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Work on the Player Piano Project (PPP) continues at an impressive pace. Recent achievements include the completed cataloging, by Project cataloger Alyssa Hislop, of the Welte Mignon rolls in the Denis Condon Collection of Reproducing Pianos and Rolls, which can now be viewed in Searchworks; a full house at the project’s listening party last Friday; and most recently the launch of a subproject entitled the Piano Roll Scanner Project (PRSP). The PRSP formally marks the start of the digitization phase of the PPP. 

Music librarians from across California descended on the stately Brand Library & Art Center in Glendale at the end of October for our annual chapter meeting.  Presentations were given on a variety of current topics over two full meeting days. Topics included: a survey of student attitudes, behaviors, and knowledge of copyright as it affects music performance and study; how to develop a chamber music collection with strategic purchases; an introduction to the Center for New Music in San Francisco; creating a thematic catalog using Filemaker Pro; an introduction to the Women’s Song collection at UC Davis; progress on a longitudinal study of first-year music major information literacy skills; and a presentation on the nuts and bolts of the music appraisal business.

The Stanford University Archive of Recorded Sound has acquired the Richard J. Howe Mechanical Musical Instrument Literature Collection consisting of over 225 linear feet of publications and documents comprising more than 14,000 items. With this significant acquisition, Stanford Libraries will make available important primary source documents for research to support the newly launched Player Piano Project. The collection will be housed at the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound, a leading music archive with over 400,000 items in its permanent collection. 

“Paling’s Reproducing Records” is not a publisher. Even though that company meticulously adhered their label over the original one (see below) on the container, Peter Phillips graciously let us know that Paling’s was actually a music store in Australia, not a publisher. It was one of several stores in Sydney and Melbourne where one could borrow a piano roll from a lending library for a few cents. This put some of the other stamps and labels seen on rolls into a different context.

IPA Source is the largest collection of literal translations and International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) transcriptions on the web. The goal of IPA Source is to promote the comprehension and accurate pronunciation of foreign language texts in art song and opera in order that the singer may imbue each syllable with the appropriate emotional content. IPA Source offers texts to works for the solo voice in Latin, Italian, German, French, Spanish, and English. Our guiding principle is to offer great depth of literature in each language before adding a new "singing" languages. (Description taken from IPA Source web site)

Use of the database is restricted to Stanford users. Remember that if you are connecting from off campus, you will need to configure your web browser to use Stanford’s authenticated proxy server.

IPA Source has been added to the list of Databases and Indexes on the Music Library’s web page for your convenience.

“So, it’s the original karaoke machine?”

A recent visitor on a tour to the Archive of Recorded Sound made this comment to me as I showed off the roll I was cataloging. On plain beige paper, at first it looked like a regular piano roll. A label at the beginning. Expression and performance data perforations appeared as I unrolled the roll. Then, at the side: words! You can imagine gathering around the piano to sing along with a group of friends at a party, just as Stanford undergrads may have done at the Stanford Student Union in 1915 or Encina Commons in 1926.

Chopin's signature, from MLM 217 (detail)

View or download:

Piosnka litewska (Lithuanian song), op. 74, no. 16 [1830?]

Drei Ecossaises, op. 72, no. 3 (sketches) [1830?]

A song and piano sketches by Chopin share two sides of a single leaf, once belonging to Polish ethnologist and composer Oskar Kolberg (1814- 1890), and now residing in Stanford's Memorial Library of Music.  The Kolberg and Chopin families were neighbors, and Oskar followed Chopin at the Warsaw Lyceum, studying piano with one of Chopin’s teachers. Kolberg was a lifelong collector of music manuscripts, specifically Polish folk and national music, which he used in his scholarly endeavors.