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Start with overviews
The best way to start a research project is by reading overviews of your topic. An overview is a text that summarizes the basic facts about your topic.
Examples of overviews:
- Encyclopedia articles
- Study guides
An overview is just a starting point. Don't cite overviews. The reason why we don't cite overviews is that they don't provide any original information -- they only give you a condensed summary of what other people have said about the topic. Instead of citing an overview, read the overview and write down clues that you could search for in Quest or the library databases, to find sources that you can cite.
Clues you might find in overviews:
- The names of important people, places, and things.
- Other sources that you could cite (listed as citations).
A reference book is a book that contains short overviews or summaries of many topics. Encyclopedias are the most common type of reference book. You can find reference books in the Reference section, which is on the first floor of Simpson Library.
For topics in music, I recommend these reference books:
General Reference Books
American Musical Traditions by Prepared in conjunction with the Smithsonian/Folkways Archives, this set highlights the contributions of Native American, European-American, African American and immigrant groups (including Asian, Hispanic, Western and Eastern European cultures) to our rich musical heritage. Maps, charts and photos show how the music has grown and spread and the inter-relationships between musical cultures.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 3551 .A53 2002
Publication Date: 2002
Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World Part 1 Media, Industry, Society by The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music Volume 1 provides an overview of media, industry, and technology and its relationship to popular music. In 500 entries by 130 contributors from around the world, the volume explores the topic in two parts: Part I: Social and Cultural Dimensions, covers the social phenomena of relevance to the practice of popular music and Part II: The Industry, covers all aspects of the popular music industry, such as copyright, instrumental manufacture, management and marketing, record corporations, studios, companies, and labels. Entries include bibliographies, discographies and filmographies, and an extensive index is provided.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 102 .P66 C66 2003
Publication Date: 2003-01-30
Encyclopedia of Musical Theater by A lot has happened in the musical theatre over the last ten years. New shows have opened and closed, new talents have emerged, and hit shows have made triumphant returns to Broadway. Now, the acclaimed Encyclopedia of Musical Theatre -- a 1994 Dartmouth Medal honorable mention -- has been fully revised and updated to document such developments with 500 new articles, more than 4,000 revised articles and dozens of color photos. From the dawn of operetta in the 18th century to the present, this set offers an unrivaled amount of information on the people, the songs and shows in America and around the world.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 102 .M88 G3 2001
Publication Date: 2001-05-17
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Rock History by Neil Young once said that rock and roll will never die, and indeed, rock music has played an enormous role in American culture ever since its beginnings in the 1950s. From early rock n' roll to the British Invasion, from the psychedelic era to the growth of corporate rock and the underground scene, from the video generation to the grunge and post-grunge years, rock music has been an undeniable force in both reflecting and shaping cultural trends in the United States. Each of the six volumes in this set provides both narrative chapters and helpful recommended resources for information about important performers, trends, and genres within these exciting periods in rock music history. Neil Young once said that rock and roll will never die, and indeed, rock music has played an enormous role in American culture ever since its beginnings in the 1950s. From early rock n' roll to the British Invasion, from the psychedelic era to the growth of corporate rock and the underground scene, from the video generation to the grunge and post-grunge years, rock music has been an undeniable force in both reflecting and shaping cultural trends in the United States. Volumes also include a number of resources for students, researchers, and anyone interested in the history of rock music: a timeline; discographies of seminal and bestselling recordings; a dictionary of performers, recordings, events, and genres; a resource guide, which includes recommended books and articles, Web sites, festivals, videos, special collections; and comprehensive index.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 3534 .G754 2006
Publication Date: 2005-12-30
Music in the 20th Century by This is an examination of the crucial formative period of Chinese attitudes toward nuclear weapons, the immediate post-Hiroshima/Nagasaki period and the Korean War. It also provides an account of US actions and attitudes during this period and China's response.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 105 .M88 1999
Publication Date: 1998-01-01
