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Great Ideas to Use When Writing Your Music Research Paper

Writing a music research paper is a great opportunity to tell the world about your favorite genre or artist. If you don’t have such strong preferences, you can use the ideas below to pick an interesting topic to explore.

  • Composer-based topics. Select a composer, performer, or ensemble to write about. Describe the peculiarities of the style. Evaluate its contribution to music and impact on future generations. Such topics are often the easiest to explore, especially if you are writing about a popular present-day singer or band.
  • Genre-based topics. Discuss a particular genre of music – its origins, significance, and impact. Some of these topics can be very broad, e. g. folk music in general. They will need to be narrowed down further – for instance, to traditional Irish folk music. Genre-based topics involve extensive research of many artists, compositions, and historical events of that time.
  • Period-based topics. Explore a specific period in music history – Baroque, Renaissance, Classical, or Romantic era. Discuss one or two key events in this period that influenced the development of music. For a contemporary music course; focus on the 50s, the 60s, or the 70s.
  • Composition-based topics. Choose a single piece of music – a song, a symphony, or an opera. Analyze the use of instruments, changes in performance over time (if any), and the responses of audiences. Alternatively, compare and contrast two pieces – for example, national anthems of different countries.
  • Professional issues. This area is often overlooked by student researchers, but it can provide unique insights. You can explore the impact music employment opportunities, music education, and music stream websites have on the industry. However, be realistic about the possibilities of conducting decent research about your topic. If you feel that it may be too difficult to obtain the necessary materials, it is better to pick an easier topic.

More examples of interesting music research topics:

  • What common features are shared by people who prefer a particular kind of music (jazz, rock-and-roll, hip-hop, or rhythm-and-blues)? Which factors influence such preferences? You may also conduct a compare-and-contrast study on fans of two musical genres.
  • What are the positive or negative effects of music on health?
  • Can music facilitate better learning?
  • How does the language barrier influence the popularity of music in foreign countries?
  • How do new technologies change the ways in which music is produced and consumed?
  • What are the criteria for music selection on the radio? What are the implications of current selection practices for artists and listeners?

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