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MUS 3327 - History of Music from World War I to Present: Primary Sources

What is a Primary Source?

Primary source: In scholarship, a document or record containing firsthand information or original data on a topic. Primary sources include original manuscripts, articles reporting original research or thought, diaries, memoirs, letters, journals, photographs, drawings, posters, film footage, sheet music, songs, interviews, government documents, public records, eyewitness accounts, newspaper clippings, etc.  Glossary of Library and Research Terms.

A book which is the edited text of a manuscript, diary, or other type of primary source is also a primary source.  Thus, the printed editions of The Parliament rolls of medieval England 1275 - 1504 is also a primary source even though it was published in 2005.

Historical Music Periodicals

The two databases below provide access to historical music periodicals.  Many are from the 18th and 19th centuries, but they also cover the first half of the 20th century.  There is no overlap between these two RIPM collections.

Correspondence and Diaries

For major composers, you can often find books devoted to their correspondence or diaries.  A good way to find them is with an Author/Creator search in OneSearch, starting with the composer's name (last name first).  Below the main heading for the composer, look at the more detailed headings to see if there is one for correspondence or diaries.  If so, click on the heading for a list of items.

For example:

  • Follow the Browse link at the top of the page.
  • Select Author/Creator and run a search for "mozart, w."  Enter last name first, followed by first initial.  (If needed, you can enter the entire first name to exclude others). 
  • Scroll through the resulting list of headings.  On page 2, you will find "Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791. Correspondence."
  • Click the heading to view the list of six items.  Note the location, call number, and current status of items that interest you.  Click on a title if you want to view more details.  The detailed record should show you if the primary sources have been translated to English.

When scanning the list of headings, keep an eye out for other types of works that may contain primary sources.  For example:  "Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus, 1756-1791 Anecdotes." 

For more sources written by those in a composer's sphere of influence, try a Subject search for "Music Patrons" or "Composers--[COUNTRY]--Correspondence."  To catch any relevant works that do not have the proper subject headings (and there are a few), you can use an Advanced Keyword search.  For example:

NOTE: The connecting words--"OR" in this example, must be in UPPER CASE.

In OneSearch, you would probably want to limit such a search to books.

Special Collections & Archives

In addition to circulating materials and reference works, the Baylor Libraries own special collections and archives--research materials that are rare, unique, fragile, and/or highly valuable.  You are welcome to use these items in your research, but you will need to submit a request form and schedule an appointment. 

  • First, identify one or more items that you want to use in BearCat.
  • Then go to the Make an Appointment page on the Baylor Libraries website and submit the request form.  A librarian will then work with you to schedule your appointment.  

To see examples of available collections, visit the Special Collections & Archives page on the Crouch Library website.

University Libraries

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Waco, TX 76798-7148

(254) 710-6702