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Music: Primary Sources

Reception history

Manuscripts, facsimiles, and early printed editions

Composer's writings

To locate a specific composer's published letters or diaries, search the Library Catalogue using the following search terms:

  • [Composer's name] -- Correspondence.
  • [Composer's name] -- Diaries.

A concise overview of the term "sources" from David Fallows can be found in The Oxford Companion to Music. 

Primary sources for music may include

  • letters and diaries
  • manuscripts and early printed editions of scores
  • annotated scores used for early performances
  • reviews of first and early performances
  • sound recordings, including recording-session masters and out takes
  • film footage of performances, rehearsals, and people involved in creating the music
  • ethnographic films and folklore collections
  • musical instruments and equipment of all kinds.