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Posts from the Music Division

Happy Public Domain Day, 2013!

No copyright!

Our markets, our democracy, our science, our traditions of free speech, and our art all depend more heavily on a Public Domain of freely available material than they do on the informational material that is covered by property rights. The Public Domain is not some gummy residue left behind when all the good stuff has been covered by property law. The Public Domain is the place we quarry the building blocks of our culture. It is, in fact, the majority of our culture. —James Boyle, The Public Domain, p.40f, 2008, quoted on the ... Read More ›

Works Created with the Help of the Music Division, 2011-2012

I'm happy to present a review of how the Music Division contributed to knowledge for 2011-2012. Although my information is based on the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, December seems like an appropriate time to post this information.

Today the pervasiveness of the Internet leads some to question the usefulness of libraries. Many try to determine a library's effectiveness by attendance: Surely 50 users in one day is better than 5? (I recall an article from library school that questioned whether it is worth collecting a book if it is consulted only once in 50 

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"It's Great! But Why is it Here?" Musical Revue Research Guide, Part 2

In the Research Guide, Part I, I advised that the easiest way to find information at LPA is by name or title. I advised that the research can benefit by compiling a list of every person in or involved in a production and serendipity can come your way. That third dancer from the left can become a star and/or obsessive collector or just happen to have the right piece of information in a clipping file. Sometimes, however, you can do your research prep and be looking in a 

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You Never Can Tell: Musical Revue Research Guide, Part 1

Visitors to the exhibition and blog channel The Great American Revue have peppered me with questions that can be summarized as: "where do you find that stuff?" Substitute artifacts for "stuff" and it becomes a request for a research guide.

The New York Public Library has been collecting performing arts content since the 1880s and online cataloging since the 1980s. Most of the material in the Revues 

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Advertising Through Marching: Sheet Music at LPA

The Music Division has an amazing amount of sheet music, much of which is not listed in the online catalog. Over the years, some of this sheet music has been compiled into different collections. One of these collections called, P.I. Marches or Popular Instrumental Marches, contains marches that were arranged for the piano.

While compiling a database of these marches I came across several that were written as advertisements. These marches were published between 1897 and 1923. They represent a range of companies whose 

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Wait for Me, World: The Kander, Ebb and Wasserman Musical that Never Was

Dale WassermanMost archivists will tell you that the best part of our job is the feeling of possibility. Every time you open a box and start digging through it, you might find that something amazing — you might be making an intellectual discovery. This can be especially exciting when you’re dealing with a subject that you thought you pretty much had down cold. Professionally, I live for these moments and I had one while processing the Dale Wasserman Papers.

After his tremendous success writing the book for 

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The Act I Finale

The Great American Revue is coming to the end of its run at the Vincent Astor Gallery, LPA. It employed Library for the Performing Arts treasures to represent the 15 revue series on Broadway, from the first Follies in 1907 — to the Pins & Needles series in 1939. The blog channel will continue and for the next few weeks, will focus on some of the treasures that we had to edit out of the exhibition.

For plotless revues 

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Finale, Part I: Curtain Calls

The Great American Revue is coming to the end of its run at the Vincent Astor Gallery, LPA. Don't worry —  all of the artifacts will be returned to the Billy Rose Theatre Division, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, or Music Division, and the 

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Audience Participation on the Ziegfeld Roof

At the turn of the last century, as part of their effort to establish Times Square as the new entertainment center, Oscar and William Hammerstein installed a roof garden cabaret on top of their 42nd St. corner theater. Made possible by the invention of elevators and cooled air, roof gardens caught on as a temperate weather late night activity. William Hammerstein’s programming featured vaudeville stars and their imitators. You can see the logo for their Paradise Roof Garden on the Vaudeville Nation site — a young woman sipping an iced drink surrounded by Japanese lanterns. 

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Andre Charlot's Revue of 1924

Impresario Andre Charlot brought London stars and songwriters to Broadway in January 1924. That show forms a neat connection between Noel Coward and the American revue scene, so we developed a small exhibition about it for LPA's 3rd floor reading room.

