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A guide to doing research on Percussion music: Getting Started


This guide introduces you to the online library resources which you can use in order to do a short research paper on percussion music. The example used would be the percussion music of John Cage.

Using the basic steps in the Research Process, it takes you through each step, and shows you how to find relevant information.

Each specific step is addressed in Getting Started below. You can also try out the databases by typing the keyword in the search boxes.

Detailed help on how to use the databases will be explained in the following pages of this guide.

Search for Music Resources

Search Library FAQs

Re-using this guide?

Unless otherwise stated, the contents in this guide to doing research on Percussion music © by National University of Singapore Libraries is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0 . Attribute and link back to this LibGuide if you are going to re-use the content.

Getting Started

Finding information on the percussion music of John Cage will be used here to illustrate the research process.

Step 1 : Identifying your topic. As highlighted, the topic identified is that of doing research on the percussion music of John Cage.

Enter your keywords in the search box.


Use LINC (NUS Library INtegrated Catalogue) if you know which item you are looking for. Search by specific field(s) such as Title, Author, Keyword or Subject.


Step 2 : Searching for information. Databases such as Oxford Music Online, Naxos Music Library, Naxos Video Library, Classical Scores Library and Music Database will be used. How to search each database will be shown in each of the following pages of this guide.

Use Databases to search for information from the different databases.


Step 3 : Locating materials. Using the online databases mentioned, information needed on the percussion music of John Cage is searched.

Step 4 : Evaluating the sources of information. This guide will also show you how to evaluate sources of information.

Step 5 :Making notes. Do make notes to help you build on your paper. Take note of the author, title, publisher, URLs and other useful information for your bibliography.

Step 6 : Writing your paper. Organise your ideas and use the notes you have made from the sources of information which you have found. Remember to cite your sources, using the citation style which is required by your lecturer.

Step 7 : Citing sources. The 'Citation' page in this guide will show you how to cite your sources of information. Select your required style.

Step 8 : Proofreading. Finally, read through the paper you have written and check for errors in grammar, spelling or punctuation. Edit your paper accordingly as you proofread.

When you enter your keyword in the search box of the various databases, you would be taken to the Login page and then the Appropriate Use Policy page after you have authenticated.

Oxford Music Online

Oxford Music Online

Full-text search with advanced capabilities and over 3000 links to related sites, including sound archives and illustrations with musical examples.

Naxos Music Library

Naxos Music Library

Naxos Music Library is the most comprehensive collection of classical music available online. It includes the complete Naxos and Marco Polo catalogues of over 165,000 tracks, including Classical music, Jazz, World, and Folk music . Whilst listening, notes on the works being played as well as biographical information on composers or artists in Naxos's extensive database can also be read.

Naxos Video Library

Naxos Video Library
Naxos Video Library is a streaming video library of classical music performances, opera, ballet, live concerts and documentaries. It has over 1285 full-length videos and the libretto and text are included when available.

Classical Scores Library

Classical Scores Library
This resource covers over 51,000 titles and 1.3 million printable pages of the most important scores in classical music, ranging from the MIddle Ages to the 21st century. More than 4,600 composers are included, from traditionally studied composers such as Mozart and Tchaikovsky to contemporary artists including Kaija Saariaho, Peter Maxwell Davies and John Tavener.

Music Database

Music Database
The Music Database covers a comprehensive range of subject areas in both scholarly and popular music journals in all aspects of music and musical genres. Includes the liturgical chants of medieval monks to the eclectic sounds of contemporary alternative rock. Among others, covered topics are: music education , musicology, music theory, performance, ethnomusicology, musical theatre, classical music, opera, jazz, pop culture,  popular music forms and composition.