Introduction to Musicology: A Survey of the Fields, Systematic & Historical, of Musical Knowledge & Research

By Glen Haydon | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
PROBLEMS AND METHODS OF HISTORICAL RESEARCH IN MUSIC

ALTHOUGH IT IS DIFFICULT TO STATE A METHOD FOR solving all problems of musical history, the following observations concerning methodology will be significant in typical situations. The method pursued in any particular research will necessarily be determined by the problem. It is of first importance, therefore, to formulate a clear and unambiguous statement of the problem. When the statement of the problem is clear, one will usually find the methodology implied in, or suggested by, that statement. In fact, it seems likely that the researcher is often not conscious of the method he is employing. His chief concern is the validity of his findings, and he uses any and all methods, scientific or critical, inductive or deductive, statistical or comparative. And yet, some consideration of method is needed to insure the validity of one's work, and to avoid errors, whether in mistaking the date of a document or in holding an untenable metaphysical assumption.

In the field of history, the researcher must be able to meet three general requirements: first, he must be conscious of his problem; second, he must be able to define his problem; and third, he must seek the integration of his particular problem with more general problems. The beginner in research would do well to bear in mind the three key phrases--prob-

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