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Hamersly Library

.Music Subject Guide: Primary Sources

Recommended library and web resources for the study of Music.

Primary Sources for Music

Primary sources are documents or artifacts created either

  1. by the subject being studied or by others with direct, first-hand accounts of an event
  2. in the same time period with the subject being studied. 

In the study of music, primary sources might include

  • Recordings 
  • Scores, manuscripts, charts, notes, etc. 
  • Photographic, film, or textual accounts of a recording session by participants.
  • Business records, ledgers
  • Autobiographies, journals, diaries, corresponsdence, scrapbooks
  • Archival artifacts (or digital representations of same) such as clothing, instruments, etc. 
  • Concert progams,  album covers & liner notes
  • Historic newspaper or magazine articles
  • Album reviews


Finding primary sources

New York Times Article Archive

This is the easiest way to find article citations from the newspaper. Note their are two separate files, 1851-1980 and 1981-present. You may only get the citation here; for the full article, go to Hamersly Library's microfilm--we have the NYT back to its beginning. 

Internet Archive 

Readers' Guide Retrospective

Find articles published in popular, general-interest U.S. magazines and newspapers between 1890 and 1982. An especially good source for locating primary materials related to the study of U.S. history and popular culture. 
  For scores, recordings, published autobiographies, etc. 


Subject Guide