The Revue, produced in New York by The Selwyns, was a compilation of new material with audience favorites from past London shows. Both Noël Coward and Ivor Novello songs were featured, as well as works by 

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Students Encounter Bach at LPA

First page of Johann Sebastian Bach's manuscript to his Cantata BWV 97, "In allen meinen Taten"I am always excited when I get a chance to host a class in the Music Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.  This year, my colleague and friend Fred Fehleisen (faculty member of Mannes College The New School for Music) was teaching a class on Johann Sebastian 

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At the Ball, That's All: J. Leubrie Hill

The exhibition, The Great American Revue, focuses on Broadway revue series, 1907–1938. But, they were not the only shows on Broadway. During those three decades, dozens of musical comedies by African American songwriters, featuring African American casts were presented successfully in Broadway theaters. They were musical comedies, not revues. They were written for (and, frequently by) the African American character comedians and had complicated plots 

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That Bacchanale Rag

"That Bacchanal Rag"

Layers on layers of references that could not fit into a caption:

The Passing Show of 1912 established the topical nature of Broadway revues. The authors, George Bronson-Howard and Harold Atteridge, combined references to contemporary politics, New York's cultural life, and both Broadway personalities and their fictional characters (in this case, producer/playwright David Belasco and Peter Grimm, a character that he wrote for David Warfield. Ned Wayburn, who 

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African American Composers and Conductors: Ford T. Dabney

The exhibition, The Great American Revue, focuses on Broadway revue series, 1907–1938. But they were not the only shows on Broadway. During those three decades, dozens of musical comedies by African American songwriters, featuring African American casts were presented successfully in Broadway theaters. They were musical comedies, not revues. They were written for (and, frequently by) the African American character comedians and had complicated plots setting 

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A Room with a ?: Noël Coward Parodies

The topical revues of 1907 – 1938 satirized performance, society and politics. Everything happening in and around New York was fair game. So, it should not be surprising that Noël Coward came in for his share of parodies. Since LPA's current exhibition in the Donald & Mary Oenslager Gallery is Star Quality: The World of Noël Coward and our neighbors, Film Society of Lincoln Center, will dedicate next weekend to

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Color and The Great American Revue

Design by Robert Ten Eyck Stevenson for the Greenwich Village Follies

This blog channel is inspired by the current exhibition at the Library for the Performing Arts, The Great American Revue: How Florenz Ziegfeld, George White and their Rivals Remade Broadway, which is on view through July 27, 2012. The material on display is drawn from the collections of LPA’s Research Divisions.

“Color,” our key image, is one of a 

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The Music of the Titanic

An oft-reproduced sheet music cover, memorializing the Titanic and the StrausesThere will probably be more written about the RMS Titanic this month than in the past 100 years. This blog entry is my contribution to the literature of the steamship and its connection to music.

The sheet music cover above (from The New York Public Library’s

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Brahms Manuscripts on Display in NYPL's Music Division

Brahms manuscripts on display in the Music DivisionBeginning March 21, 2012, the American Brahms Society, in conjunction with the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, will present Brahms in the New Century. This three-day conference will bring some of the most important Brahms scholars to New York to share their latest research and analytical insights.

In conjunction with this conference, the Music Division at 

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Best of Patron Requests: Music (February 2012 Edition)

This list is a monthly compilation of my own personal favorite patron requests for music. I hope you will check out some of the great music that Library users have suggested we acquire!

Provided are some great preview tracks for each. Just click on the titles to be taken to the catalog. 

Green Rocky Road by Karen Dalton

FIND OF THE MONTH!

Karen Dalton's early recordings 

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I Love Rock & Roll: Current Bands Worthy of Attention Part 4: The Raconteurs

I hear the phrase uttered often, "There are no good Rock & Roll Bands anymore" and there has been recent talk about the death of mainstream rock and roll. Over the next few weeks I will highlight 4 modern day groups that deserve attention from young and old fans of mainstream Rock and Roll.

If there were still great rock and roll radio channels for free out there these bands would be getting much 

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