Flute Blowout

While perusing The Wall Street Journal earlier this month, Musical Instrument Curator Carol Lynn Ward-Bamford happened upon a review of Canadian photographer Todd McLellan’s new book Things Come Apart and she stopped in her tracks. There she saw a photograph of a bicycle’s parts laid out neatly, grouped with like pieces (an example from his book of 50 items he took apart and photographed). The reason this image struck a chord with Carol Lynn? A similar concept found in the Music Division’s Dayton C. Miller Flute Collection:

Gold flute taken apart in stages for cleaning. Photograph from Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress (photo taken between 1903 and 1917).

Dayton C. Miller was an American scientist who took a special interest in the flute, including its history and construction. Just before his death, Miller donated his collection of flutes, flute literature, correspondence, and iconography to the Library of Congress. The above photograph from the collection shows a gold flute that Miller built himself and then took apart to clean. The collection also contains a log that Miller kept while he constructed the gold flute and, according to his notes in that log, he started building the flute in 1901. The photograph, however, is not labeled with an exact date; it could be dated from anywhere in the 1903-1917 time range. It’s great fun to point out a collection item that mirrors McLellan’s modern artistic study, and striking to see this kind of documentation of human interest in how things work.

The Miller Collection in the Music Division holds nearly 1700 flutes, iconography and statues, correspondence, photographs, scores, and more. Learn more about the collection by exploring the Dayton C. Miller online collection and the collection’s finding aid.

To Richard Wagner on His 200th Birthday: A Textilian Tale Retold

The following is a guest post by Senior Music Specialist Susan Clermont. Anniversaries commemorating the significant birthdays or deaths of famous composers often provide the curatorial staff here at the Library of Congress with great opportunities to take stock, so to speak, of what riches related to a certain figure might be found among our […]

ASCAP “We Write the Songs” 2013

  On Tuesday night the Library of Congress hosted the annual ASCAP “We Write the Songs” concert that celebrates the Library’s partnership with The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, a non-profit organization that handles licensing and royalties for songwriters. In 2010 the first “We Write the Songs” concert was produced as a celebration […]

Composer and Conductor John Adams in Residence at the Library

Distinguished American composer and conductor John Adams (b. 1947) will be in residence at the Library of Congress from May 22-25, 2013. Made possible by the Dina Koston and Roger Shapiro Fund for New Music, Adams has worked with Concerts from the Library of Congress to develop a unique series of programs that both honor […]

Connecting Culture and Community: Newly Available Webcasts

As part of our global mission, Concerts from the Library of Congress preserves all public programs for the national digital collections through film and audio recordings. Several webcasts of concerts, lectures and panels from the 2012-2013 season have recently been made available. Stay tuned to In the Muse for the release of even more webcasts […]