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We are excited to share our new Library catalog and search tool! We hope that you will find it easy to search and explore our collections. If you need help, have questions, or want to share feedback, visit the Ask a Librarian page.

Basic Music Research: Methods and Resources

Basic Research method, Evaluating sources, Citation styles and scholarly communication, basic music research sources

"Broad to Specific" Research Method

1) Start with an article in a scholarly encyclopedia for the field and read about your topic.

As you read decide how you want to focus your research. Pay attention to your questions, observations. Jot down key words, people, concepts.

From that encyclopedia’s bibliography collect relevant articles, books and other resources.

2) Consult specialized music reference sources.

3) Consult indexes for articles and chapters of books.

4) Consult your library’s catalogs for books and other materials.

5) Consult streaming A-V, online scores, and other materials online at Vassar and on the Internet.

6) Consult trusted “.org”, “.gov” or “.edu” sites; “.coms” with caution.

RESOURCES

1) Start with an article in a scholarly encyclopedia for the field and read about your topic.

As you read decide how you want to focus your research. Pay attention to your questions, observations. Jot down key words, people, concepts.

From that encyclopedia’s bibliography collect relevant articles, books and other resources.

General Music Encyclopedias and Dictionaries 

3) Consult indexes for articles and chapters of books. You can also browse music journals:  

Music-related indexes

 

 

4) Consult your library’s catalogs for books and other materials:

Consult the library’s catalogs for:

Books, scores, sound and visual recordings

World Music series:

A helpful resource for your research is the Oxford Global Music Series, which has books devoted to specific music cultures. Browse the list of titles in this series via the library catalog. 

Thematic Catalogs

Collected Works (Gesamtausgabe)

5) Consult streaming A-V, online scores, and other materials online at Vassar and on the Internet.

Streaming A-V

World Music videos

Online scores

Other materials online at Vassar and on the Internet:  the DISCOVER catalog

6) Consult trusted “.org”, “.gov” or “.edu” sites; “.coms” with caution

For example, to get ideas, check Wikipedia articles for "External links" to quickly find the URLs of composer societies and other External sites.