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Primary Sources in Music

Music Primary Sources include:

  • Scores 
  • Sound recordings
  • Films of performances
  • Interviews
  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts, including facsimiles of original manuscripts
  • Original research

Search Primo

To find primary sources in music, search Primo. Try the following terms:

Music Manuscripts Facsimiles. or search a composer and manuscripts,  ex. Stravinsky, Igor Manuscripts

Musicals Librettos

Interviews, ex.Pianists Interviews

Autobiography, memoirs, ex. Music is My Life: Louis Armstrong, autobiography, and American Jazz or Just Kids by Patti Smith

Correspondance, ex. Mozart speaks : views on music, musicians, and the world : drawn from the letters of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and other early accounts

Sound Recordings, see the tab "recordings" in this guide

Films of Performances can be found by searching the artist and limiting the format to video, Jimi Hendrix : Live at Woodstock

Sources, ex.Music 18th century History and criticism Sources.

What's a primary source?

Primary sources are original, uninterpreted information.  Scholars analyze primary sources in order to answer research questions. Examples of primary sources vary by discipline.

Examples in the humanities:

  • a novel
  • a painting
  • a theatre performance

Examples in the social sciences:

  • a political, social, or economic theory
  • a dataset
  • the results of an experiment published in a peer-reviewed journal

Example in the sciences:

  • the results of an experiment published in a peer-reviewed journal