Creating A Research Paper On Classical Music: 10 Helpful Notes

The process of creating a research paper on classical music does not differ from writing on any other topic and the following steps should be followed:

  1. Remember that classical music has two major forms, liturgical and secular, and dating their appearance to 6th century A.D.
  2. Keep in mind that the term “classical music” may be used broadly encompassing all works created from 500 A.D. to the present day, and a specific period from 1750 to 1820.
  3. Narrow your topic down.
  4. What style are you interested in: liturgical or secular?
  5. What period? The major time divisions are as follows: the early period - the Medieval (500–1400) and the Renaissance (1400–1600); the Common Practice Period- the Baroque (1600–1750), Classical (1750–1820), and Romantic (1804–1910); and the 20th century- the modern (1890–1930), the high modern (mid- 20th century), and contemporary or postmodern (1975–2015).
  6. Are you interested in the history of a particular period? Each consecutive period built on and developed what was created before. This development was mostly determined by the advances made in the creation of instruments themselves. For example, the medieval flute was capable of producing a very limited range of sounds compared to the modern one, and there was no piano at that time, of course.
  7. What composer do you want to research?
  8. Do you want to write about instruments used in each period?
  9. All instruments are traditionally divided into four groups: string (the violin, viola, cello and contrabass); woodwind (basset clarinet, basset horn, clarinet d’amour, classical clarinet and others); brass (the buccin, ophicleide, and the natural horn) and percussion. There are also keyboard instruments: the clavichord, fortepiano, and the piano. The post-modern period brought in electric instruments: electric guitar, electric bass, synthesizer, computer-generated sounds, and a use of instruments from other cultures, e.g. gamelan.

  10. Do you want to write about national styles? There are quite a few: American, Australian, Canadian, French, Indian, Italian, Persian and Russian; however, keep in mind that national styles are also divided into periods.
  11. What type of essay you do you plan to write: it may be a descriptive one, or you may compare different styles, for example; whatever type it is, you research question must be precise and clear.

Follow these 10 steps and your essay will be a success.


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