Project Description and Overview


Once relegated to stacks of a library, resources in Western music history increasingly find their way into the digital age. Mozart’s autograph manuscripts, for instance, travel from their respective archival locations across Europe to the screens of computers the world over through the digital collections of IMSLP and the Digital Mozart Edition. Nonetheless, such resources present new complications; whereas previously scholars utilized the best available materials, scholars today must increasingly examine the relevance of multiple and various types of musical sources. How do we determine the best available sources among these? What new information might be available through the analysis and comparison of such resources? This project is designed to introduce you to the process of historical musical research across digital and library collections; the project intends, first, to challenge your ability to evaluate several types of musical sources, and, second, to synthesize those sources into an original, creative project.

First, you will select a work composed between 1750–1900 (not discussed in class) for which ample resources are available (see Phase One), then through a series of investigations (see Phases Two and Three below), you will design a project that presents—through a combination of written, graphic, and/or multimedia elements—your own analysis (thesis and argument) of the work in question. The final product of this investigation (see Phases Four and Five below) will be published in an online format (the course WordPress Page) that will draw together and demonstrate the valuable inquiries that can be completed through such sources, acting as a collective digital resource for the course and future iterations of the course.


Through this project, you will gain a refined ability to:

1) locate and evaluate the value/biases of several types of musical sources

2) employ a historical perspective in music research

3) deduce a thesis/argument for a musicological project

4) analyze the stylistic and formal features of a musical composition

5) communicate your original ideas and findings in a dynamic combination of clear and coherent prose, graphic analysis, and multimedia


Project Phases Overview

Phase One: Due February 24, 2014 (5% total grade)

– Selection of work and identification of score/musical text sources


Phase Two: Due March 7, 2014 (5% total grade)

– Project proposal (select Plan A or Plan B)

– Statement of research question(s)

– Brief annotated bibliography


Phase Three: Due March 21, 2014 (5% total grade)

– Thesis/first paragraph

– Graphic analysis of work

– Brief critical analysis of two secondary sources related to focus


Phase Four: Due April 21, 2014 (10% total grade)

– Detailed outline of completed project (written/multimedia elements) with revisions of introductory and analytical material


Phase Final: Due May 9, 2014 (15% total grade)

– Final, completed project submitted as WordPress Page