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Many basic biographical and historical details-- birth and death dates, full names, dates of composition, details of parentage or training-- are pretty well-known and agreed upon for major historical figures. This information might be found in any number of reference sources, but with varying degrees of detail, and possibly with some disagreement. It's best to check across a couple of sources, when possible, to make sure they are agreed-upon facts.
Reference sources, like dictionaries, encyclopedias, and catalogs, present this kind of information in organized and easily-searched formats. Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians is among the most important and useful reference sources for music. However, entries may go beyond basic information and include some analysis or assessment. As you read, be aware of the difference.
In addition to encyclopedias and dictionaries, reference sources that might be useful include research guides and thematic catalogs. Try searching for your topic in Search@UW with the keyword "thematic catalog" or "research guide" added.
Reference sources like encyclopedias, dictionaries, thematic catalogs, and research guides, can be some of the best places to locate basic historical and biographical information. Instead of consulting general websites and online encyclopedias, you can find more detailed and reliable information through professionally-edited encyclopedias the library subscribes to.