Course Research Guides
MUSC 210: Medieval and Renaissance Music
Steve Kelly - Winter 2008
In this guide:
- Finding Authoritative Scores
- Finding Good Recordings
- Finding Scholarly Critique
- Finding Context
- Special Quirks of Searching Bridge for Music
- Librarian (Quick link to my calendar)
Scholars often gathered composers' works together into carefully researched collections which become the "authoritative edition" of that composer's work. To find this holy grail of an edition:
- Look up your composer in Grove (see below). At the back of entries for important/prolific composers, there will probably be a section entitled "Works."
- The Header information for this Works section is important. It lists the authoritative edition(s) of that composer's works and (if there are more than one) assigns them initials.
- In Bridge, do an Author search for the composer (last name first). The results will be listed alphabetically by Uniform Title (definition).
- If the result list is longer than a page, use the little search box at the bottom of the result list (the one that has numbers in it normally). Type "Works" to jump down the result list to that Uniform Title ("Works" refers to the collected works of a composer).
- Open the entries listed and compare publication information with that given by Grove. Most likely, the one you want will be shelved with the Oversized Books under a call number beginning M2 or M3, but some scores are shelved with the regular sized books as well, so pay attention to the "Location" in Bridge.
- New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians
Ref ML100 .N48 2001
The single most complete reference work for music, musicians, composers, instruments, genres, and terms. Entries are signed, and most contain bibliographies for further reading, lists of works, and the like. The entries for some of the most famous composers also include a section called "Works" near the end of the entry. This section lists all the works by the composer, as well as information about those works and where to find authorized editions. (Grove Music Online allows online access to this reference work, but the table of Works is much easier to read in the book version.)
- Bridge (or WorldCat)
- Scores: Search Carleton and St. Olaf's score collection by limiting your search to "All Music Scores" on the main search form. (You can find scores held here at Carleton by doing an advanced search and selecting "Carleton Books" and/or "Carleton Music Resource Center" from the location box and "Music Scores" from the material type box.) If you do an "author" search for the composer's last name, that composer's works will be gathered by Uniform Title. You can use the little box at the bottom of the result screen (normally filled with numbers) to jump to "works," for example, in this list of Uniform Titles (definition). You can also do a basic keyword search for such things as ("fourteenth century" OR "14th century") and select "All Music Scores." Other good subject headings (type these into an advanced search box and select "Subject Contains") include:
- "Gregorian chants"
- "Early works to 1800" (There is also a time period designated "500-1400")
- "Instrumental music" (pair this with a time-period such as "early works to 1800" in the next advanced search box)
- "Part songs" (pair this with a time-period such as "early works to 1800" in the next advanced search box)
- "Vocal music" (pair this with a time-period such as "early works to 1800" in the next advanced search box)
- Manuscripts: We have a few manuscripts at Carleton and St. Olaf. To find them, do an Advanced Search in Bridge using your composer's name as an Author and then saying that "Subject Contains" the word "manuscripts."
Bridge (or WorldCat)
Limit your search to "All Sound Recordings" to search the recordings held at the Gould Library, the Music Resource Center, and St. Olaf. If you want to specify location further, use the Advanced Search page and select locations and material types that fit your needs. Remember that you can do an Author search for your composer and then use the little search box (normally filled with numbers) at the bottom of the result list to jump to specific Uniform Titles (definition).
Note: To listen to St. Olaf recordings, you will have to physically go to St. Olaf's music library.
- Naxos Music Library
You can search Naxos easily using the main search box on the first page. I tend to enter the composer's name followed by as much unique identifying information as possible. You can also list Uniform Title (definition) of a piece plus the composer's name to achieve similar results. (Remember to log out when you're done using Naxos. Only 10 people at a time can be listening to music.)
How do you know if a recording is good?
For the most part, if you find a recording in Bridge, you can be fairly certain that it's a good recording because nearly all the recordings there were selected by music professors here and at St. Olaf, and by music librarians. However, it's a good idea to find out as much about a particular recording as possible, especially if your recording comes from someplace other than Carleton and St. Olaf. Some questions to ask include:
- Does this recording use instruments that are as close as possible to the instruments for which the music was originally composed?
