In A Short Guide to Writing About Music Jonathan Bellman identifies several different kinds of writing about music:
Even though these types of writing look quite different from each other, the research process will be much the same for all of them. If you need to study a single work or group of works, you will need to familiarize yourself with those works by studying scores and recordings of them. For guidance on searching for scores and recordings, see the Searching page in this guide.
If you are engaging in historical or critical writing, you will also need to read studies on your topic, to both learn the background of your topic and to stimulate your thinking. Reading tertiary sources (such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, or a Wikipedia article) is a good way to start gathering background information on a topic. Tertiary sources also should lead to secondary sources (scholarly articles and books). See the Recommended Resources in this guide for recommended tertiary sources; see the Searching page for guidance on finding secondary sources in the library's collections and in journals.
You can also browse through scholarly journals in music when looking for a topic. This will help you see the current scholarly conversations, models of good research, refine your topic, and find sources that you can use in your project.
As you study these sources, be sure to note: