Strategies for taking effective notes and starting research/writing assignments
Resources for writing program notes and conducting reception history research
Some additional tips for finding style analysis resources:
- Check individual composer biographies for information about specific pieces; biographies of a single composer are located in the ML410 section of the Music Library. Strategies for finding this content, which may be peppered throughout biographies, include:
- Consulting the table of contents and index for piece titles, and the names of relevant people and places in the composer's life
- Looking closely at the sections of the biography that deal with a specific time frame of interest or when your piece was composed
- Don't forget to read up on the times in the composer's life preceding the composition of your piece - what were their influences? How did they come to write that specific work?
- Though the "analysis and appreciation" resources in the MT125 section focus on orchestral music, they may include write-ups of specific masterworks of interest to choral conductors!
- Our subscription to the A-R Music Anthology is more than just digital scores - this database includes a growing collection of critical commentaries and articles on genres, styles, and individual composers.
- For anyone working on Bach research:
- Andrew Parrott's The Essential Bach Choir is an excellent resource for learning about history and performance practice
- Alfred Dürr's The Cantatas of J.S. Bach: With their Librettos in German-English Parallel Text is the go-to resource for scholarly research on Bach's cantatas. This book breaks down the cantatas one by one, includes a translation, and historical context on the composition and performance practice.
Some suggestions for conducting reception history research:
Historical newspapers and periodicals can be great ways to explore how a piece was disseminated and received. Concert announcements, performance reviews, record reviews, and even obituaries can provide insight into how contemporary audiences felt about the music they heard and the productions they saw. The University Libraries, the Performing Arts Archive, and the Immigration History Research Center Archive (all located on the Twin Cities campus), as well as digital and physical historical collections made available by other institutions can all be incredible resources to give your program note, term paper, or dissertation depth and richness.
The resources below are just a few suggestions; make an appointment to meet with Jessica to discuss your specific project, and we'll identify a curated group of resources that are right for you:
A few additional ideas:
Find a wider range of resources for reviews and more on the Find Newspapers and Magazine Articles page of the Music-Related databases page.
TIP: Exploring primary sources like letters, photographs, and other archival materials might give you more context for the information in concert and record reviews. Check out the resources linked from the Music-Related Databases Guide's Find Primary Sources page.