It was first published in 1878 as A Dictionary of Music and Musicians in four volumes edited by Sir George Grove with an appendix and index. The second edition, in five volumes, was edited by J. A. Fuller Maitland and published between 1904 and 1910. The third edition, also in five volumes, was edited by H. C. Colles and published in 1927. The fourth edition, also edited by Colles, was published in five volumes plus a supplement in 1940. The fifth edition, in nine volumes, was edited by Eric Blom and published in 1954. A supplementary volume followed in 1961.
When the next edition appeared in 1980, it was under the new name The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, and was greatly expanded to twenty volumes, edited by Stanley Sadie. The second edition under this title (the seventh overall), edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell, was published in 2001. It contains: