Thursday, April 17, 2014

Jazz Appreciation Month

April is Jazz Appreciation Month, designated by the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History:

Jazz got its start about a hundred years ago and quickly became America's national musical style, characterized by improvisation and a "swinging" rhythm.

It defined the 1920s high-living culture, a.k.a. "The Jazz Age," saw the country through a Depression and World War 2, spurred thoughtful innovation in the 1950s and 1960s, and blended with rock music and other styles after that.

During this month, special events around the country help spread awareness of this ever-evolving yet classic genre.  The Music Collection has books, scores, and recordings, and the Educational Resources collection has DVDs of live performances.  Click the links below to investigate library holdings.

Search Books Search Scores Search Articles Search Recordings Search DVDs

For an overview, listen to Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology (Compact Disc 20660)

You can search by era using the Media Finder for Music (Other than Classical).  Simply select jazz and pull-down for the decade:

Friday, March 21, 2014

March 24: World Tuberculosis Day

Luigi Boccherini
March 24, 2014 is World Tuberculosis Day, Tuberculosis is not the scourge it used to be, but it is still a worldwide health threat.  According to the United States' Center for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 10,000 cases of TB were diagnosed in 2012 in the United States, 100 of them in Indiana.

Tuberculosis has cut short the lives of many creative people, and profoundly influenced others. You may not even realize it when you read biographies because the word "consumption" is often used. Left untreated it kills up to half of its victims, but in the Twentieth Century treatment became more reliable and available.

These are some musicians who contracted TB:

    Frédéric Chopin
  • Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805),  Cellist and composer.
  • Frédéric Chopin (1810–1849),  Pianist and composer.
  • Charlie Christian (1916-1942), jazz guitarist. 
  • Johann Gottleib Goldberg (1727-1756), of "Goldberg" variations fame.
  • Yusuf Islam (a.k.a. Cat Stevens, b. 1948), singer-songwriter.  His bout with TB in 1969 was a pivotal experience in his life
  • Tom Jones (1940- ), pop singer.  He had TB as a child and spent two years recovering, listening to music.
  • Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
  • Vasily Kalinnikov (1866-1901), Russian symphony composer
  • Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710–1736), opera composer. He finished his Stabat Mater composition just two days before his death.
  • Jimmie Rodgers (1897-1933), country singer.  His best known song is "TB Blues."
  • Johann Schein (1586-1630), German composer
  • Ringo Starr  (1940 - ), contracted tuberculosis at age eleven and spent two years in a santitorium, where he learned to play drums as a form of therapy.
  • Ringo Starr
    1940 -
  • Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), modernist composer.  He survived his TB but his wife and one daughter did not.
  • Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826), opera and symphonic composer

For more information about tuberculosis, check CardCat for books and government publications, and Medline for scholarly articles in English (log-in required from off-campus).

Monday, March 17, 2014

Women in Music: Composers of Classical Music

For centuries, the music profession was almost entirely a man's world. Women could perform or compose as amateurs (or as nuns!) but it was unseemly for a woman to work for a living in any profession, including music. For most of history only a few women left behind scores that show how a woman could equal a man in talent, and with equal opportunity thrive in music.

Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) was given to a convent as a child by her family, became a nun, and eventually became the leader of a convent. She was known in her time as a healer, artist, theologian and musician. Due possibly to migraines, she had visions that led to insights and artwork. Her works are all in Latin, with theological themes, and sometimes also liturgical purposes (i.e., meant for performance during worship) because her entire life was spent within the confines of convent life. Her most famous work, Ordo Virtutum, is one of the first known plays with music. She was canonized after her death, and her feast day is September 17.

For more about Hildegard, check out these from Bracken Library

Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen DVD Video 11071, Educational Resources

Ordo Virtutum DVD Video 7667, Educational Resources

Hildegard von Bingen: The Woman of her Age BX 4700 .H5 M33 2001 2nd Floor, Bracken Library

Compact Discs:
A Feather on the Breath of God
Compact Disc 5711, Music Collection

The Origin of Fire: Music and Visions
Compact Disc 15515,  Music Collection

Friday, February 7, 2014

The British Invasion in Pop Music: 50 Years Ago

In 1964 The Beatles were the first big English act to cross the pond for commercial and artistic success in the huge United States teen market.  Baby boomers, children born between 1946 and 1960, had allowances to burn and wanted music they could dance to.  In the era of the 45 rpm single, young teens could buy two songs at a time, one on each side.  Usually only one side was a hit, but for The Beatles, both A-side and B-side were often hits.

Though they seemed like something new, their style was rooted in American rock and rockabilly of the 1950s, especially Chuck Berry,  Little Richard, and the girl groups of the early 1960s.  They covered the songs of these American artists when they performed Live at the BBC and on their first album, With the Beatles (1963).

With a hit song filling American airwaves, the Beatles arrived to throngs of eager fans on February 7, 1964.  The rest of the country would greet the four boys from Liverpool on February 9, 1964, when they appeared on  The Ed Sullivan Show, an influential weekly variety television show.  Girls who knew the Beatles' songs screamed and swooned, a reaction they would encounter everywhere they went for the next year or two.

The Beatles were followed by other groups from England, including  The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, and The Animals.  Since then the two countries have enjoyed a mutual fandom in popular music.

For more about the Beatles and the British Invasion, check out these books, CDs, and DVDs from the library:

A Hard Day's Night (1964 film)
DVD Video 493

The Beatles Anthology (documentary)
DVD Video 386

Beatlemania: Technology, Business and Teen Culture in Cold War America
ML 421 .B4 M55 2012

Beatlemania! The Real Story of the Beatles UK Tours, 1963-1965
ML 421 .B4 C74 2010

Mods Rockers, and the Music of the British Invasion
ML 3534.6.G7 P47 2009

Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain and America
ML 421 .B4 G68 2007

Meet the Beatles: A Cultural History of the Band that Rocked America
ML 421 .B4 S 68 2005

The Beatle Myth: The British Invasion of American Popular Music
ML 3534 .K44 1991

Beatles '64: A Hard Day's Night in America
ML 421 .B4 R39 1989

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger, folklorist,banjo player, activist and singer-songwriter, died this week at the age of 94.  With Woody Guthrie, he ushered in the Folk Revival movement.  His songs with The Weavers became commercial hits, but he's perhaps best known for the civil rights song, We Shall Overcome, which he adapted from an old folk song.   He leaves behind a wealth of iconic American songs, as well as some world songs that have become American staples.  He also helped promote the careers of other folk revival singers, including Bob Dylan.

Folk Music Revival (1940s - 1950s)
Seeger and his group, the Almanac Singers, sang songs for the labor movement of the 1940s.   After that he sang with The Weavers (1948-1958).  These are some of the most famous songs popularized by the two groups:
  • Aunt Rhodie
  • Goodnight, Irene (originally by blues singer Lead Belly)
  • If I had a Hammer
  • Kisses Sweeter than Wine
  • Kumbaya
  • Michael, Row the Boat Ashore
  • On Top of Old Smoky
  • Sloop John B
  • So Long (It's been good to know you)
  • Wimoweh
Solo Career
Seeger was targeted by the McCarthy era House Unamerican Activities committee, making participation with the Weavers impossible, so he set out on his own.  His 1960 concert at Bowdoin College in Maine was recorded by the campus radio station and represents his wide-ranging interests in folk song.  He continued to celebrate American working people, in his American Industrial Ballads album (1957), one of many he recorded for the Folkways label.

Civil Rights & Peace Songs
Seeger was active in social causes throughout his life, and composed or adapted songs that became synonymous with those causes.  He participated in the Civil Rights movement, the peace movement of the 1960s, protesting the Vietnam War, and ecological causes.
  • We Shall Overcome:  Seeger's adaptation of an old folk song became the anthem of the 1950s and 1960s Civil Rights movement.
  • If I had a Hammer is one of the peace songs of the 1940s that became popular again during the 1960s protests against the Vietnam War.
  • Blowing in the Wind:  The folk trio, Peter, Paul and Mary recorded this song.
  • Turn, Turn, Turn:  The Byrds famously covered this song that Seeger fashioned from verses from the Bible (Ecclasiastes).  The song expresses hope for a time of peace.
  • Where Have All the Flowers Gone?  This anti-war song was recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary and Seeger himself
  • Waist Deep in the Big Muddy:  Seeger sang this song twice on the Smothers Brothers television show.  Network censorship of the song the first time backfired, leading to the second performance.
  • Folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary popularized these and other songs by Seeger
  • Bruce Springsteen is one of many artists who admires Seeger and his songs.  He recorded an album of Seeger's songs:  We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions.
Learn more about Pete Seeger, the folk music renaissance of the mid-20th century, and protest music:

Pete Seeger: The Power of Song  (PBS American Masters, 2007)
DVD Video 4305
Compact Disc 19166

Where Have All the Flowers Gone: The Songs of Pete Seeger
Compact Disc 11227

Washington Square Memoirs: The Great Urban Folk Boom, 1950-1970
Compact Disc 11082

Pete Seeger: The Complete Bowdoin College Concert (1960)
Compact Disc 21051

Songs of Struggle and Protest, 1930-1950
Compact Disc 8065

Many songs by Seeger and others in the Folk Music revival movement were published in Sing Out magazine.

