This guide provides research tips and selected resources for studies in music

Identifying Literature about Music

Secondary Sources:

  • Critique, interpret, or evaluate primary sources* such as scores, recordings, and performances 
  • You will likely use many secondary sources when you write a music paper

*Remember that it is important to use a variety of primary sources whenever possible.

Below are some of the most common secondary sources used in music research, and how you might use them:

Type Example Uses
Biography Patti Smith: America's Punk Rock Rhapsodist For information on the life and works of performers and composers. Often includes critical assessments of their impact on musical life 
History & Criticism Punk Rock, So What?: The Cultural Legacy of Punk For information on various musical subjects, with a critical historical perspective
Analysis Song Interpretation in 21st Century Pop Music For analyses of music works, genres, and composers
Scholarly Article ‘nor Did I Socialise with Their People’: Patti Smith, Rock Heroics and the Poetics of Sociability For peer-reviewed information that reports on original research, or evaluates the research of others. *You are often required to use this type of source in your papers
Popular Article Patti Smith: At Last, The Lower Manhattan Show For journalistic account of musical performances, music criticism, etc. *Especially helpful in researching popular music
Thesis/Dissertation "She's So Busy Being Free": The Dynamics of Utopia in Popular Music by Women, 1968--2008 For an in-depth treatment of a topic. *Use the bibliographies from theses and dissertations as a starting point for finding sources for your assignments

Finding Secondary Sources

This section is still under construction