Music in Words: A Guide to Researching and Writing about Music

By Trevor Herbert | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

This book is about the way we research music and write about it. Throughout, the emphasis is on the practicalities of doing this. This is not a theoretical book; its entire purpose is to be of practical help. The aim is to provide an introduction to and explanation of how to investigate or research music efficiently and how to write about it in a way that ensures that everyone understands what you want to convey and does justice to the research you have done. It is not a comprehensive guide; rather, it is an introduction and a compendium of information—a textbook and a brief reference manual. But why is such a book needed?

Most college music students need to research and write about music at some time. Those who are serious about this want to do it well, and to do it well they need appropriate skills. But students are not the only people who can benefit from practical guidance in researching and writing. Increasingly, performers are contributing to literature about music too. Some write books and articles, and many more compile their own concert programs and CD liner notes and write their own Web sites. This is the way it should be; performers gain a special intimacy with music and performance techniques and often become expert in a particular type of music. But when students and even seasoned musicians are confronted with the need to find reliable information and then write it up, the task can appear daunting. What makes good researchers work effectively, and how do the techniques and conventions of writing work? Indeed, why are there special writing conventions at all? Why do academic writings look different and have a different tone from some other forms of literature?

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