Blog topic: Sound recordings

Researching Phonographs - Abraham Tewolde

July 26, 2013

In the third of a series of posts our Stanford University Libraries 1st-generation intern Abraham Tewolde has produced during his summer at the Archive of Recorded Sound, Abraham discusses the research work he is currently undertaking into the Archive's world class phonograph collection. This work has involved him learning basic research methodology, utilizing Searchworks, XSearch, and other such discovery tools to identify books, articles, and online resources pertaining to phonographs. I tasked Abraham with improving upon the Archive's current information for each phonograph, locating information for facets such as original price, city and country of production, date of production, and any additional background information he found during his search. The results of his research will form the basis of a description for each item in an upcoming online phonograph gallery, to be published shortly on the Archive's website

Arpa players

Spotlight on Smithsonian Global Sound

July 18, 2013
by Ray Heigemeir

Have you ever wanted to explore new music but perhaps needed some inspiration? Some site that wasn’t Top 40 radio?  Let me recommend Smithsonian Global Sound (access for Stanford students, faculty and staff). I recently looked for some traditional mariachi music--perfect for those warm summer days. A search for “mariachi” led me to over 20 albums of mariachi music and related genres.  I chose to play music of the conjunto de arpa grande (big harp ensemble), a “country cousin” of the mariachi ensemble.  These big harp ensembles consist of violins, guitars, and harp, without the trumpets so common to mariachi groups. The sones (sentimental songs) and valonas (poetic narratives) were sung with a wonderful directness and vocal flair.  The playing was rhythmic, tuneful, and celebratory.  Perfect!

Media Lab prepares for relocation to Redwood City

July 14, 2013
by Hannah Frost

The Stanford Media Preservation Lab (SMPL) – the unit responsible for digitization and preservation of Stanford University Libraries' (SUL) extensive holdings of sound recordings and moving images -- is busy this summer preparing for our new home at 425 Broadway in Redwood City. SMPL is one of several SUL divisions relocating from our current occupancies at 1450-1454 Page Mill Road at the behest of the University.

Over 50 pieces of film, audio, video playback and treatment equipment -- nearly 1 ton of gear -- plus the desks of SMPL's four staff will be moved over Labor Day weekend (August 31 – September 2, 2013). In preparation for the move, normal lab operations will begin to wind down in early August. The work to reconfigure, cable and re-install the equipment will take 2-4 weeks. We expect to resume regular levels of services and productivity by October 1.

Abraham Tewolde

Archive of Recorded Sound intern Abraham Tewolde

It is my pleasure to introduce Abraham Tewolde, a new intern at the Archive of Recorded Sound who is taking part in Stanford University Libraries 1st-generation summer intern program this summer.  During his time here Abraham will be learning how a sound archive functions and operates, including work on finding aids, digitization, inventory control, accessioning, and research skills.

Abraham will also be a guest blogger during his time here. Please enjoy below the first of a series of posts Abraham will be offering over the summer. 

Celebrating 100 years of "The Rite"

May 29, 2013

Today marks 100 years to the day since the infamous first performance of Igor Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) at the Théâtre des Champs‐Elysées in Paris on 29 May 1913. The 31-year-old composer's two-part ballet score, coupled with 24-year-old Vaclav Nijinsky's choreography, provoked a riot on the opening night that according to most accounts rendered the music inaudible for most of the performance. The protests were so loud that Ballet Russes Director, Serge Diaghilev, was supposedly forced to shout instructions to his dancers onstage while flashing the auditorium's house lights in an attempt to quell the enraged audience. 

Betty Grover Eisner audiotape

Psychedelic therapy: Betty Grover Eisner and LSD

April 29, 2013
by Geoff Willard

The Stanford Media Preservation Lab recently completed reformatting the audio tapes contained in the Betty Grover Eisner papers, held by University Archives. Eisner was at the vanguard of using LSD and other psychedelic drugs in her psychotherapy research during the 1950s and 60s. The majority of the tapes document long, multi-hour therapy sessions, with patients on mind alterting substances. Because of the content, which is often sexually explicit, these tapes are restricted; those interested patrons who want to listen to these tapes should contact the University Archivist for more information. A handful of tapes do have worldwide access however, including this cassette of a talk Eisner gave at a UCLA psychology seminar exactly 42 years ago. 

Edison Home Phonograph (detail)

New services at the Archive of Recorded Sound

The beginning of 2013 has seen a number of significant developments at Stanford's Archive of Recorded Sound, especially in the area of patron services, both at the Archive itself and online.  

Information relating to these improved services can be found on the Archive's new website. This detailed resource also includes information on the Archive's extensive collections, guidelines for planning a research trip to the Archive, and finally recommendations for notable sound recording research tools, both online and in print.

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