Peter van der Merwe was born in Cape Town, South Africa. He is a self-taught musicologist, author, and librarian. He has written several books on the history of modern popular and classical music. He studied at the College of Music at the University of Cape Town. He also works as a cataloguer at the municipal library in Pietermaritzburg.
- (1989). Origins of the Popular Style: The Antecedents of Twentieth-Century Popular Music. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-316121-4.
- (2005) Roots of the Classical: the Popular Origins of Western Music. ISBN 0-19-816647-8 
- Frith, Simon (Winter, 1991). "The Good, The Bad, and the Indifferent", Diacritics, p.102, Vol. 21, No. 4, pp. 101–115. JSTOR.org.
- Formally known as the Natal Society Library, which on April 2004 was integrated into the Msunduzi Municipality and became the Msunduzi Municipal Library. see the officially published information as to Msunduzi Municipal Library Services
- see Robert Christgau review of the book and its underlying premises (originally credited - Village Voice, 1990), as published in Christgau's website (retrieved October 22, 2019)
- see a review by Scott DeVeaux, published in the American Music Journal (of the University of Illinois Press) Vol. 11, No. 2 (Summer, 1993), pp. 251-254, as it is available via JSTOR website
- see a review by Richard Middleton, published in the Music & Letters Journal Vol. 71, No. 4 (Nov., 1990), pp. 586-589, as it is available via JSTOR website
- see a review by Richard Taruskin, published in the Music & Letters Journal Vol. 88, No. 1 (Feb., 2007), pp. 134-139, as it is available via JSTOR website
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