Characteristics of the literature used by American musicologists
Manaois, Susan J.
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The most recent bibliometric study concerning the literature used by American musicologists was conducted in 1959. There was clearly a need for an updated study in this area that would provide some insight into both the prevailing trends in present-day musicology, and the ways in which the field had changed since the 1950's. A total of 8,559 references from 122 articles in the Journal of the American Musicological Society over the period 1982-91 were analyzed according to form of publication, general subject nature, bibliographical form, language, and date and city of publication. References to periodical articles were also analyzed according to frequency of citation within the core journal, and theses and dissertations were analyzed according to the academic institution with which they were affiliated. The journal articles from which the references were taken were analyzed according to the century, country and composer with which they were primarily concerned, as well as the specific subject of each article. The results of this study are discussed in the context of prior bibliometric research in musicology, as well as present-day musical scholarship itself. The articles tended to deal with theoretical or historical subjects covering the fifteenth to twentieth centuries, with Italy being the most popular country to study. The authors tended to cite predominantly published sources, two-thirds of which came from the field of music. Half of the sources were in foreign languages, and musicologists made a significant use of materials dating back to the sixteenth century. Modern musicologists drew on a wider variety of sources than they did thirty years previously, particularly making more use of musical compositions, theses and dissertations, archival sources and letters. Musicologists had also drawn their non-musical material from a wider variety of subject areas than they had previously. In comparing the writings of English and American musicologists, the Americans' interpretation of musicology was generally wider in scope, and therefore more liberally minded than that of the English. The results of this study should be useful to librarians regarding collection development, and particularly journal selection. Also, the frequent citation of archival and manuscript sources points to a gap which exists in music reference materials. There is a need for the adequate coverage of these sources in the form of indexes and bibliographies to enable the music scholar to learn of their existence and location.