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MUMH 4760: Chamber Music Literature

Guide to finding library resources for chamber music literature


You will encounter primary, secondary, and tertiary sources along the way. As you gather more information, you will find connections between the sources and come to an understanding about concepts related to your topic.

The information below describes a variety of sources that fall into the categories of primary, secondary, and tertiary resources. You will likely work mostly with secondary sources for your project.

Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish if a resource is primary, secondary, or tertiary and it depends on the context of study or the structure of the item in question. There is especially overlap between some secondary and tertiary resources, like textbooks and encyclopedias.

Primary Resources

Primary sources relate to first-hand accounts of information created at or around the time of what your are researching. Examples are not limited to but include:

  • Diaries and journals
  • Photographs
  • Musical scores with markings and manuscripts
  • Musical instruments
  • Recordings
  • Belongings, such as jewelry and keepsakes 
  • Ephemera, such as ticket stubs, receipts, programs
  • Advertisements from the time of study
  • Interviews and Oral histories
  • Reviews of an event from the time or contemporary to the time of the event
  • Original research presented in journal articles and dissertations reporting on new findings, often with data

Examples of a primary resources from the UNT Libraries:

  • From the UNT Music Library, historic music reviews and scores in the Virtual Rare Music Book Room 
  • Archival materials of Leon Breeden, former director of the One O'Clock Lab Band. Collection contains personal items, such as master recordings, compositions, and photos.

Secondary Resources

Secondary sources often interpret primary sources or research. Authors creating secondary sources synthesize information to report their interpretation and shed new light on a topic. Examples are not limited to but include:

  • Edited books with chapters by several authors
  • Monographs, books by a single author about one topic
  • Journal articles in periodicals
  • Encyclopedic dictionaries (dictionaries with comprehensive information as opposed to mere definitions of terminology)
  • Textbooks that do not only summarize, but offer interpretation or a new take on a subject


Tertiary Resources

Tertiary resources compile information into a summary, list, or index and refer users to primary and secondary sources. Examples are not limited to but include:

  • Handbooks
  • Annuals
  • Encyclopedias that summarize and compile information
  • Dictionaries with lists of definitions and minimal additional content
  • Indexes
  • Databases with bibliographies of citations and abstracts

Examples of a tertiary resources available at the UNT Libraries:

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