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MUSL 1600 - American Popular Music

A guide to library resources and services that will help students to complete their artist paper assignment.

Be Brilliant! Use the Wilson Music Library!

This Research Guide is designed to help you complete the writing assignment for MUSL 1600. While some of the information sources listed are available online, I strongly encourage you to visit the Wilson Music Library to consult the print materials available to you. As the Music Librarian for Education and Outreach, my primary responsibility is teaching students and faculty to use the library effectively, and I encourage you to come see me if you have any questions about your research for this paper. You can schedule a research consultation with me via e-mail, phone, or the "Schedule Appointment" link; see my contact information in the box on the left. If I am not available, my colleagues at the Wilson Music Library are happy to assist you.

The Wilson Music Library is located in the Blair School of Music (no. 7 on the map below). Our normal operating hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 am until 10 pm, Friday, 8 am until 5 pm, and Sunday, 2-10 pm (we are closed on Saturdays).

  • The writing assignment for this class is interdisciplinary. This research guide will point you to sources on American history, African American and diaspora studies, women's and gender studies, and music. Depending on your topic, there may be other sources available. You may need to use books located in the Central Library's collection as well.
  • As a general rule, websites are not appropriate resources for this paper. You should use books and scholarly articles.
  • Remember that research is not a linear process. Your initial topic is rarely your final topic. Expect to go through multiple revisions and iterations before you arrive at your final thesis.
  • Try to get an early start on your paper. This is a large class, working with a finite number of resources. You can save yourself time and stress by beating the rush.
  • Don't hesitate to make an appointment with me if you need help! You can schedule a consultation by clicking on "Schedule Appointment" in my profile box on the left.

The tutorial below, created by a team of librarians at North Carolina State University, demonstrates that picking your topic is a major part of the research process.

African American Music Reference - This full-text database features essays and images on all aspects of African American music, including the blues, jazz, civil rights songs, slave songs, gospel, rap, and R&B. It contains over 42,000 essays and images from 162 different sources, including biographies, discographies, reference works, liner notes, and sheet music.

Oxford Music Online - This platform allows you to search the four Oxford products that we currently subscribe to simultaneously: Grove Music Online, The Oxford Dictionary of Music, The Oxford Companion to Music, and The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Oxford Music Online has excellent coverage of American popular music. Be sure to look at the bibliographies at the end of the articles to find more resources on your paper topic.

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