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Project South, 1965

On March 13th, NPR featured a story on the Project South Collection held in the University Archives and Archive of Recorded Sound. Entitled "A King Speech You've Never Heard--Plus, Your Chance to Do Archive Sleuthing," the article describes the rich treasures found within the audio recordings, including a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., and asks for volunteers to comb through the materials and share their findings. It also asks for volunteers to help us transcribe the remainder of the collection. So far, our crowd-sourcing experiment has yielded over twenty volunteers, who have completed five transcripts. Several more transcripts are in the works. We thank NPR and all our volunteers for their efforts as there is much work that remains to be done for this amazing collection.

The Project South Collection consists of transcribed interviews with Civil Rights workers in the South recorded by several Stanford students affiliated with the campus radio station KZSU during the summer of 1965. The project was sponsored by the Institute of American History at Stanford. Includes information relating to black history; interviews of members of the Congress of Racial Equality, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee; recordings of formal and informal remarks of persons working with smaller, independent civil rights projects, of local blacks associated with the civil rights movement, and other people, including Ku Klux Klansmen; "action tapes" of civil rights workers canvassing voters, conducting freedom schools, or participating in demonstrations ; speeches by and/or interviews with Ralph David Abernathy, Charles Evers, James Farmer, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Hosea Williams; and a Ku Klux Klan meeting and speech made by Robert Sheldon, its Imperial Wizard.

 

The blogger enjoying Denver's weather

A few weeks ago, Jerry McBride, Mimi Tashiro, Jon Manton, Casey Mullin (our musical colleague in Lathrop Library) and I traveled to the Mile High City of Denver Colorado for the 84th annual meeting of the Music Library Association.  We were greeted by a swirling snowstorm and single-digit temperatures: novel to us, not so much for the East Coast attendees!

The Archive of Recorded Sound (ARS) and Stanford Media Preservation Lab (SMPL) recently worked with the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), specifically Emeritus Professor John Chowning and current CCRMA director and Duca Family Professor Chris Chafe, to locate, research, and digitize a series of videos from the Archive's CCRMA Tape Collection (ARS.0037) documenting a significant event in the history of CCRMA and electronic and computer music at Stanford. 

In September 1991, numerous pioneers of electronic and computer music, including Robert Moog and Max Mathews, convened at Stanford during the University's centennial weekend (Sept 27-29, 1991) for a concert and symposium honoring the then 95 year-old inventor of the first practical electronic musical instrument, Leon Theremin. Theremin's instrument, which bears his surname, has become arguably one of the most well known and recognizable electronic musical instruments ever devised, and has since inspired numerous subsequent inventions, such as Max Mathews' radio batons. It has been used in countless musical works, perhaps most famously in the Beach Boys 1966 hit, Good Vibrations. It also gave rise to the career of virtuoso Theremin performer, Clara Rockmore. 

Alert 747: Cecil H. Green LIbrary exhibit of the Vela 6911 Collection by Victor Gama (Archive of Recorded Sound ARS.0149)

Alert 747: Suspected Nuclear Test  - A journey to uncover facts and create dialog through humanistic creative production. This February, Stanford University Libraries (SUL) highlights a special collection, Vela 6911 by Victor Gama, with an exhibit on display in the Green Library South Lobby from February 3- March 9, 2015.  Vela 6911 is a multimedia musical piece created by Victor Gama, an Angolan composer and designer of contemporary musical instruments for new music. This exhibit offers a glimpse into this vast collection of research, images, video content and musical scores that reside in the SUL Archive of Recorded Sound.  It also supports and coincides with the March 6th live performance of VELA 6911 by Gama, the Stanford University New Ensemble and special guests from Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA). Information about the concert is at the Stanford Events Page. 

Thomas Edison listening to a wax cylinder, 1888

About two months ago, I accidentally wandered into an antique shop in Fairfax, California. Inside there was a seemingly random arrangement of kipple which the shopkeeper clearly understood. It was as if I had discovered a surreptitious vault in an Indiana Jones movie filled with gleaming mounds of treasure, a glut of pearls and gold, a feast for the eyes*. I hesitated, unsure of where to start, slightly concerned that something would fall on me.

Fragment of Text of Canon Law dealing with statues in church

Eight new digital collections are now available in SearchWorks. These collections take advantage of SearchWorks' ability to provide users with rich discovery and access capabilities for finding and working with digital collection content.

Medieval fragments study collection, 11th-16th cent

Abstract: Primarily fragments, these specimens were acquired to demonstrate the development of writing in the western world. A variety of scripts are represented, from Carolingian minuscule to the humanistic hands and the "cancelleresca."

Collection contact: Benjamin Albritton

Image of ars0033_7inch_d86

A wide range of sound recordings come to SMPL for digitization. Recently two disc recordings from the Archive of Recorded Sound’s Non-Commercial disc collection (ARS 0033) appeared in our queue: 6” duo disc blanks likely dating from the late 1940’s into the early 1950’s with recordings on one side. The discs appear to be have been recorded by a service called Santa Gram that sold semi-custom recorded greetings from Santa to children. 

Q.R.S Playasax roll

Staff at the Archive of Recorded Sound recently came across a particularly unusual item while unboxing and sorting the Denis Condon Collection of Reproducing Pianos and Rolls, part of the recently announced Player Piano Project here at Stanford. 

This small roll, just 4.5 inches wide, was found among approximately 7500 of its larger brothers and sisters - the reproducing piano rolls that make up the Condon Collection. Following further research, it was discovered that this roll was designed for a toy, a type of player saxophone called the Playasax, produced by Q.R.S. Q.R.S are in fact the only surviving piano roll company still in existence today. 

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