Handbooks, guides, and bibliographies about specific composers, genres, or instruments can be excellent tools for your research!
What are they?
Why use them?
Oxford Bibliographies (linked below) is a great online tool that collects peer-reviewed annotated bibliographies on a variety of topics. Searching here to see what has been written about the topic you're researching is a great way to gather background information and decide what sources to read next.
You can also find handbooks, guides, and annotated bibliographies on a variety of topics through the library catalog.
If you are looking for guides for a specific composer, search for the composer's name and "guide to research", "research guide", or "bio-bibliography".
If you are searching for a more general guide to a particular area of American music (e.g., jazz, gospel, classical) try searching for your topic AND "research guide", "bibliography", or "handbook" to find additional materials.
If you're not sure where to start, check out some of the research guides linked below!