American Music Resource

AMR: Note to Students


   One's research abilities develop only through repeted use. Here are some principles you may employ. First and foremost, do not begin on the Internet. On-line information will probably never be comprehensive for things musical. The starting point for research should always be in the Reference Room (or section) of a library. In the search for data and further bibliographical citations, the following should always be consulted first:

Reference Tools

1. The broadest and most trustworthy collection of musical information and solid selected bibliographies:
The New Grove Dictionary of American Music. H. Wiley Hitchcock and Stanley Sadie, eds. London: Macmillan Press, Ltd., 1986, 4 v.
2. The standard reference for terminology only (no bios):
Randel, Don Michael, ed. The New Harvard Dictionary of Music. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1986, 942 p.
3. The standard biographical dictionary:
Baker, Theodore. Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. 7th ed. revised by Nicolas Slonimsky. NY: Schirmer Books, 1984, 2577 p.
4. The most recent popular music reference (but with some weaknesses in scholarship):
Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music, The. Colin Larkin, compiler and editor. 2nd ed. NY: Stockton Press, 1995. 6 v.

   If you are simply looking for general information about a given topic or subject, the chances are quite good that it will be found in one or more of the above. If not, the search should continue by using the selected bibliographies contained within those references. A mediagraphical search-tree will then begin to develop. If your research seems to require more references, consult Duckles, the standard bibliography of music research tools:

Duckles, Vincent H. and Michael A, Keller. Music Reference and Research Materials - an annotated bibliography. 4th ed., rev. New York: Schirmer Books, 1994.

Writing Style

AMR recommends the guidelines contained in the following:
The Chicago Manual of Style. 14th ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1993.

Holoman, D. Kern. Writing About Music: A Style Sheet from the Editors of 19th-Century Music. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.

Strunk, William, Jr., and E.B. White. The Elements of Style. 3rd ed. NY: Macmillan, 1979.

Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.  5th ed. Revised and expanded by Bonnie Birtwistle Honigsblum. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1987.
Turabian-Honigsblum is a condensed version of the Chicago Manual intended for students in all academic fields.

   For sophisticated issues, try:

Barzun, Jacques. The Modern Researcher.
and
Allen, Warren Dwight. Philosophies of Music History. New York: Dover Books, 1962.

 

5/96