- Can you tell which score the musicians read from, and is this score published by the same company that published the "authorized score" you found using Grove?
- Can you find a review of this recording?
- Do the liner notes tell you anything about decisions the musicians, conductor, or compilers made?
Occasionally, composers or genres may be listed in published discographies.
- Penguin Guide to Compact Discs & DVDs
Ref ML 156.9 .M33 2005-2006
Look here for lists and reviews of current recordings (listed alphabetically by composer last name or genre, such as "Gregorian Chants"). Note that this reference work rates recordings with between 1 and 3 stars.
- Music Index
Click on "Expert Search" and then select "Non-Printed Material Review" from the "Document Type" drop-down box.
The Music Index Online
(1979 to the present)
This is one of the primary tools for locating articles written in any given year (for 1949 to 1979, see the print version in the reference room at Ref ML118 .M84). Keyword searching is often the best way to navigate this database, but be sure to look at the subjects (found at the bottom of any article entry) to see what keyword strings might be most useful.
Note: The actual text of the articles is not included in this database. Enter the name of the journal that includes your article into the Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers List to see if we subscribe to that journal, and if we have the year that you need.
- RILM Abstracts of Music Literature
Published by the Repertoire International de Litterature Musicale, RILM includes coverage of historical musicology, ethnomusicology, instruments and voice, dance, and music therapy. Note that all the works in this database are about music, so there is usually no need to use the term "Music" as a search term.
- Bridge (or WorldCat)
To find literature about music in Bridge, search for your composer as a Subject rather than Author. You can further refine your search by doing an Advanced Search, entering your composer's name as a Subject, and entering phrases like the following as a Subject:
- History and Criticism
- Interpretation (Phrasing, Dynamics, Etc.)
- Analysis, Appreciation
To get ideas, you could also browse the journal Early Music (available In Print and Online).
- IMB: International Medieval Bibliography (1967-2000)
Provides access to over 270,000 citations to articles from periodicals, books, and conference proceedings dealing with the history and culture of the European Middle Ages (450-1500 CE).
- Iter (1853-present)
Indexes articles dealing with the Middle Ages and Renaissance (400-1700).
- Historical Abstracts (1954-present)
Provides citations and abstracts for scholarly articles, books, and dissertations in the field of world history from 1450 to the present.
- MLA International Bibliography (1963-present)
Provides citations to articles dealing with literature, folklore, and popular culture.
Select "Title begins with" to search two types of titles at the same time: titles as they appear on recordings and "uniform titles." Uniform titles are assigned to musical works so that a single search can retrieve all the different editions and formats of that work. What is more, uniform titles are constructed in predictable ways depending on whether the work is named for it's form or the composer assigned it a distinctive title.
Form titles in general begin with the name of the form entered in the plural ("symphonies" rather than "symphony"), followed by the instruments used to perform the work (unless the form implies them), the opus or catalog number, and finally the key of the work. The form title for collected works of a composer is "Works."
e.g. Sonatas, piano, no. 8, op. 13, C minor
For early works, the formula is less strict and generally includes the name of the form only. For example "Gradual" or "Songs" may be the only uniform title assigned.
Distinctive titles (assigned by their composers) are always entered in the original language when constructing uniform titles.
e.g. Non avrà mai pietà
A single album containing recordings of several individual works may have multiple uniform titles listed in the "Added Author" section of the Bridge record (found below the location, call number, and other descriptive information). In this example, an album called "Codex Faenza" has several additional uniform titles for individual works listed next to each composer in the "Added Author" section. You can click on these titles to see if we have other recordings of that particular work.
There are several basic ways to manipulate Bridge into giving you the music-related sources you want. I've integrated tips specific to your course into this page, but if you want a handy reference for the basics of Bridge for musicians try this handout.
This Research Guide By:
- Iris Jastram
- Reference & Instruc. Librarian for Languages and Literature
- Gould Library 463