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There will be a screening of The Singing Revolution Thursday night in the Annenberg Auditorium.

From the event posting:

Most people don’t think about singing when they think about revolution. But song was the weapon of choice when Estonians sought to free themselves from decades of Soviet occupation. The Singing Revolution is an inspiring account of one nation’s dramatic rebirth. It is the story of humankind’s irrepressible drive for freedom and self-determination.

The Singing Revolution tells the story of how hundreds of thousands of Estonians gathered publicly between 1987 and 1991 to sing forbidden patriotic songs and share protest speeches, risking their lives to proclaim their desire for independence. While violence and bloodshed were the unfortunate end result in other occupied nations of the USSR, the revolutionary songs of the Estonians anchored their struggle for freedom, which was ultimately accomplished without the loss of a single life.

The film screening will be followed by a panel discussion with filmmakers James and Maureen Tusty. For more information on the film, please visit singingrevolution.com.

Thursday, September 27, 2012, at 7:00 pm
Annenberg Auditorium, Cummings Art Building

Detail showing shape notes used in four-syllable fasola solmization, in The Easy Instructor (Albany, NY, 1808)

 

“To please the taste of the public”

Early American Tune Books

(1761 – 1808)

 

Five early American tune books and one facsimile edition are on display in the Music Library through December 2012. Items include William Billings' The Singing Master's Assistant (Boston, 1781); Andrew Law's The Art of Singing (Cheshire, Conn., 1794); and, Jeremiah Ingalls' The Christian Harmony (Exeter, 1805).

Over the course of the 18th century, congregational singing in Protestant churches suffered a slow deterioration as European traditions and practices became increasingly removed from Colonial life. The typical call-and-response hymn singing, in which the congregation mimicked lines sung by the preacher, had devolved into a cacophony due to the congregation’s lack of vocal skill and musical training, combined with increasingly individualized interpretations of traditional European tunes, poorly remembered. In order to strengthen participation in worship, a “new” way of singing from notes, as opposed to the “old” way of singing from memory, was needed.

Enter the singing master and the singing school. The singing master was an itinerant teacher who set up schools in communities where people desired to learn to sing from printed music. This was one of few avenues for a musician to make a living at that time. Singing schools, which charged modest fees and were open to both men and women, were the first form of public music education in the fledgling United States.

That the sexes could mingle in approved communal (supervised) surroundings was a bonus for many of the younger participants. Learning music through psalm singing was also a way to cultivate a young person’s talent while at the same time saving them from the negative moral influences suspected in Italian opera music, also popular at the time.

A market for tune books, which included rudimentary music instruction and 3- and 4- part hymns, anthems, and other tunes, quickly developed. Around the turn of the 19th century, over 300 editions representing 150 titles were in circulation. Music making had become a vital part of life in the new nation. These books also represented the first flowering of indigenous American composition, including many pieces by William Billings, Andrew Law, Samuel Holyoke, and Jeremiah Ingalls.

Monterey Jazz Festival logo

An article in SF Gate celebrating the opening of the 55th annual Monterey Jazz Festival highlights the MJF Collection in the Archive of Recorded Sound.  The article, by Jeanne Cooper, includes an interview with Jerry McBride, Head of the ARS. 

 

Read it here.

Visit the Monterey Jazz Festival Collection page.

Congratulations Jerry!

The first part of two-part exhibition Scripting the Sacred opens today, Monday, September 17, in Green Library's Peterson Gallery and Munger Rotunda. According to its website, the exhibition features "Western European manuscripts and fragments, showcases the medieval experience of reading."


From the exhibition's website: 

Throughout the Middle Ages, the Bible remained the paradigmatic text for reading and studying. The exhibited biblical items highlight different preferences pertaining to legibility. Indeed, scribes designed manuscripts to guide, assist, and sometimes challenge readers, as medieval versions of biblical commentary and patristic works exemplify. The liturgical genres on display contain written and visual markers that instruct readers in the proper performance of the Mass, music, and specific feast days. The text portion of the liturgy helped stage the clergy's ceremonial duties. Liturgical fragments with musical notation assisted ritual actors in the memorization of stylized speech. Both components show how customized manuscripts promoted reading aloud. Miniature prayer books and books of hours demonstrate a late medieval trend toward privatized and personalized lay devotion.

Additional materials on exhibition include fine facsimiles from the Art & Architecture Library portraying the national origins of late antique and medieval scripts and illustration, fragments of ancient Egyptian papyri highlighting the gradual transition from papyrus to parchment and from scroll to codex, and a selection of codices and fragments - mainly recovered from the bindings of early printed books - from Stanford's paleography collections.

Far from being a static process, reading in the Middle Ages necessitated a dynamic relationship between manuscripts and their readers, at a much more deliberate and contemplative pace than most modern reading. As we encounter radical changes in our own digital age, this exhibit encourages us to think critically about how we interact with the text, and how these interactions condition the way we acquire knowledge.


Scripting the Sacred will be on display through January 6, 2013.

What's the first name you think of when considering the development of electronic music? Edgard Varèse? John Cage? Karlheinz Stockhausen? Now how about computer music? Max Mathews should be at the top of your list. While at Bell Laboratories in 1957, Mathews wrote the program MUSIC, ushering in an era of digital synthesis and composition. MUSIC went through many iterations, but its lasting influence can be seen in contemporary programs such as Max/MSP, itself named after the late pioneer.

Mathews' connection to Stanford is through the Department of Music and the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. Named a Professor of Music (Research) in 1985, Mathews continued pursuing digital sound synthesis techniques until his death on April 21, 2011. Although his recorded output is small, his contribution to the genre is no less important; he rightfully stands side by side with more prominent names on this illustrious compilation featuring the "early gurus of electronic music".  

His archives, which includes papers, digital files, video, and audio recordings, was acquired by University Archives earlier this year by way of Jerry McBride, Head Librarian of the Music Library. Once the finding aid was complete, the Stanford Media Preservation Lab took on the reformatting duties for the media portion. Part of the work will be completed in our lab over the coming month, while the rest will be outsourced to a vendor

All of the digital files will be available to the world in the not too distant future. Until then, here's a sample of what to expect.

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