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MUS 300: Music History: Scholarly sources

Library research guide for Music 300 taught by Caitlin Carlos, Fall 2020

Learning outcomes

After reviewing this module and attending our in-class session, you will understand:

  • How scholars develop their ideas through conversation with peers, and by communicating their research through presentations, articles and books.

And you will be able to:

  • Find scholarly sources on your topic using library databases such as RILM and JSTOR
  • Evaluate whether a source is relevant to your topic

Life cycle of a scholarly article

Gospel music scholar Braxton D. Shelley published an article, "Analyzing Gospel" in the April 2019 issue of the Journal of the American Musicological Society.

The article discusses the "vamp", a passage of text sung repeatedly at the end of a Gospel song, as a crucial element of worship in many Black church traditions. Shelley proposes that the vamp allows worshipers to "coproduce sonic environments that facilitate the communal experience of a given song's textual message."

This excerpt from "Healing" by Richard Smallwood (beginning at 6:13) illustrates the vamp at the end of a Gospel song. Listen for the choir singing "Healing for the soul" beneath Smallwood's solo.

Let's trace the intellectual history of Shelley's article to understand how scholars develop their ideas through publication in multiple venues.