MUS 1013: Rock I - The Historical Origins and Development of Rock Music to 1970

Get some background on your topic

Once you've identified your topic, you should start by gathering some background information on it. The resources below will be great places to start! Keep the following points in mind when you're reading through background sources like encyclopedias and reference books:

  • Brainstorm a list of 6-8 keywords associated with your topic. These can include key composers or theorists, music terms, or any other words that come to mind. These keywords will give you a something to watch for when you're reading your background sources.
  • Your list of keywords might change, and that's ok! Keep track of new keywords you identify as you explore the background on your topic. These keywords may get narrower or broader as you learn more about your topic, and it's important to stay flexible - you never know what path your research may take.
  • Don't forget to look at the end of the encyclopedia article you're reading - there may be a great bibliography that can point you toward additional relevant resources!

Start with Bloomsbury Popular Music

Starting your research with music-specific encyclopedias is a great way to gather trustworthy background info on composers, styles, and individual pieces that can jump start your understanding and help you get more out of resources with a more narrow focus like journal articles and books.

Bloomsbury Popular Music is an excellent place to start gathering background information on the life and works of musicians, styles, genres, and more for your MUS 1013 projects. This is a great places to start exploring your topic and learning about the context; better yet, it's a scholarly source made up of entries written and reviewed by experts, so you know they're trustworthy.


  • Use the search bar at the top of the screen to search for a relevant entry on your topic; usually, this should be an entry for an artist or a musical genre.
  • Not sure where to start? Try exploring popular music from different parts of the world using the Interactive World Map, browse the Timeline of Popular Music, or explore additional ways to discover topics using the "Explore" and "Browse Contents" tabs at the top of the homepage:

    A screenshot of the Bloomsbury Popular Music homepage with arrows pointing at several options for searching and the following notes: "Search by keyword using the search box at the top of the page"; "Browse for topics using the timeline or interactive world map!"; and Find additional ways to browse up here!" with arrows pointing to the "Explore" and "Browse Contents" tabs.
  • Once you find a relevant entry, keep track of any new keywords you come across; these will be helpful for future searches!
  • After reading through your entry, take a look at the Bibliography and Discography if they appear at the end; these are great resources for leading you to additional sources for your research.


Not finding what you need? Try some broader music encyclopedias

Last Updated: Feb 8, 2024 4:16 PM