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MUS 113: Writing About Music

This guide covers use of major music resources and skill-building information on how to physically and virtually find books, scores and recordings.

Source Types


In order for an academic book to be published, the author(s) must go through a rigorous proposal assessment and review process, during which time an editor will thoroughly review the book material and decide on its worthiness for publication. Some criteria the editors might use for evaluation include how original the book idea is, whether or not the book effectively meets the needs of its intended audience, how clear and well-written it is, and how relevant or up-to-date the content is. The book-writing and editing processes can both take a long time. 

Scholarly Articles

Most scholarly articles are published in peer-reviewed journals. To publish a scholarly article, an expert in a particular field will write an article and send it to the editor of a peer-reviewed journal. The editor will send the article to a number of other experts in that field for review based on criteria such as the article's fit for the scope of that particular journal, the accuracy of the information, the appropriateness of the methodologies used, originality, and the presence of correctly cited sources. The peer-review process can take anywhere from a few weeks to 5-6 months, and it is followed by an editing process that can take an additional few months.


News information consists of very up-to-date content, usually collected by a journalist. News can come in many formats, including print or online articles, videos, images, or TV/radio broadcasts. Before news is published, it is usually reviewed by an editor, who decides which stories will be shared. The production process for news is generally very short, although in investigative journalism production can take much longer and require a lot of hard work.


A wiki is a website that allows collaborative editing of its content and structure by its users. Wikis can be edited in real time by many authors, and are often used for crowd-sourced or large group products. Wikipedia is an example of a very large wiki. Here are some more examples: primary education, music performance, music therapy. Edits to wikis are immediate, but may be quickly changed or flagged by other members of the wiki community. Some wikis are set up so that a single person must approve any changes made.


A blog is a regularly-updated website, usually created to allow a single person or group to share information in a casual, conversational style. Many free blog platforms exist, so anyone with access to the Internet and basic technology skills can create a blog. Finished blog posts, which may take a long or very short time to write, are published immediately, without any review.


A tweet is a post made on the social media site, Twitter. Tweets may only consist of 140 characters or less, and once a tweet has been posted, it is published immediately. Anyone with access to the Internet may set up a Twitter account and post tweets.