Western Libraries

Music 3703B: Music and the Sacred in the Enlightenment

Your one-stop shop for doing research for Music 3703B!


The catalogue is the place to look for books. 

There are two ways you can search for books in the catalogue: 1) Keyword 2) Subject Headings


Make a list of keywords that describe the topic at hand. Group like words together. Form your search strategy, placing like words in parentheses and linking them with OR, and linking different concepts with AND. For example:

(religion OR sacred OR religious OR morality) AND (enlightenment OR "18th century") AND music

Subject Headings 

View the full record of any relevant item you find in the catalogue in your keyword search. Near the bottom of the record you'll find a section labelled "Subject." The terms found here are standardized, or "controlled," vocabulary applied by librarians to describe the content of a book - regardless of the language of the book or the terminology used by the author. So, for example, books such as Geschichte des Oratoriums, A Comparison of Six Miserere Settings from the Eighteenth-Century Venetian Conservatories, and Handel's Oratorios and 18th-Century Thought will all be found searching the term "Oratorios" in the subject heading.

Many subject headings are made of multiple short phrases. You can search the entire series of phrases (e.g., Oratorios -- 18th century -- History and criticism) or combine one or more of the phrases with other keywords or subject terms to redirect your search (e.g., Music -- Germany -- 18th century -- History and criticism)


Theses and Dissertations

Theses and dissertations are scholarly papers written by graduate students in partial fulfillment of their degree requirements. The best examples:

  • Undergo rigorous academic review process
  • Indicate new directions in research
  • Review significant existing literature
  • Include extensive bibliographies

Many recent theses and dissertations can be found full-text online. Google Scholar will locate documents deposited in a university's institutional repository, such as Scholarship@Western, or try searching

Theological and Religious Sources

There are a number of theological and religious studies resources that may help you further define the religious climate during the Enlightenment. Both Kings and Huron have excellent research guides to resources in theology and religion that may be useful to you throughout this course. 

Tips and Tricks

When searching a database for books and/or articles, try brainstorming a list of search terms prior to searching the various sources. Keep track of what you have searched, what worked and what didn't. Once you have found something useful, take a look at the record in the database and see what sort of SUBJECTS have been assigned to that article. This may provide further leads. 

Developing Search Terms