Music Research by This text is designed to help music students become familiar with and use the many research tools available to them. The content is arranged by type of research tool (e.g., encyclopedias, periodical indexes, discographies) and includes a general statement about the uses of each tool and anannotated bibliography that points out their purpose, scope, strengths, and weaknesses. Covering both print and electronic resources, the text does not attempt to be exhaustive but rather guides students to the major research tools in music. A companion Web site maintained by the author helps keepthe material up to date.Intended primarily for music bibliography classes taken by almost all students entering graduate music programs, the text is also a useful supplement for any undergraduate or graduate class in music that requires students to do library research or write a research paper.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 113 .S28 2009
Publication Date: 2008-02-25
Music since 1900 by "Music Since 1900" has taken many readers on a narrative walk through the major events in Western music for the better part of the 20th century. This 6th edition brings music of the 20th century to a close with new coverage of years not included in the 5th edition -- 1992-2000. Entries on 1,000 more composers, performers, musicologists, critics, and opera directors offer critical commentary, notable premieres and debuts, deaths of significant figures, as well as important festivals and concerts around the world.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 197 .S634 2001
Publication Date: 2001
The New Grove Dictionary of American Music by The New Grove Dictionary of American Music is the most comprehensive and enlightening history of America's musical heritage ever published. American Grove is focused solely on the unique styles and traditions of American music. It covers popular musical forms such as country, rock, pop, soul, folk, blues, jazz, bluegrass, and big band. It explores America's vibrant classical heritage--from colonial times to John Cage--and also provides substantial articles on the traditional music of diverse cultures such as Native Americans, Jewish Americans, and Islamic Americans. The Dictionary investigates the social, cultural, and historical forces that shaped our distinctive musical identity--from the Civil War to the impact of pop culture...the rise of technology to the plurality of religions...from the supremacy of film to the evolution of the civil rights movement. The New Grove Dictionary of American Music includes: · 3,500 biographies of significant composers, performers, singer-songwriters, impresarios, conductors, writers, producers, publishers and patrons--including foreign-born musicians who settled in America · Entries on American cities as diverse as Miami, New Orleans, Nashville, Los Angeles, and Anchorage · Wide-ranging survey articles on specialized forms of music including patriotic music, film music, vaudeville, and early music revival · Ground-breaking articles on general topics such as copyright, broadcasting, music therapy, and education · Comprehensive listings of music libraries, societies, institutions, periodicals, discographies, festivals, and awards
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 101 .U6 N48 1986
Publication Date: 2002-01-01
The New Grove Dictionary of Opera by The New Grove Dictionary of Opera (1992), is a comprehensive resource on the study of opera designed for scholars and opera aficionados. Its 11,000 articles, written by more than 1,300 of the world's leading critics and scholars, cover 1,800 operas from the late 16th century Florentine Camerata, through the great 18th and 19th century operas, to contemporary works such as the minimalist theatre pieces of Philip Glass. The lives and works of more than 2900 composers and hundreds of singers from Francesco Rasi in the 17th century to Luciano Pavarotti in the 20th are discussed in biographical articles. Indexes of character names and arias make it easy to find what you are looking for. Illustrations throughout the book present rare photographs, reproductions of original posters, set and costume designs, and scenes from modern productions.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 102 .O6 N5 1992
Publication Date: 1992
Orchestral Music by Familiar to conductors, orchestra managers, and music librarians, this classic sourcebook of information necessary to plan orchestral programs and organize rehearsals has been greatly expanded and revised. The fourth edition features nearly 6400 compositions that cover the standard repertoire for American orchestras (a 42% increase over the third edition), clearer entries, and a more useful system of appendixes. Included for the first time are entries from the American Symphony Orchestra League's OLIS repertoire database.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 128 .O5 D3 2005
Publication Date: 2005-10-13
The Oxford Companion to Music by Also available as an eBook
The Oxford Companion to Music is one of the most famous music reference works of all time. This invaluable Companion now reappears in a completely new edition. Over a million words in length, it is the biggest, most authoritative, and most up to date single-volume music reference bookavailable. The new edition draws on both the classic Oxford Companion to Music by Percy Scholes, first published in 1938, and the two-volume New Oxford Companion to Music, edited by Denis Arnold (1983), but is thoroughly revised and reimagined for the 21st century.Alison Latham has assembled a distinguished team of over 120 international contributors, bringing their distinctive voices to an exceptionally broad sweep of musical subjects ranging from composers, performers, conductors, individual works, instruments and notation, and forms and genres, to musicscholarship and aesthetics, music education, broadcasting and publishing, all aspects of music theory, and performance practice, as well as jazz, popular music, and dance. Entries range from brief definitions to in-depth essays on subjects such as politics, religion, psychology, and computers. Thisis a comprehensive, authoritative, and accessible source of information on all aspects of Western music.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 100 .O94 2002
