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Blog Posts by Subject: Music

Learning from Music Manuscripts

A class from Mannes examines music manuscriptsIt can be a special experience when students make contact with primary resources. I have written previously about a class visit to examine documents from the life of Johann Sebastian Bach. A few weeks ago I had the great opportunity to introduce students to a fundamental primary resource: music manuscripts. My colleague Fred Fehleisen (of Mannes College the New School for Music) brought his class to the

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La veuve Boivin: A Woman at the Beginning of the Music Publishing Industry

Consider this a late contribution to this year's Womens' History Month.

When most people think of the involvement of women in music they probably think of performers or composers. To be sure, women performers have been at the forefront of music for centuries, and in recent years awareness of women composers has grown enormously, particularly with those from the twentieth century. But there is at least one other music-related field in which women have made a significant mark: publishing.

Between the seventeen-century to the middle of the nineteenth-century, 

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OMG! I Love That Song! A Catchy Song Playlist

Last year I wrote a popular blog post entitled "OMG! I Love That Song!: A Guilty Pleasure Playlist" where I confessed my song shame only to find out that many of you shared the exact same musical taste. Than this past February, several of my choices also ended up winning Grammys. I should have named that blog "A Not-so-Guilty Pleasure Playlist" instead. This year this post is once again a "no judgment zone" and I am declaring my love for the songs that I have on constant 

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Art and Low Vision: The Sound of Monet’s Weeping Willow Series

Hear the audio version of this blog post. Narration: Kevin Gillins. Music performed by La Capella Reial de Catalunya; Le Concert des Nations; conductor: Jordi Savall.

I am looking at Monet's Weeping Willow series and want to describe these works to people who cannot see. I think music, with its sensual and dramatic language will most elegantly convey the power of these works.

In 1791, Mozart composed in Vienna parts of what is now known as the Requiem Mass in D Minor (K. 626). 

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Harnessing the Power of Music

Oliver Sacks once said in his book, Musicophilia:

"The power of music whether joyous or cathartic must steal on one unawares, come spontaneously as a blessing or a grace..."

Music has incredible power. People today listen to music all the time, walking down streets and sitting in subway cars. We can't escape music.

For many of us, certain songs have this mystical power of throwing us into the past to a certain time and place. It might be a wonderful memory or a memory we 

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The Sound of Trade: MondoMusica New York 2013

Today I'm going to write about trade shows. I'm going to use as an example the recent trade show/exhibition for the violin (really, string instrument) trade, MondoMusica New York 2013.

What are Trade Shows? The name says it all. Businesses and businesspeople getting together at an event organized for the chance to network, display their wares, buy and sell — to each other and, possibly, the public.

How do you find out about trade shows? Good sources would be Trade Journals and Directories. Some directory titles:

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Kingsbridge TAG Update: We’re Starting an iPod Drive!

Do you have a gently-used iPod that you'd like to donate to a good cause? Because the Kingsbridge Library's Teen Advisory Group is going to be collecting used iPods on behalf of the Music & Memory program.

Music & Memory is an organization that uses iPods to create personalized playlists for the elderly and infirm, helping to improve their quality of life. You can learn more about how this program works at the Music & Memory website, where you can see videos that show how 

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Van Cliburn, 1934-2013

Piano pedagogue Rosina Lhevinne with her student, Van CliburnMany of us were saddened to hear of the passing of Van Cliburn on Wednesday, February 27. A pianist who excelled in music of the romantic repertoire, Cliburn rocketed to fame when he won the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition, held in Moscow in 1958 at the height of the cold war. Upon his return, he was not just a 

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RHA Cylinder Collection Exhibit

The Collection and Exhibit

The Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound at the New York Library for the Performing Arts currently houses a collection of more than 3,000 wax and celluloid cylinders. These cylinders range from very early, non-commercial, white and brown wax cylinders, to commercial moulded black wax cylinders, to Indestructible moulded celluloid cylinders and, finally, to the later Edison Blue Amberol celluloid cylinders.

The collection is 

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Arnold Schoenberg and Haiku

I play the piano a little bit and am working on AS's Six Little Pieces, op. 19. Little they are — all six take less than five minutes to play. Easy they are not — the slightest error in nuance ruins them. Written in 1911, they are among his 'atonal' works, a vague term but basically describing those works in which the usual major/minor tonalities were avoided. I don't quite know why so many people have an aversion to this music, and its successor, serial 

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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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Soul Music Tracks from the Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson Collection: "I Want You" and "Musical Massage"

I listen to many interesting things in my job, and I love it. As an AV cataloger at NYPL (Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound), I have listened to many archival recordings at the library for the past 8 years. Some of my highlights:

    Sound effects tapes from plays in the New York Shakespeare Festival collection Choral 
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Smoking: A Love Story

I just quit smoking for the fifthJon Hamm in Mad Men time. For me, it's all or nothing. I could never be one of those people — dilettantes! — who are able to smoke socially and then go for indefinite periods of time without a cigarette. I suppose this has to do with physiology, personality, and the times in which I grew up.

In one of my earliest memories, I'm sitting on the living room floor, my dad is smoking a cigar, and sunlight is flooding through the picture window illuminating the variegated blue, gray, and purple layers of smoke. I was mesmerized! 

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The Neil Peart Reading List

I've always been curious about Neil Peart. You could say he's the George Harrison of the band Rush. He's the quiet one, but he is anything but silent. In addition to the complex time keeping duties the drummer extraordinaire is also the band's lyricist. With the song's varied themes ranging from philosophy to fantasy you have to assume he is well read.

As a librarian I am always 

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Great Albums You May Have Missed: Hasu Patel's Gayaki Sitar (1996)

When thou commandest me to sing, It seems that my heart would break with pride; And I look to thy face, And tears come to my eyes.

Rabindranath Tagore*

Hasu Patel’s collection of traditional ragas for sitar are little invitations to the world, invitations to reflect on the deepest concept known to humankind: The Divine — the nature of which we acknowledge, from our various traditions, exists somewhere beyond thought and imagination. They are exquisite examples of the evocative, 

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Musical of the Month: Oh, Boy!

A guest post By Laura Frankos Oh, Boy!: Kern, Bolton, Wodehouse and the Princess Theatre Musicals The Genesis of the Series

Image ID: th-56990In 1913, the Shuberts added another theatre to their empire at 104 West 39th Street, on the edge of the theatre district. Architect William Albert Swaney, who had built the Winter Garden for the brothers, designed an intimate 299-seat house, with an understated Georgian exterior of red brick and limestone and five stories of office space for rental income. The theatre, dubbed the Princess, spent its first seasons as "the Theatre of 

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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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Who is Harlem Witness?

Who is Harlem Witness? St. George Library Center found out not too long ago when local Staten Island musician Shawn "Harlem Witness" DeBerry performed his Gospel-Rap set to audience full of eager concert goers. Shawn also provided us with a little bit of information about his musical background and the personal aspirations he has for his craft. 

What kind of music do you listen to?

I actually listen to a wide variety of music such as

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