Books & Songbooks by Pete Seeger:

Everybody Says Freedom, by Pete Seeger
ML 3550 .S43 1989

Carry it on! A History in Song and Picture of the Working Men and Women of America
M1977 .L3 C33 1985

How to Play the 5-String Banjo: A Manual for Beginners
MT 560 .S55 H6 1962

The Incompleat Folksinger
ML 60. S444 I5

Monday, January 27, 2014

Grammy Winners in the Music Collection

Last night's Grammy Awards showcased old and new talent.  If you aren't familiar with them, the Music Collection has CDs to help you get acquainted (links go to library catalog listings):

Some great performers of earlier generations sang with modern stars:
Chicago performed with Robin Thicke

Willie Nelson performed with Blake Shelton (among others)

Carly Simon performed with Sara Bareilles

Stevie Wonder sang with Daft Punk

Metallica performed with classical pianist Lang Lang

... and partnered up with each other:
Aerosmith's Steven Tyler sang a few lines a Smokey Robinson song as they were about to present an award

The Beatles' Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr sang together.

The big winners

This year's winners include:
    Daft Punk:  Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best pop duo/group performance, Best Dance/electronica album, Best engineered album (Random Access Memories)

    Lorde: Song of the Year

    Macklemore & Lewis:  Best new artist, Best rap performance, best rap song, best rap album (The Heist)

    Bruno Mars:  Best Pop Vocal Album (Unorthodox Jukebox)

    Zedd:  Best Dance Recording
    Michael Bublé: Best traditional pop vocal album (To Be Loved)

    Imagine Dragons: Best rock performance

    Led Zeppelin:  Best rock album (Celebration Day)

    Black Sabbath:  Best metal performance (13)

    Rihanna: Best urban contemporary album (Unapologetic)

    Justin Timberlake:  Best R&B Song, Best rap/sung collaboration (with Jay Z), Best music video

    Alicia Keys: Best R&B Album (Girl on Fire)
    Darius Rucker:  Best country solo performance

    Civil Wars: Best country duo/group performance

    Mandisa: Best contemporary Christian album, Best contemporary Christian song

    Tuesday, December 31, 2013

    Auld Lang Syne

    The traditional New Year's Song, Auld Lang Syne, is a Scottish poem by Robert Burns (1759 - 1796) set to a folk song.  It is a song of nostalgia for the old days, and on New Year's Eve the "old days" are the days of the previous year.

    You can hear it sung by the U.S. Army Chorus via Naxos Music Library by clicking this link.  (Ball State login required)

    The Music Collection includes song books that are old enough to be out of copyright (i.e., published before 1923).  One song book includes an arrangement of this classic song - with all the original stanzas - for you to review before celebrating New Year's Eve (click to enlarge):

    Friday, December 13, 2013

    Top CDs of Fall Semester, 2013

    The Music Collection circulates CDs of all kinds of music for both study and enjoyment. This Fall, not counting CDs that were on reserve for classes, the following CDs were the top 10:

    Night Visions, by Imagine Dragons
    Compact Disc 21038

    In Utero, by Nirvana
    Compact Disc 17574

    Red, by Taylor Swift
    Compact Disc 21366

    Nothing but the Beat, by David Guetta
    Compact Disc 21140

    Born to Die, by Lana del Rey
    Compact Disc 21194

    Babel, by Mumford & Sons
    Compact Disc 21348

    Channel Orange, by Frank Ocean
    Compact Disc 21068

    The 20/20 Experience, by Justin Timberlake
    Compact Disc 21741

    The Truth About Love, by P!nk
    Compact Disc 21533

    Sigh No More, by Mumford & Sons
    Compact Disc 19845

    Wednesday, November 27, 2013

    Famous Moments In Rock History

    The History of Rock n' Roll includes many iconic moments.  Rock and television developed together, with live variety shows, news coverage, music videos, and marathon fund-raisers bringing the music and its culture into living rooms and the historical consciousness.  Some of the more memorable events are:

    1956  Elvis Presley appeared on The Ed Sullivan variety show, propelling him to superstar status.  His third appearance on the show was filmed from the waist up.

