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Primary Sources in Music

Locating Primary documents, including facsimiles, composer's correspondence, art works, contemporary articles and more

Composer Spaces

Blogs, myspace and facebook are all opportunities for composers and musicians (and everyone else) to express their thoughts for all to see and share.  

These are examples of primary documents, because they are representations of that person's life, just as a paper diary or their letters, postcards or diaries.  What the person links to creates an informative look into what the person likes, what they might be doing, where (and how!) they live, and what they might be thinking. 

But Ask Yourself:  How do you know that that the individual actually wrote the posting?  In at least one example below, the composer's publisher authors the site!  Some composers' blogs -- again, like anyone else's -- are veiled advertisements.  Still others may say very little at all.

At least one of the links below is to a collective organization:  use this more journalistic site to locate pages that are written by the musicians themselves. 

Youtube as Primary Source? Yes!

This classic description of Beatnik culture and performances/interview with Wizz Jones is great.  But like much of what you find on Youtube, there are some fundamental, unanswered questions:  Who are the interviewers?  What program is it taken from?  What's the exact date?  Be prepared, Youtube searchers!