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Steinway Red Welte Reproducing Piano, 1922 (detail)

In support of a major initiative to bring attention to the study of roll playing musical instruments, the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound and Department of Music have acquired the Denis Condon Collection of Reproducing Pianos and Rolls, a collection of over 7500 rolls and ten players. The Condon Collection has long been known as one of the most important collections of reproducing pianos and piano rolls in private hands. Leading figures in the field of rolls and players are working along with Stanford faculty and staff on the project. The initiative will include roll preservation through scanning and digitization, restoration of instruments for playback, item level cataloging to allow for content discovery, and research into under-represented or rare systems and rolls. Plans for the collection include making streaming audio files of the recordings available to the public at large.

A compact cassette from the Clayman institute on Gender Studies SC0705

While often at the Stanford Media Preservation Lab we work with sound recordings Stanford acquired long ago sometimes we have the opportunity to work on media freshly acquired on the premise of immediately serving faculty and students. Recently a case like this occurred.

DAT

The Stanford Media Preservation Lab has kicked around the idea of building a dedicated Digital Audio Tape (DAT) "ripping" workstation around a Digital Data Storage (DDS) drive for a few years, but we never pursued it in earnest. We assumed the benefits of using a computer drive to read audio DATs largely centered around extraction time and reporting. Transferring a DAT in a conventional deck is done in real-time, whereas a DDS drive, we were told, would rougly cut the time in half depending on the speed of the drive (Peter Oleksik's retrospective on the Fugazi archive mentioned speeds up to 4x real-time using the DDS method with a Sony SDT-9000 drive and DATXtract). We also liked the idea of accompanying logs identifying where dropouts occurred. Still, we were skeptical whether such a system would be better than one designed around multiple conventional decks. Was there a way to test both methods without investing a bunch of money in late 1990s computer components?  

‘AHAmele – Oakland based Hawaiian Music Ensemble

The Archive of Recorded Sound (ARS) recently took an active role in two courses during the spring semester, one in the Stanford Music Department and the other in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, to encourage students to deposit their final projects into the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR). The purpose of working with these courses was primarily to introduce students to the SDR and its many benefits, and to walk them through the process of using the SDR's self-deposit tool. This instruction was backed up by customized online screencasts that guided students through the deposit process for the particular sets of materials within their projects. The rate of deposit for both courses was extremely high as the professors in each case elected to make the deposit of final projects into the SDR a mandatory part of the courses' requirements.  

Tape container for Wind (1961)

The Archive of Recorded Sound is delighted to announce that the Richard Maxfield Collection (ARS.0074) can now be listened to online, via the collection's finding aid on the Online Archive of California. This collection features nine distinct works by electronic music composer Richard Maxfield, composed between 1959-1964, four of which are believed to be previously unpublished (Dromenom, Electronic Symphony, Suite from Peripateia, and Wind). Additionally, as Maxfield frequently produced unique edits of his work for each performance, many of the open tape reels that form this collection include alternative edits to those previously published, such as the tapes for Amazing Grace which feature three different versions of the work. 

Blanche Thebom as Laura, in La Gioconda

The Archive of Recorded Sound recently processed a number of important additions to the Blanche Thebom Collection (ARS.0059), courtesy of Phyllis Villec, a close friend of Thebom's for many years. These additions include a substantial number of programs, newspaper clippings, correspondence, ephemera, photographs, and personal documents spanning the mezzo-soprano's career.  

Image of Allen Ginsberg Papers Cassette

One of the remarkable things about large digitization projects is that not just formal events are preserved but also informal events are preserved for future access. As a matter of process the Stanford Media Preservation Lab takes part in the preservation of media that captures these special informal events.  Recently while working on a portion of the Allen Ginsberg papers many recordings were digitized but (at least) two recordings were re-formatted that informally capture his friendships with other important 20th century figures.

Monterey Jazz Festival logo

The Archive of Recorded Sound has recently processed the following collections: 

Monterey Jazz Festival Collection

(N.B details of the live festival recordings in this collection have been online for some time. Recent processing has included the creation of a finding aid that details the entire collection in addition to these live audio and video recordings). 

This collection contains the archives of the Monterey Jazz Festival from 1958 to the present. It primarily consists of unpublished sound recordings and videos of festival concerts, and interviews and panel discussions in various formats, many of which are also available as digital sound and video files. Also included are a variety of recordings received with the collection that are not recordings from the festival itself, but instead feature content connected to the festival in some way, such as studio recordings of artists who performed at the festival, demo tapes for artists wishing to perform at the festival, or various recordings relating to festival founder Jimmy Lyons in some way. Some books, photographs, posters, programs, and other miscellaneous papers can also be found in the archives. The collection adds material every year.

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