Friday, June 18, 2010


Juneteenth is a celebration of the ending of slavery in the United States.  Although the Emancipation Proclamation officially ended slavery on January 1, 1863, word didn't reach many slaves in the South until after the end of the Civil War in 1865.   Slaves of Galveston, Texas learned of the proclamation on June 19, 1865, and this became the date for anniversary celebrations thereafter.  At first, it was commemorated only in Texas, but the date has achieved significance in more and more places, and today is an official or unofficial holiday in many U.S. states.  Muncie first celebrated Juneteenth in 2003.

While slavery defined the black experience in America before 1865, the fight for justice and civil rights continues to this day.  Music gave slaves and civil rights workers a soundtrack to inspire and to soothe.  You can mark Juneteenth by listening to spirituals, which expressed the feelings of slaves and in some cases sent coded messages along the Underground Railroad. 

After Emancipation, groups of newly-freed slaves from black colleges, such as the Fisk Jubilee Singers, took spirituals and other styles on the road to raise awareness of black musical culture and of Fisk Jubilee Singers, with their conductor

In the Twentieth Century, many notable musicians worked for justice and equality, though it didn't always come through in their music.  They used their fame to draw attention to important causes and to highlight situations that white Americans may not have known about.  The civil rights movement's two famous songs are "We Shall Overcome," and "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," by James Weldon Johnson & J. Rosamund Johnson. It is considered by many to be the "Black National Anthem."

For CardCat listings of recordings by of some of these musicians, follow the links below:

Paul Robeson

Marian Anderson

William Grant Still (composer)

Harry Belafonte

Miles Davis


Curtis Mayfield

Nina Simone

Bernice Johnson Reagon

photo of Marian Anderson singing at the Lincoln Memorial
Marion Anderson

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Flag Day: June 14

Painting of famous Iwo Jima flag-raising photoJune 14  is "Flag Day" a commemoration of the day in 1777 when the Second Continental Congress adopted the stars & stripes as the official flag for the new country.  The date wasn't celebrated until World War I, when President Wilson established June 14 as Flag Day Since then, Americans have been encouraged to fly the flag for the entire week that includes June 14, and many communities hold celebrations or parades.

Star Spangled Banner lyrics in Scott's handThe most famous song about the flag is the Star Spangled Banner, which tells the story of the flag that flew during the Battle of Fort McHenry.  Francis Scott Key wrote the words and set them to a pre-existing melody, Anacreon in Heaven. It has been America's National Anthem since 1931. The original hand-written copy of the lyrics (left) is owned by the Library of Congress.  

The official march of the United States is also about the flag:  The Stars and Stripes composed in 1896 by Marine Band conductor and leader, John Philip Sousa (right).  It was designated the official march in 1987.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

4th Floor Update

photo of student assistants with loaded book cartsBracken Library student assistants (and some full-time staff) have been busy for weeks moving the Music Collection print resources to the 4th floor in preparation for Lower Level recarpeting.  All the MLs are now on the 4th floor, and the MTs are almost all there.  The last books to be moved will be the reference collection.

To get to the temporary location:
  • Where you used to go down, go up!
  • Where you used to turn left, turn right!
  • Where you used to turn right, turn left!
Then you should start to see some signs!
photo of sign pointing to temporary shelvesphoto of aisle with sign to right on wall and shelves to left with call numbers near the top of each end panel

...and remember shhhhhhhh The 4th Floor is a Quiet Zone.   No singing!!!

photo of signs saying Quiet Zone

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Update: The Scores are now all on the 4th Floor!

All the scores (a.k.a. sheet music) have now been moved to the Fourth Floor. These are identified by call numbers beginning with the letter "M," followed by a number (vs. ML, which are books). The regular-sized scores are at the beginning, followed by the Oversized items and then the miniature scores. CardCat indicates whether a score is Oversized or Miniature in the detailed view under "material:"

 ******  As always, feel free to ask for assistance. ******
******  We are happy to help.  ******

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June: Gay and Lesbian Pride Month

photo of John Cage and Merce CunninghamWhat began as a single day of pride commemorating the Stonewall Riots of 1969 that sparked the Gay Liberation Movement has grown to a whole month: In 2000, June was designated an official month of celebration and memorials.

Music wasn't as integral to this movement as it was to the Civil Rights movement, but the movement did impact scholarship and creativity in music. Long-dead composers whose private lives remained private have been "outed" and some living musicians have declared their sexual orientation publicly.

"Queer" theory has played a role in recent music scholarship, and sexual identity has become a topic of scholarly inquiry in music:

Queering the pitch: the new gay and lesbian musicology
ML 55 .Q44 1994

Queer Noises: Male and Female Homosexuality in Twentieth Century Music by John Gill
ML 63 .G49 1995

Songs in Black and lavender : race, sexual politics, and women's music, by Eileen Hayes
ML 82 .H42 2010
Album Cover of Gay American ComposersAlbum Cover of Lesbian American ComposersSeveral of the Twentieth Century's top composers were gay. You can hear the variety of styles they represented on Compact Disc 4419, Gay American Composers and Compact Disc 4904, Lesbian American Composers