    1959  A plane crash in Iowa takes the lives of early rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the "Big Bopper."  The event was commemorated as "The Day the Music Died" in Don McLean's famous 1971 song, "American Pie."

    1964  Beatles on Ed Sullivan.  LIke Elvis before them, the Beatles' appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show was a milestone, ushering in the "British Invasion" of popular music.

    1967  Monterey Pop Festival was considered the beginning of the "Summer of Love" in California, with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, Otis Redding, and Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar.  It was the first big rock festival.

    1969  The Woodstock Festival  attracted 400,000 to a New York farm for a weekend of iconic musical acts.  For many the muddy three-day festival epitomized the counter culture of the Baby Boomer generation.  Artists included Arlo Guthrie,  Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Sly & The Family Stone, Jefferson Airplane, Santana,  The Who, and Jimi Hendrix who famously performed a psychedelic version of The Star Spangled Banner.  The film, Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace & Music documented the festival and the "Woodstock Generation" that attended.

    1969 Altamont Speedway in California was the site of a free concert in December, 1969. 300,000 people attended the poorly planned event that was supposed to be the West Coast's answer to Woodstock.  Four people died, and there were four births at the event.  The Rolling Stones' documentary, Gimme Shelter, includes footage of a Hell's Angels member (they were hired for security duty and paid in beer) stabbing a fan to death as he attempted to approach the stage brandishing a gun.  Instead of becoming another Woodstock, "Altamont" came to represent the antithesis of the Peace & Love event.  Rocker Patti Smith called it "the end of the idealism of the sixties."

    1969  Rocker Alice Cooper achieved notoriety after the "chicken incident" in which he tossed a live chicken off the stage at a concert, unaware chickens could not fly.  The crowd tore it to pieces and rumors spread that he had bitten off its head.  This incident marks the beginning of "shock rock."

    1979  Who Concert tragedy.  At Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati eleven fans were killed and 23 injured in a rush for the doors.   Meanwhile, Disco starts to dominate the airwaves.  It looked like stadium rock was coming to an end.

    1980  John Lennon was assassinated by Mark David Chapman, putting an end to any hopes of the Beatles getting back together.

    1983  U2's concert at Colorado's Red Rocks outdoor Amphitheatre was filmed under challenging conditions, giving the resulting film ("U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky") a unique look and helping to ignite their career.  Later bands would also record live concerts at Red Rocks.

    1984  Madonna's performance of "Like a Virgin" at the first MTV Video Music Awards was shocking for its time.  Dressed in a wedding gown, she fell to the floor, revealing her underpants.

    1985  LiveAid was a fundraising concert for victims of a famine in Ethiopia simultaneously held in England at Wembley Stadium, seating 72,000, and in Philadelphia's John F. Kennedy Stadium, seating 100,000 people.  Both were broadcast to an estimated audience of 1.9 billion.  One of the most memorable acts was Queen (Live at Wembley Stadium) due to Freddie Mercury's command of the crowd.  The U.K. concert ended with the song, "Do they know it's Christmas" and the U.S. concert ended with  Michael Jackson's song, "We Are the World."

    1986  Paul Simon performed with South African singers, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, on Saturday Night Live.  They had also collaborated on his album, Graceland.  The collaboration would be controversial, as some believed he was unethically exploiting their talent, and because there was a cultural boycott on South Africa at the time to combat Apartheid.

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    New Holiday Music in the Music Collection

    New releases, here in time for your holidays:

    Putumayo Presents: A Jewish Celebration
    Compact Disc 21806
    Beegie Adair:  Jazz Piano Christmas
    Compact Disc 21804
    Compact Disc 21804
    Mary J. Blige: A Mary Christmas
    Compact Disc 21805
    Susan Boyle: Home for Christmas
    Compact Disc 21802
    Mannheim Steamroller: Christmas Symphony II
    Compact Disc 21807
    Compact Disc 21807
    Punk Goes Christmas
    Compact Disc 21801

    Il Volo: Buon Natale, The Christmas Album
    Compact Disc 21803