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Music: Primary Sources

What is a primary source?

šPrimary sources are the evidence of history: original records or objects created by participants or observers at the time historical events occurred or even well after events, such as in memoirs and oral histories. 

Primary sources for music may include

  • Letters and diaries of musicians and others
  • Manuscripts and early printed editions of scores
  • Marked-up scores used for early performances
  • Reviews of first and early performances
  • Sound recordings, including recording-session masters and outtakes
  • fFlm footage of performances, rehearsals, and people involved in creating the music
  • Ethnographic films and folklore collections
  • Musical instruments and equipment of all kinds.

Music Primary Sources