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MUS M401 History and Literature of Music I

This guide will assist M401 students with locating resources for their research assignment in History and Literature of Music I.
  • Gradually figure out what your research paper topic will be by looking through background sources.
  • Background sources help you gain an overview about a general topic, and help you learn keywords and other contextual information.
  • For example: Before writing a research paper about the influence of Martin Luther, you will want to gain an overview of Luther's life--where he lived, where he worked, who his peers were, what they believed, what society was like in his city/country/historical era, etc.

Background Information from Grove Online

Grove Online (from Oxford Music) is an encyclopedia, so you need to search using general terms and keywords.
Search term examples:

  • Composer or Theorist name (Bach, Martin Luther, Palestrina)
  • Country (Italy, Germany, etc)
  • Genre (string quartet, opera, symphony)
  • Instrument (bassoon, timpani, clarinet)

    Note: If your composer is part of a large family of musicians, such as J.S. Bach, you will start with the family entry in Grove, then select the heading for the composer you want. For example, in Grove, there is an entry called Bach Family. J.S. Bach is in a heading within.

Background Information from Books and Essays

Composer biographies, books about historical eras (such as the baroque, renaissance, etc), and essay collections on a specific topic (such as queerness in music)--all these items can help you gain background information about a topic.
Books can also help you contextualize your topic; you can learn about the settings and environments that composers, theorists, and other citizens worked within.
IUCAT offers print books and e-books results

Bibliographies and Research Guides

View the How to Use Bibliographies tab on the left if you'd like to find research guides or use bibliographies from Grove in order to get ideas about how you can refine your topic.