You need to take a broad view of your topic, so you can grasp its depth, breadth, and historical context. This will help you refine your topic, enabling you to present an interesting argument in a 5-page paper.
help define your research topic, it often helps to consult some of the standard reference works and tools before searching for books, music materials, and journal articles.
You'll see that you can combine/trade subheadings to select the span of time and topic of your search!
Note: SUBJECT HEADINGS treat chronological periods as above…don’t use a span of time, e.g. 1900-2000.
And, you can BROWSE THE SHELVES!
Libraries shelve like topics together; browsing will help you find something surprisingly useful that you may not have noticed in the catalog. Try the following call number ranges in both libraries:
For composer's biographies:
A dictionary of music, with brief and extensive explanation of terms. Some articles have bibliographies.
Short bios of composers, some including short lists of works and writings, including entries for jazz and pop composers.
Multimedia dictionary of music with sound files and musical examples.
"provides a basis for beginning electronic research on a wide variety of topics in music, including historical musicology, ethnomusicology, music theory, composition, and performance practice. It collects links to archival collections, online scores and sound recordings; article indexes, discographies and bibliographies; scholarly societies; musical reference works; and a miscellany of useful websites."
A librarian’s choice of the best of the Web. Lots of annotated links to other sites.