Libraries are usually portrayed in popular culture as quiet spaces guarded by a silver haired woman constantly saying “shh!” Yet, libraries across the country are filled with music!
While researching for an earlier post, I stumbled across the Duke University Historic American Sheet Music Project. I was immediately intrigued. I work on a collection that is almost entirely comprised of sheet music, at a university with an incredible music library, which got me thinking about all the other university music libraries across the country.
Most universities have either a music library, or music collection within their holdings. Since, I don’t have the time or the resources to research every university library in the country, I have decided to highlight a few different collections.
First, the Old Dominion University’s Special Collections and F. Ludwig Diehn Composers Room (I couldn’t resist!). The heart of our mission is to provide access to the history of Old Dominion University and our community. Specifically, the F. Ludwig Diehn Composers Room offers students and researchers a chance to examine local musicians with academic support. Alongside the Allan Blank Paper’s Collection are the John Duffy Papers, Virginia Symphony Orchestra Papers and the National Band Association: William D. Revelli Memorial Band Competition Winners Collection to name a few. In the Diehn Composers Room, patrons have the opportunity to listen to collections (the DCR gives access to LPs, DVDs, and CDs), study manuscripts and even meet with groups for seminar sessions. Passing through the Diehn Composers Room, I can sometimes hear a few notes of music floating out of headphones, or watch a student’s face as their research has inspired them to compose.
Housed at Indiana University is The Archives of Traditional Music. The focus of this collection is on music from various cultures all over the world. “With over 100,000 recordings that include more than 2,700 field collections, it is one of the largest university-based ethnographic sound archives in the United States.” (Cool!) Highlights from the university’s collections are: Dennis Duerden Collection of African Drama and Music, the Herzog’s Collection of Wax Cylinders and the Hoagy Carmichael Collection. The Archives of Traditional music even has its own newspaper called ReSOUND!
Stanford University is home to the Archive of Recorded Sound. According to the website: “… the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound was one of the first major collections devoted to the acquisition, preservation, and dissemination of historically and artistically significant sound recordings.” (Wow!) Interesting collections include: Ruth and Mario Chamlee Collection, Riverwalk Jazz Collection and the Phonograph collection. Moreover, the archive has a new Player Piano Project!
You never know what you might hear at the library, therefore, I strongly encourage you to visit your local university’s music department. Likewise, if you find yourself in the Norfolk area, come visit the ODU Special Collections. However, please call ahead for the best experience (757)683-5350 for Special Collections, or (757)683-4173 for the Diehn Composers Room. Happy listening!