Blog topic: Sound recordings
The Stanford Media Preservation Lab (SMPL) has many partnerships on campus and the recent move provided a great opportunity to spend some time working in the audio room of one of those partners, the Archive of Recorded Sound (ARS). Several recordings were digitized and documented while there. Two projects completed of interest are the digitization of several recordings made by the a cappella group the Stanford Mendicants and the transfer of cassette tapes from the book and audio set: Photochemistry of Organic Molecules (POM) held by the Media & Microtext Center.
In addition to its extensive audiovisual and print collections, the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound also maintains a collection of audio equipment that highlights the development of playback and recording since the turn of the 20th century. At the center of this collection is a magnificent set of historic phonographs, ranging from a 1901 Edison Home A cylinder phonograph to a 1926 Victrola Credenza. These machines practically demonstrate the rapid changes in audio playback formats and machinery that occurred during the first quarter of the 20th century.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of Abraham Tewolde, our Stanford University Libraries 1st-generation intern this summer, details and images of notable examples from this collection, along with demonstration videos, can now be found on the Archive's website.
Back in the 1980s, five libraries -- including Stanford's -- undertook an effort to provide better user access to their sound recording collections. The result of this effort was a union catalog of pre-LP disc holdings that made it possible for users to find out what each of the five institutions actually owned.
It is with a heavy heart that I introduce the fourth and final post by our Stanford University Libraries 1st-generation intern Abraham Tewolde, whose time with us here at the Archive of Recorded Sound comes to an end this Friday, August 16th. Working with Abraham this summer has been a real joy. The diligence, aptitude, and speed Abraham has demonstrated during his work here has been nothing short of remarkable, and witnessing the enthusiasm he has shown as he has learnt about the history of recorded sound, library research methods, and archival practice has been a true pleasure.
Thanks must go to Felicia Smith and Chris Bourg for devising and coordinating the excellent 1st-generation intern program here at Stanford Libraries. Thanks also goes to Benjamin Bates, Interim Operations Manger at the Archive of Recorded Sound, for his supervision of Abraham's daily tasks and help coordinating his schedule over the past few months.
All the staff here at the Archive would like to wish Abraham well as he starts college here at Stanford in the fall, and thank him for all of his hard work. We look forward to hopefully seeing more of him in the Archive in the near future.
In June 2009, University Organist Dr. Robert Huw Morgan embarked on a year-long series of recitals in honor of the 25th anniversary of the majestic Fisk-Nanney organ in Stanford’s Memorial Church. The programs consisted, quite simply, of the complete works for organ by another career organist, Johann Sebastian Bach. The Stanford Music Library is pleased to present streaming audio of these fourteen recitals through our website.
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.
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!