By Beth Ryan and Jill Sison
Blog topic: Sound recordings
The Stanford piano roll scanner has progressed from a prototype to a functional, production level machine since the last report in spring of 2017. As reported earlier, the scanner is based on a design by Anthony Robinson, a piano roll expert in England.
The Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound is pleased to announce completion of the portion from the Robert Baxter Collection pertaining to the American-born Greek soprano, Maria Callas (1923-1977). During her lifetime, Callas was a fervent interpreter of the bel canto technique in the works of Donizetti, Rossini, and Bellini at La Scala, the Metropolitan Opera, and other notable venues. Her dramatic interpretations of Verdi and Puccini are often regarded as some of the finest interpretations of all time.
The Howe Collection of Musical Instrument Literature has now been processed and is available for research. The collection was created by Richard J. Howe, an oil company executive and mechanical engineer as well as a collector of mechanical musical instruments and associated literature. The Howe Collection of Musical Instrument Literature, one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of its kind, documents the development of the music industry and the manufacture of pianos, organs, and mechanical musical instruments. The materials in the collection include catalogs, books, magazines, correspondence, photographs, broadsides, advertisements, and price lists. The Howe collection was originally donated to the Institute of Piano Music at the University of Maryland and later transferred to Stanford to support the Player Piano Project.
Listening to music has become a passion in our current, busy lives. With the development of digital formats and downloading, digital music devices abound in the marketplace, our homes, and our offices—but the listening experience hasn’t always been this way. Just a century ago, before the advent of “digital,” or stereo, or even electric recording, people enjoyed recorded music through such formats as 78 rpm records, cylinders, music boxes, and player piano rolls.
The Chuck Black Endowment for Early Jazz and Blues promotes the study of early and traditional jazz, blues, and similar musical styles as they emerged and evolved from 1900-1950. In 2016-17 the Endowment acquired twenty-four rare blues recordings.
The Archive of Recorded Sound is developing rich collections of early and traditional jazz. In 2014 the Chuck Black Collection of 224 jazz recordings was donated to the Archive along with funds for cataloging and digitizing all of the discs. In addition, the Black family established the Chuck Black Endowment for Early Jazz and Blues to promote the study of early and traditional jazz, blues, and similar musical styles as they emerged and evolved from 1900-1950.
The Archive of Recorded Sound is happy to announce that the Strong Museum Collection (ARS-0190) of bound volumes of patents from the Aeolian Company, the Amphion Piano Player Company, and the Mason & Hamlin Piano Company is processed and is now open for research. The volumes cover piano, player piano, organ, and player organ patents filed with the United States Patent Office and the British Patent Office from 1825 to 1926. The volumes provide an extensive technical and historical overview of the inventions, innovations, and improvements in the musical instrument industry during this time period.