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Topical Guides: Music Research

Music Research > 1: About

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1A: About Music Research

Music research methodologies and topics are as varied as the many types of music and the roles they have played in the lives of all people throughout history. Music may itself be researched not only in its structure, form, and aesthetic, but also in its history, cultural and political significance, and even in its psychological impact. Music performance methods and the analysis of scores are perennial topics of investigation, as is the appreciation of music by the listener. The instruction of all of these methods, particularly performance and appreciation, remains one of the most studied aspects.

As suggested by the wide range of methodologies, there is significant overlap with a wide range of other disciplines, and many research topics exist within the grey areas between them. Supplementing one's research by making use of the resources listed in other net.TUTOR guides on this site may benefit many research topics. This guide will focus on music-specific resources targeting these general and well-established areas of music research:


1B: Of Particular Note for Online Research:

The field of music is, in many ways, behind the times in terms of the quantity and variety of information and documents available online. The lack of resolution of copyright issues has hindered the process of making recorded music available electronically. Large music libraries often hold vast collections of recordings on outdated formats, many of which are never processed to appear on online catalogs (and may only be searched for on cards!). Musical scores printed in collections are often only reliably indexed in print bibliographies. Large gaps exist in the indexing of musical periodical literature, particularly online, and while the content of many journals is also now available online, progress towards digitizing these journals lags behind many other disciplines. If space permitted, many other such examples could be listed. If a music research project meets with frustration, speaking with a music librarian would help not only to refine online research strategies, but to also explore the need to branch out to print-only alternatives.


Go to the William P. Gottlieb Collection presented online by the Library of Congress. Search for images of Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, or your favorite jazz artist from the Golden Age of Jazz. Images are in the public domain and free to use for academic purposes, but privacy and publicity restrictions may apply for other uses.



Pop Quiz

Music or images found on the web can, unless otherwise noted, be used for:


Correct answer: [NOTE: Score is not recorded]

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