Writing About Music: An Introductory Guide, 4th edition

  • Richard J. Wingell

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Helping users write clear, convincing, persuasive prose on musical topics, this practical guide focuses on general writing issues as well as special challenges of writing about music–with clear, step-by-step explanations of the process of writing a paper. Updated to reflect the latest research methodology, resources, and technology, it continues to offer strong coverage on research, organization, drafting and editing–and includes a thorough section on basic writing skills. KEY TOPICS: Contains complete chapters on writing about music, analysis and research, getting started, writing a research paper (from choosing a topic through outlining, writing the draft, editing and revising), questions of format, other kinds of writing projects (i.e., seminar presentations, concert reports, program notes), writing styles, and common writing problem. Covers the latest musicological research and new resources for researching both print and electronic publications. Discusses writing papers on a PC, and provides a sample paper in the appendix that illustrates matters of format and discusses the events in the musical work. MARKET: For writers.

Table of contents

Preface to The Fourth Edition

Purpose of the Fourth Edition

Changes in the Fourth Edition

Other Resources

How to Use This Book



Chapter 1. Writing about Music

Why We Write about Music

The Special Challenges of Writing about Music

Inappropriate Ways to Write about Music

Musicological Research and Writing


Chapter 2. Analysis and Research


Questions to Consider

Examples of Works and Research Directions

    Carlo Gesualdo: “Moro, lasso”

    J. S. Bach: Opening Chorus of Cantata No. 80, Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott

    W. A. Mozart: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in C Minor, K. 491, First Movement

    Giuseppe Verdi: Otello, Act I, Scene 3

    Franz Liszt: “Faust” Symphony, First Movement

    Igor Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring, Opening Sections

    Karlheinz Stockhausen: Gesang der Jünglinge


Chapter 3. Getting Started: Research

Choosing a Topic

Kinds of Topics

What Research Means

Gathering Materials

Places to Start: Print Resources

    Library Catalogues

    Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

    Histories of Music


    Thematic Catalogues



    Scores and Recordings

Places to Start: Electronic Resources

    Search Engines



    Online Journals


Evaluating Resources

Foreign-Language Resources

When to Stop: How Much Research Is Enough?


Chapter 4. Writing a Research Paper

The Outline

    Topic and Thesis

    Topic Outline versus Sentence Outline




    Revising the Outline

Writing the Draft

    Musical Examples

    Diagrams, Graphics, and Tables



Revising and Editing the Draft

    Computers and Editing

    Checking Spelling and Grammar

    The Editing Process



Keep Your File

Quotation, Paraphrase, and Plagiarism



Chapter 5. Questions of Format

Format for College Papers


        Page Format




        Page Numbers

Format for Quotations

        Short Quotations

        Block Quotations

        Ellipsis and Editorial Additions

Bibliography and Footnote Form: Humanities Style


        Additional Notes for Both Bibliography Entries and Footnotes 


        Articles in Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

        Articles in Periodicals


        Notes on Articles in Lexicons

        Articles in Collections of Essays


        Sound Recordings

        Citing Interviews, Correspondence, etc.

        Citing Electronic resources

The Author-Date System of Citation

        Reference Lists (Lists of Works Cited)

        Parenthetical Citations in the Text

Format Issues Related to Writing about Music

        Stylistic Periods

        Referring to Centuries

        Referring to Musical Works

        Naming Notes and Keys

        Foreign terms

        Musical Examples



Chapter 6. Other Kinds of Writing Projects

Seminar Presentations


        Organizing the Presentation

        Tone and Approach

Concert Reports



        Writing the Report

Program Notes


        Who is the Audience?


        Working within Limits

        Special Problems

        Texts and Translations


Essay Examinations


        Preparing for Essay Examinations

        How to Proceed

        Common Errors



Chapter 7. Writing Style

Some Basic Ideas about Writing

Different Kinds of Prose


The Stance of the Writer

Referring to Yourself

Writing Effective Sentences

        Word Choice

        Word Combinations

        Sentence Structure

Effective Paragraphs

The Effective Essay






Chapter 8. Common Writing Problems

Errors in Basic Grammar and Writing

        Incomplete Sentences

        Run-on Sentences

        Agreement: Subject and Verb

        Agreement: Pronoun and Antecedent

        Proper Cases of Pronouns

        Relative Pronouns

        Misplaced Modifiers

        The Split Infinitive

        Mixed Metaphors

Spelling Issues

        Using a Dictionary

        Forming Possessives

        Plurals of Borrowed Latin and Greek Words

        Foreign Words

        Medieval and Renaissance Names

Some Troublesome Word Pairs

        Its and It’s

        Your and You’re

        Whose and Who’s

        Affect and Effect

        Due to and Because of

        Fewer and Less

        Like and Such as

        Predominant and Predominate

        Principal and Principle


        The Period

        The Comma

        The Semicolon

        The Colon

        Quotation Marks

        The Hyphen

        The Dash


Special Problems Involved in Writing about Music

        Technical Terms

        Describing Musical Events








Published by Pearson (December 29th 2007) - Copyright © 2009