Struggle in the Early Phases of Research

At this point in my research, I have found several materials and skimmed most of them, but I have not thoroughly read any of them.  Finding sources has been challenging, however, as I am struggling to find scholarship specifically related to my topic.  I am studying Bach’s “Wie schon leuchtet der Morgenstern” cantata and while there is an enormous amount of work on Bach and his cantatas, few people have written on this specific cantata.  Most of books and articles I have found give a brief summary of the cantata, it’s text and performance forces, but few of my sources interpret the piece.  I have accumulated several books with general information about Bach’s cantatas or his theology, but I am apprehensive about justly applying concepts from one cantata or account of Bach’s theology to the cantata I am studying.

As I think about developing an argument, I worry that I will not have more than a few scholar’s arguments to work with, or that I will have several iterations of the same brief history.  While I realize there is certainly enough scholarship available to write a brief paper on a Bach cantata, I fear that I will need to rely more on my own interpretive judgement than I did in my last paper.  I feel confident I can make a claim about this cantata, but I would hate to misconstrue Bach out of my ignorance.  The antidote to my fears is to read, however, I suspect that in my research process I will spend less time evaluating scholars positions, and more time analyzing the piece itself.

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