Archive for Music

Hundreds of Christmas Broadsides

Brown University has a very large collection of broadsides – Harris Broadsides Collection – of which over 15,000 are available online;  here are the almost 1,000 dealing with Christmas.

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Historic Music Recordings

Before Spotify, streaming services,  MTV, CDs, cassettes, 8-track tapes, vinyl albums, or 45 records, there were 78rpm records and cylinders. This musical heritage dates back to the 1880s and is close to extinction. However, preservationists are protecting these fragile artifacts while simultaneously digitizing them with all their glorious imperfections. A collection of more than 150,000 is available courtesy of the Internet Archive for your listening pleasure. There are various filters that allow you to modify your search of this special repository.

Another collection worth investigating is the Cylinder Audio Archive housed at the University of California, Santa Barbara. You can browse by genre, instrument, topical subject, or foreign/ethnic nationalities.

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Special Journal Issue on Prince

The Journal of African American Studies has published a special number on the musician Prince. The articles range from Black Muse 4 U: Liminality, Self-Determination, and Racial Uplift in the Music of Prince to more reflective essays such as The Day My Purple Sky Turned Gray .

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Glen Campbell’s Twenty Essential Songs

As compiled by Rolling Stone (with accompanying performance videos). For those not familiar with his music, these selections will show you how influential and important he was. Not a bad one in the bunch.

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Updated News Stream on the Passing of David Bowie

Here. Includes articles about The Thin White Duke from around the world.

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Listen to Songs From the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March

This historic march to secure voting rights was led by Dr. King. Met with violence and hatred, the marchers fought back with songs. You can listen to these songs recorded from the march. (Free registration from Spotify is required, but it is a very easy process.)

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The Benefits of a Music Program

All you band parents (and we were one of them for a decade) were right!  Music does improve the brain’s functions! This article in the recent issue of The Journal of Neuroscience – Music Enrichment Programs Improve the Neural Encoding of Speech in At-Risk Children – shows that: “Our findings support efforts to reintegrate music into public schooling as an important complement to science, technology, math, and reading instruction….In addition to providing children with a personally satisfying afterschool activity, community music programs offer the potential to engender biological changes in neural processes important for everyday communication.”(11917) This research is generated from Northwestern University’s Auditory Neuroscience Lab; go to its Music and the Brain with slide shows and links to many scientific articles supporting the above statement.

 

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Stephen Foster, 1826-1864

Considered America’s first great songwriter, people may be surprised to find that this individual so closely associated with the South was born east of Pittsburgh and spent the last years of his life in New York City. Some his most famous works include “Beautiful Dreamer ,” “My Old Kentucky Home,” and “Oh! Susanna.” A prolific songwriter, he died penniless in NYC on January 13, 1864, 150 years ago to the day.  Good biographies are available courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh (features a listing of his songs);PBS (contains a timeline of his life, special features, and additional biographies); and the Library of Congress. Many of his compositions are available here and here. Brief contemporary obituaries are at Chronicling America; the Emporia News of Emporia, Kansas has a longer memorial.

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Online Public Domain Musical Scores

Almost 250,000 scores from almost 8,000 composers along with 24,000 recordings are freely available at the IMSLP Petrucci Music Library. This is a collaborative, wiki-based enterprise that grows everyday with additional works. You can search via instrumentation/genre, nationality, time period, composer name, and melody. Each entry lists the scores in this database along with other informative data with the scores presented in clear pdf format. Well worth a look.

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Where Can I Watch the Concert for Sandy Relief?

In what will be the most watched musical event in history, you can watch the concert practically everywhere. This article from the Bergen Record provides a plethora of options. And since Madison Square Garden, the venue site, owns Clearview Cinema, many of those theaters will also be showing the concert for free. A complete listing of viewing sites, including international locations, is available.

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Interviews with Music Industry Legends

From jazz to gospel, rock to folk, over two hundred interviews were conducted with such luminaries as Artie Shaw, Tom Jones, Sting, and Tina Turner. The first batch of  twenty-five have been made public featuring Graham Nash, Herbie Hancock, and Tony Bennett; the rest will be released over time. This disclaimer is attached to the collection by the Library of Congress: “Some contain adult language and touch on mature themes such as drug use and sexuality. They are presented as part of the record of our culture. They are historical documents which reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of the time in which they were recorded. The Library of Congress does not endorse the views expressed in these recordings, which may contain content offensive to users.”

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100th Birthday of Woody Guthrie (1912-1967)

Prolific songwriter, poet and letter writer, Woody Guthrie is enshrined in the pantheon of American folksingers, and his thirst for social justice has inspired countless others.  His “This Land is Your Land is considered by many our second national anthem. A good biography of him is found here; his daughter Nora’s recollections of him are here. An 1940 interview with Guthrie can be heard here. Lyrics to hundreds of songs are also available. You can also read some of his letters at this Library of Congress site – Woody Guthrie and the Archive of American Folk Song: Correspondence, 1940-1950, along with a timeline and thematic essay.  YouTube has a goodly number of videos either featuring his music, or others discussing/performing his works. A great informative site is at Times Topics – Woody Guthrie; it can be complemented by this NPR section on Guthrie.

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

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16th Century Music Books Online

Some of the oldest printed music books in the world, many too fragile to be handled, have been rendered into their digital versions. They are searchable by composer, title, date, and subject. More than 300 volumes are available at Early Music Online.

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