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HIST 412W: Music and Politics (1780-2023)

Primary Sources in General

What are Primary Sources?

Primary sources provide first-hand testimony or direct evidence concerning a topic under investigation. They are created by witnesses or recorders who experienced the events or conditions being documented. Often these sources are created at the time when the events or conditions are occurring, but primary sources can also include autobiographies, memoirs, and oral histories recorded later. Primary sources are characterized by their content, regardless of whether they are available in original format, in microfilm/microfiche, in digital format, or in published format.

Thanks to the Yale University Library for this description.

Primary Sources for Music

Primary sources for music may include

  • letters and diaries of musicians and others
  • manuscripts and early printed editions of scores
  • marked-up scores used for early performances
  • reviews of first and early performances
  • sound recordings, including recording-session masters and outtakes
  • film footage of performances, rehearsals, and people involved in creating the music
  • ethnographic films and folklore collections
  • musical instruments and equipment of all kinds

For more information on how to find Primary sources for music, please see the Primary Source for Music Research Guide.

Tips for Finding Newspaper Articles