Thus, a search for melanges will return results that match the term melanges as well as mélanges.
    A search for mélanges will only find mélanges and not melanges.

    6.1.6 Case sensitivity and punctuation

    Search terms entered in all lower case will return results in both upper and lower cases. A search for romantics will return results that match both the variations "romantics" and "Romantics”.

    6.1.7 "Stop" words

    By default, Search ignores certain common words in English. The stop words we use on the site are: a, an, and, are, as, at, be, but, by, for, if, in, into, is, it, no, not, of, on, or, such, that, the, their, then, there, these, they, this, to, was, will, with. 

    Therefore a search entered as classic piano of the romantic composers will seek out the works "classic" and "piano" and "romantic" and “composers” and ignore the words "of" and "the".

    To conduct an efficient search for a specific phrase containing stop words, enter your words surrounded by quotation marks: "classic piano of the romantic composers"

    Back to Top »

    6.2 Quick Search

    The Quick Search box appears in the top right of every page on the site. Enter your term into the box and click Search.

    Quick Search performs a full-text search of the content included on the site.

    6.3 Advanced Search

    Search full text or chapter title by entering a word or phrase in the search field. Add new row(s) to include additional words or phrases and refine your search further.

    6.4 Search Results

    6.4.1 Search results ranking and ordering

    The search results you see on your screen are derived from a set of general rules, some of which are adjusted to accommodate the special needs of this web site:

    • By default the results of a search are ranked by relevance. This means results are ranked according to the frequency of your term/s occurrence in a document, relative to its occurrence in other documents. When more than one search term is entered, proximity of terms is not considered (except in the case of an explicit "NEAR" query, use of quotation marks, etc).
    • Searches use an implicit "and" between terms.
    • Searches are case-insensitive when all search terms are in lower-case, and case-sensitive otherwise.
    • Searches are diacritic-insensitive when all search terms are entered without diacritics, and diacritic-sensitive otherwise.
    • Searches are punctuation-insensitive, unless punctuation is also a common diacritical mark (ex: insensitive to hyphens; aware of apostrophes)

    Highest ranking is given to an occurrence of your search term/s in the titles and headwords for content. Subheadings are next in rank. Full text is ranked last.

    6.4.2 Navigating search results

    Control how your search results display by adjusting the number of items available per page and re-sorting your results by choosing a different criteria from the Sort By drop-down menu. You may toggle between sorting by relevance and alphabetically by chapter title. When no search term is entered results will only sort alphabetically.

    To refine your search further, you may wish to enter a new search term in the Search Within box located on the left-hand side of your results. Adding another term to your search will allow you to continue your search without the hassle of starting a new search from scratch.

    To remove a term at any time, click on the "x" to the right side of each term. Your results will automatically refresh searching on the remaining term(s).

    Back to Top »

    7 Browse

    7.1 Navigating Content

    To browse content within Oxford History of Western Music online you must select a volume (i.e. time period) from the Browse menu. Browse is located on the primary navigation located below the OHWMO logo.

    Once a volume is selected, the page will refresh to the Introduction or Preface of that volume. You can browse a volume by selecting the Contents link located above the Introduction or Preface in the left-hand table of contents. You can then view the entire TOC for the volume and choose a particular chapter by clicking on the page number.  (Page numbers have been retained in order for a user to easily reference the print version from within the online.)

    The volume's chapters are also listed in the Table of Contents located on the left-hand side of your screen. Once selected, the chapter will expand to allow you the opportunity to browse within that chapter. Choose a sub-chapter and the content will be available for your perusal.

    7.2 See Also Grove Music Online

    For users that also have access to Oxford Music Online, Taruskin’s text is accompanied by editorially selected links to relevant articles in Oxford Music Online. The selection of links follows the course of Taruskin’s narrative through each era of Western music. Links to Oxford Music Online are listed under the See Also headings that are found in the left-hand navigation bar.

    For instance, reading about Mozart’s symphonies in Taruskin's work, a user can click through the See Also links to the Oxford Music Online biography of Mozart, an article on the symphony in the 18th century, and an overview of the classical style, for further information.

    Back to Top »