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Writing for the Arts

Questions to ask

  • What are the movement names?
  • What form or musical structure is being used in this piece or movement? (e.g. sonata, ABA form, etc.)
  • Is there any terminology or lingo that needs to be explained? (e.g. definition of passacaglia or scherzo)
  • What should the audience member listen for in the piece or movement?

Places to find the answers

If off campus don't forget to access all databases through Research Port!

Oxford Music Online (formerly Grove)
If the work you are performing is a major work for a particular composer, then Oxford Music may have specific information about the piece. It's also a good place to look up terminology. Access through Research Port.

Is there a journal written specifically for your instrument/discipline? (e.g. The Horn Call, Journal of Singing, etc.) These journals may have specific information about your piece, written by professionals working in the field. Many are searchable on RILM but only back to 1976.
Some professional societies have searchable archives of their journals on their websites. For all others, you will need to search the contents of the physical copies. The library has these journals in the stacks/folio, and on microfilm.

The liner notes are often a valuable place to find information about specific pieces that you may not be able to find online. To find recordings, visit the Finding Sound Recordings Guide.

Looking at the score is the most reliable way to find the movement names. ( is not always accurate!)
Study the score. Are you able to tell what the form is? Can you identify specific sections?