Instructions How to Write

An Evaluation of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed. via Grove Music Online (Oxford Music Online)

Because the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians is such a fundamental tool for all musicians, teachers, and scholars, it is important that you have a good understanding of both its value and its limitations. Compounding the challenge of this assignment is the limited access to the hard copy of the 29-volume New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed. during the current Covid19 pandemic. For that reason, you are to complete your evaluation of the NGD2 (also known as GMO or OMO via the online versions) in the following manner:

1) Begin by reading as much of the various guides and user tools as you can (via the links at the top of any page). Look especially for information on the history of the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians from its origins to the present, and for information on the contents and how to access them. At a minimum, read the following:

[under] “About”
“About Oxford Music Online”
“History of Grove Music and Timeline”
“Revising Grove Music Online”
[under] “Tools and Resources”
“Subject Guides and Research Resources”
“Grove Edition Prefaces”
“Grove Music Online User’s Manual”

2) As with the hard copy, examine the entire encyclopedia by looking at a range of articles of various types. Look at entries for both major composers and minor figures. Look for other sorts of individuals, e.g., performers, conductors, critics, producers, etc., and to what extent? Look for articles on such things as genres, instruments, terms, etc. Also, how are areas beyond “classical art music” covered, e.g., non-Western music, jazz, popular music, etc.?

3) In your searching, note in particular how easily any kinds of information can be found. Use the “Advanced Search” features, as well as the Basic Search window to locate articles.

4) Read the various reviews of the NGD2 that I have emailed to you separately as PDF documents. You are also free to seek out other reviews, but make sure that any reviews you use are for the most recent versions of the NGD (1980, 2001, and online). See whether you agree or disagree with those evaluations (including why and how).
* I attached the reviews

5) Write a brief paper (absolute minimum of 1,000 words; longer is acceptable, but try not to exceed 1500 words) that gives your evaluation of the NGD2 in its most recent formats (online, and if possible, 2001 hard copy). In particular, explain briefly the major strengths and weaknesses that you see in these items. How and why would you use this resource, what can you trust in this item, and what sorts of concerns might you have about it? Is there any reason to continue using the hard copy? You need not cover all of these questions, but your evaluation should explain (briefly) what you think of the NGD2 or OMO. You may cite or quote the comments of the professional reviewers, but you should not simply “parrot” what they say. Your grade will be determined by how well you critique the NGD2—specifically, do you raise reasonable and valid points, AND do you provide EVIDENCE to support your points (Do NOT just say something is good/bad. Provide an example.)—and your writing (grammar, spelling etc.).

NB. If you limit your examples only to entries and topics discussed in class, the grade for the assignment will be reduced by at least one full letter grade. In short, do not simply repeat what was discussed in class or in your readings. Provide your own examples as evidence that you have done your own work.

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