Publication Date: 2002-05-02
Rock Song Index by Also available as an eBook
First Published in 2005. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 128 .R6 P65 2005
Publication Date: 2005-08-26
Sourcebook for Research in Music, Second Edition by Also available as an eBook
The Sourcebook for Research in Music, in this revised and greatly expanded second edition, is an invaluable guide to the researcher in navigating the vast proliferation of materials in music research. The editors emphasize English-language and recent sources, and also include essential materials in other languages. An opening chapter of introductory materials, including a list of common bibliographical terms with definitions, German and French bibliographical terms, and the plan of the Library of Congress and the Dewey Decimal music classification systems, is followed by seven bibliographical chapters, covering lists of sources as well as collective annotations that introduce and identify specific items. A reference tool containing varied information relating to research in music, the Sourcebook will serve as a classroom text and as a resource for individual music researchers, librarians, faculty members, students, performing and teaching musicians, and musical amateurs.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 113 .C68 2005
Publication Date: 2005-08-30
The Oxford Dictionary of Music by Also available as an eBook
For the sixth edition of this classic dictionary, the text has been thoroughly revised and updated. With over 10,000 entries, the Oxford Dictionary of Music (previously the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music) offers broad coverage of a wide range of musical categories spanning many eras,including composers, librettists, singers, orchestras, important ballets and operas, and musical instruments and their history. Over 250 new entries have been added to this edition to expand coverage of popular music, ethnomusicology, modern and contemporary composers, music analysis, and recordingtechnology. Existing entries have been expanded where necessary to include more coverage of the reception of major works, and to include key new works and categories, such as multimedia.Entry-level web links are listed and regularly updated on a dedicated companion website, expanding the scope of the dictionary. The dictionary now also includes two useful appendices, one listing French, German, and Italian musical terms with their English translations, and an abbreviations list forletters commonly used in musical scores and musical writing.The Oxford Dictionary of Music is the most up-to-date and accessible dictionary of musical terms available and an essential point of reference for music students, teachers, lecturers, professional musicians, as well as music enthusiasts.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 100 .K35 2012
Publication Date: 2012-10-01
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by First published in 1992, The Encyclopedia of Popular Music is the largest project ever undertaken for the subject. This authoritative biographical encyclopedia of rock, pop, and jazz artists covers popular music from 1900 to the present, including folk, blues, world music, rock, heavy metal, techno, reggae, and hip hop. Edited and largely written by Colin Larkin, it is exhaustive, meticulous, authoritative - and incredibly fun to read. Critically lauded in its previous three editions, the Fourth Edition will not disappoint fans seeking authoritative and reliable information about popular music from around the world. Expanded to ten volumes, the new edition contains 6,000 new entries, and extensive revisions and updates throughout, yielding 50% more material than the 1998 Third Edition. In addition to thousands of biographical entries, this A-Z reference also includes entries covering popular music genres, trends, styles, record lables, venues, and festivals. Key dates, biographies, and further reading are provided for artists covered, along with complete discographies that include record labels, release dates, and a 5-star album rating system. From Grateful Dead to The Killers, from Whitesnake to White Stripes, from R.E.M. to Blink-182, from The Jazz Singer to Jerry Springer - The Opera, and from Bye Bye Birdie to Rent, The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Fourth Edition has something informative and clever to say about everyone's favorite band.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 102 .P66 G84 2006
Publication Date: 2006-11-20
Biographical Reference Books
Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians by Containing more than 15,000 biographies ranging from several lines to eight pages in length, Baker's provides unparalleled coverage of the world's greatest and lesser-known musicians in the uniquely insightful and always meticulous style of lexicographer extraordinaire Nicolas Slonimsky.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 105 .B16 2001
Publication Date: 1991-12-01
Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians since 1990 A valuable addition to the "Baker's Biographical Dictionary family, this A-Z biographical reference includes more than 550 entries focusing on artists active from 1990-2003. Individual artists and groups in all popular styles are covered, including those in rock, rhythm and blues, rap, country, electronica, jazz, vocal and crossover classical. Features include select discographies, bibliographies, a glossary of musical terms, a table of best-selling music since 1990 and more.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 102 .P66 B35 2004
Publication Date: 2003-10-21
Dictionary of American Classical Composers by First Published in 2005. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 106 .U3 B87 2005
Publication Date: 2004-12-04
The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music by A guide to the thousands of characters, who people the history of music, this volume brings together all the biographical information about composers, performers, music theorists and instrument makers from the days of praise chants to the bop and pop of today. A companion to The New Harvard Dictionary of Music, this biographical dictionary emphasizes classical and art music, but also gives attention to jazz and blues, rock and pop, and hymns and showtunes across the ages - with care devoted to coverage of the 20th century.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 105 .H38 1996
Publication Date: 1996
Latin American Classical Composers by Also available as an eBook
Building on the strengths of the first edition, the second edition of Latin American Classical Composers: A Biographical Dictionary presents expanded and updated coverage of its topic with an aim to be comprehensive. The authors have conducted exhaustive research to fill in gaps and correct minor errors in the first edition, adding young composers and documenting deaths since 1996, when the first edition appeared. Hundreds of composers are represented in this volume, which presents biographical data, including dates of birth and death, personal information about composers' background and training, and a selective listing of each composer's works. Sources for further study are noted within each entry. An index of composers by country rounds out this work.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 105 .F53 2002
Publication Date: 2002-10-16
The Unofficial Encyclopedia of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by This reference work includes an examination of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's selection process, a review of the annual induction ceremony, and provides career biographies of 149 Hall of Fame inductees from the artists and producers to the record company founders and deejays. It details the turbulent history of the museum's choice of locale and the internal politics involved in the induction process. The only work of its kind on the topic, this reference provides valuable information for the scholar, researcher, and rock enthusiast, and includes a comprehensive listing of each year's inductees. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, much like the music it honors and promotes, had controversial beginnings. Politics and contention continue to affect the inductee selection process. Talevski provides an in-depth, chronological study of the museum's history including a detailed summary of the conception and rise of rock and roll. This unique collection of historical data and anecdotes surrounding the ceremonies provides information unavailable elsewhere.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 105 .T3 1998
Publication Date: 1998-06-25
Women and Music in America since 1900 by The 20th century heard a rich sound coming from America: women making music. Other works may be strictly biographical or cover only one type of musician. This two volume, A-to-Z encyclopedia represents the first major effort to describe the role of women in all forms of music in the U.S. since 1900. Entries cover such material as, important individuals, biographical overviews, gender issues, education, music genres, honors and awards, organizations, and professions. The significance of an individual's contribution, rather than their popularity, determined who was featured in this collection. Included individuals must also have been born in, been a resident of, or made most of her contributions in the U.S. Each entry concludes with a short list of further readings. Photos accompany nearly 100 entries. A preface, an introductory historical overview, a chronology, a guide to related topics, a list of contributors, a general bibliography, and an index help to present the full spectrum of American women who changed the face of music in the 1900s.
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 82 .W625 2002
Publication Date: 2002-12-30
World Musicians by
Call Number: Simpson Reference ML 385 .W67 1999
Publication Date: 1999-01-01
What about Wikipedia?
Is it okay to use Wikipedia for a college research project?
Yes, but only as a starting point.
Wikipedia is an excellent starting point. You should use Wikipedia! Read Wikipedia articles, and write down clues that you find. Follow the citations at the bottom of Wikipedia articles. Use these clues to find sources you can cite.
Don't cite Wikipedia.
Don't assume that everything you read in Wikipedia is true. Treat Wikipedia as a collection of valuable rumors. Follow up on each rumor, using trustworthy sources, to see whether the rumor is true.