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Music Courses & Research

Current topics in music

Current topics: Sources

If your topic is too new for scholarship--something from the last 10 years may not be covered in encyclopedias, books, and scholarly articles--you will look for newspapers, magazines, and various types of websites.

  • Interviews in newspapers, podcasts, YouTube, etc
  • The website of a current composer or organization
  • Reviews of world premieres of new works--or news reports of events. Find these online or in a database like ProQuest Central

What is it? Why do I care? What does it really say?

Apply the three evaluation questions to assist you in determining if these types of sources are right for you, since it's so different from historical topic research.

Quick reference for the three questions:

  • What is it: What is the source type and author credibility?
    • Quick Wikipedia checks are okay!
  • Why do I care: Does the source type and author credibility meet your needs?
    • Decide this at the beginning so you know whether to investigate or find something better.
  • What does it really say: Perceive how the word choices influence the knowledge.
    • How slanted the word choice is can make a difference in how or why you would use it.

Current topics: Historical context

Whether you are researching a current composer, arts advocacy in today's world, or something else contemporary, everything came from somewhere. Ponder how your topic fits into the broader scheme of history and utilize what you've learned from historical research to give yourself context. For example:

  • A current female composer exists in the context of equity for women and whatever genre she writes in--so take a look at those in Oxford Music Online (Grove), books, and scholarly journal articles.
  • An Western orchestra that is pairing with a musical group from another culture in order to attract audiences--this exists in multiple context, so research orchestra outreach in journals and the cultures of the two groups in encyclopedias and books.

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