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Blog Posts by Subject: Recorded Sound and Video

Authors Share Their Best Writing Tips with NYPL

Writing can be a daunting task. You sit in front of a blank page. You try to make something where there was nothing, and your only material is language. Yet over the years, NYPL has spoken to dozens of writers who have faced exactly this challenge and ended up on the other side of a finished book. If you want to write, then get ready to take notes. Here are some of the best bits of writing advice from the NYPL video archive.Read More ›

Listening to the Silencing of the Bird Cliffs: Listening to Coexistence with Kinokophonography

Guest post by Elin Øyen Vister.Read More ›

Kinokophonography Night at the Library for the Performing Arts: Hearing is Believing

There is something very unique about a listening program. It is not always typical to sit and listen without explanation or visual stimulation. On the evening of February 6th, about 50 people gathered in Bruno Walter Auditorium for New York's first Kinokophonography Night here at LPA, where we asked the audience to do just that: sit and listen.Read More ›

Time Machine: Interstitial Moment, VHS vs. Communism

The return of Daylight Saving Time means that we have all just experienced a temporal displacement. Let’s set Time Machine back by a small increment and briefly revisit the VHS format.Read More ›

Time Machine: Cloverleaf and Helix, The Early Years

My studio is an interchange where I coax content from the past, sometimes, the content itself is looking back to a more distant past, creating a cloverleaf-like feedback loop. The Early Years, *MGZIC 9-950, is one of the current projects that has come to mind in the cloverleaf.Read More ›

The Most Significant Drum Head in Popular Music, Part 2

Upon taking physical possession of the piece, my mind was set on two objectives. The first was to prove to myself that the drum head really was what it appeared to be. And number two, proving to the collecting world in general that this was, in fact, the Sullivan show drum head. Read More ›

Kinokophonography: Discovery of Listening

Below is a guest post by Coryn Smethurst, a composer, film maker, philosopher, sound recordist, and longtime friend of the Kinokophone Collective. Mr. Smethurst is also the Co-founder and Administrator of the Sonic Arts Forum. In this post he shares an experience that changed the way he listens to the world. Read More ›

Kinokophonography: A Closer Relationship With Listening...

Are you curious about The Library for the Performing Arts upcoming Kinokophonography Night, February 6, 6:30 p.m.? Below is a guest post by renowned sound artist Jez Riley French. Mr. French has submitted a work of recorded sound that is featured on our Kinokophonography Night program. He writes about his motivation, his work, and his process.Read More ›

Time Machine: Problematic Travel with U-matic

U-matic was once the industry's serviceable vehicle. Today it could take you back 40 years or more. If you intend to take a ride, you will have to accept a few compromises, as with any antique vehicle maintenance and parts are always a concern. The most charming artifact of the older black and white recordings is lag or ghosting in the camera imaging tube in which people appear to leave their bodies and follow themselves about, making every solo an eerie duet. 

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My Library: The Incredible Resources of the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library

A few years ago, after I was diagnosed at age 47 with Stargardt disease (juvenile macular degeneration), I discovered that it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to read print. Things which I had always taken for granted such as visually scanning the headlines of a newspaper, reviewing my written financial statements and checking out the onscreen guide on my television set all caused my eyes to strain almost immediately. I could still see the print, but not without considerable discomfort. How would I be able to manage 

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A Note on the Upcoming Record Sale at the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound

1984 Record Sale FlyerOn a rainy spring morning in 1984, over 800 visitors swarmed the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and purchased over 20,000 78s and LPs at the first Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound Duplicate Record Sale. The event raised $14,750 to support the activities of the archive, which began collecting recordings of all types as far back as 1930. Perhaps more importantly, the sale realized space critical to expand the archive, an archive which has since grown to become one of the world's largest, rarest, and most 

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Time Machine: Pioneering Efforts in Time Shifting

Portable video, the development of machines smaller than a kitchen range and affordable on an institutional if not a personal scale, ignited a revolution in consumer and institutional video. Before the ubiquitous half inch EIAJ open reel VTR, ca.1970, early adopters employed non standard VTRs such as the Sony CV skip field recorder, circa 1965. André

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Baryshnikov, Translated

With opening titles in French, closing credits in Russian, and post-production commentary in Japanese, cataloging Mikhail Baryshnikov's audiovisual collection presents an exciting linguistic challenge. Decoding the names—and, sometimes, nuanced conversations—associated with a production is a particularly engaging puzzle. Who, for example, is that enthusiastic commentator in a Tokyo television broadcast? Could his identity and critique of a performance be useful information for our researchers? What about the cryptic videotape label, handwritten in Cyrillic script? Is this a 

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The Time Machine of Moving Image Collections

Time Machine: if you could see what I have seen with these eyes.

Time travel is possible within the narrow bounds of my studio. It is remarkable that this can be accomplished with such primitive accessories. Wires and cables are sometimes strewn about reminding me of the Chris Marker film La Jetée. I have had the privilege of moving through time with many artists, through their early choreographies and refining rehearsals. I have watched the curtain open on their stage 

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Recording the Life of a Dancer

An oral history interview is a lot more than just any old conversation or sound recording. Although the definition of oral history is dynamic, it usually refers to the collecting of individual histories, according to specific ethical and methodological guidelines, and the responsible preservation and archiving of those recordings. While human history has been collected and shared orally for thousands of years, oral history as a modern organized activity is said to date only to 1948 when Allan Nevins began the now highly respected

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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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Historic Presidential Speeches in the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound

In honor of President Obama's upcoming inauguration, the Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound would like to present a compilation of historic presidential speeches selected from our collections.

The list consists of commercial and archival recordings which contain campaign, election, inaugural, resignation, congressional speeches, radio broadcasts, and various other important presidential profiles which address historic and cultural milestones in American 

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Interviews with the Rich and Famous: The Brant Mewborn Interview Collection

The Brant Mewborn collection of interviews was recently processed, preserved, and cataloged.  This collection is a treasure trove of original interviews — conducted by Mewborn for his background research for various Rolling Stone articles, and for freelance pieces — with personalities of the 1970s and 1980s.

Brant Mewborn (1951-1990), a staff reporter and chief editor at Rolling Stone, conducted numerous interviews during this period 

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Collection Therapy: Hospice Series

My professional adventures are rooted in my own fascination with and questions about who we are as humans (how we identify ourselves, how we are layers of each version of our selves over time, how we become trapped in our elderly bodies, how we relate, how we die, how we cope, how we mourn). These questions have been constantly honed in my work — asked and answered over and over within the context of audio/visual materials. I hopped from grant to grant to build new programs for years, describing, preserving and providing access to artworks, dance, oral histories, home movies, and 

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Discovering Dance Lineages Through Oral Histories

Next week (on October 24, 26 and 27, 2012) I have the honor of performing at the Museum of Modern Art's Marron Atrium in Voluntaries by choreographer Dean Moss and visual artist, Laylah Ali. These performances are part of MoMA's Some sweet day dance exhibition series. Voluntaries examines the legacy of John Brown, a white abolitionist who attempted 

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