The hardest part of research for me has always been finding the question to research. Partially, it’s because there are so many options and you can’t know how much has been written on a subject until you start researching. For my first paper I initially wanted to follow a text through the centuries and see how it has been used in different contexts. It was really hard to narrow down what text to use. I found an Anglican text that turned out to be written in the late 20th century, so that wasn’t very explorable. I ended up using a text that is from Job which is used in Handel’s Messiah. Using a text from the Bible opened up my scope a lot and I was able to find tons of writings on the text in musical as well as non-musical contexts.
One of the best resources I found for my application was The Catalogue of Choral Music Arranged in Biblical Order by James Laster. Once I decided on the passage from Job, I could go to the Job section of the Catalogue and look up choral pieces where it was used. It lists music that paraphrases the text as well so pieces that don’t use the text word for word can be found too. From that section I was able to search databases for the choral pieces to see if there are writings on them. This catalogue was a great jumping off point for narrowing down specific pieces to compare.
I’m glad that I have some experience using our library resources because there is a lot to sort through. I have felt successful narrowing down the results in the databases as well as finding physical resources in the Music Library. You mentioned in your office that you hoped that we go down to the library and find the books in person to see what is next to them and I found one of my best resources that way. I was looking for a book and I found one on the Messiah right next to it. This book broke down each passage and talked about it in specific. It was a great way to see what I have in front of me and how to use resources that might be partially related.
I am excited to keep researching and narrow down my topic more.