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Music Research: Where Do I Begin?

You've been assigned to write a research paper about a topic in Music. (Perhaps it has to be about "the history and current landscape of piano instruction methods.") What if you don't have much experience with college-level research and writing, especially about music? Where in the world do you begin?

[First, if you wish to review a general how-to guide for conducting research about any subject, our handy Roadmap to Research is a great start.]

The gold-standard encyclopedic reference source on music is The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd edition.  (The 29-volume set is available in the Reference section of the Schneider Music Library).  This edition is from 2001.  However, an online and continually updated version is available!  Click over to Oxford Music Online (which is now the publisher of the various Grove music dictionaries) and enter a keyword search just like you would in Google.

A Grove article is a terrific place to start. The article itself gives a fine introduction to the topic. But then most articles will conclude with a bibliography that will point the way toward further research, providing you with citations to relevant scholarly books, dissertations, journal articles, and more.  Further, if the article is about a composer, you will find a comprehensive Works list identifying the composer's entire body of work, piece by piece.