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Over the Rainbow, and More: Part 1

Every year, 25 recordings are added to the LOC’s National Recording registry, recordings that are considered “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” The purpose of this blog is not to list all 25 of them, but to highlight those where the song is part of the NLS Music collection. Most of these items may be downloaded from BARD. Keep reading, you may find some surprises, as I did.

Over the Rainbow

Over the Rainbow Judy Garland’s 1939 recording reminds me of family gathered around the television to enjoy “The Wizard of Oz.” In braille there is Popular Music Lead Sheets No. 34, BRM29295; a George Shearing arrangement in “The Giants of Jazz Piano”, BRM35937, volume 2; a version for B-flat cornet in “Our School Band Book”, BRM17941; plus “Popular Songs of Inspiration for Flute”, BRM34561; A version for B-flat clarinet and piano is at BRM21194.

Large-print readers will find the song in “Through the Years, Golden Standards”, ed. By Carol Cuellar, LPM621. And in “Standards and Showtunes, Book One”, by Dick Fieldhouse, LPM779.

In audio format, Bill Brown can teach you to play it by ear: On Alto sax, DBM02728; fingerstyle guitar, DBM03472; regular guitar DBM02665; soft-rock guitar (Eva Cassidy cover), DBM02809; piano, DBM02414.

American Pie

At first I just let myself enjoy the infectious beat of the music, but later I wrote to my favorite rock station, asking for their explanation of the lyrics (“When the jester sang for the king and queen in a coat he borrowed from James Dean”, etc.). RNIB’s transcription of the song is at BRM22298. The song is also included in “Great Songs of the 70s”, ed. By Milton Okun, BRM27690.

Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing

Two recordings of this great song were selected, one by Manhattan Harmony Four from 1923, along with a later version by Melba Moore. NLS patrons may borrow a large print version at LPM636 or  a braille version at BRM29554.

I will have more songs in Part Two.

Ganne, Alford, Holst, and Others: Music of World War I

This April marks the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I. The Library of Congress is commemorating that significant anniversary with exhibits, publications, and other various activities. As part of this commemoration, the NLS Music Section was asked to provide braille music for blind visitors. While going through the collection, we […]

Le Jazz Hot!

It’s always interesting to check the date for famous birthdays or events and see where reflections will lead.  Today, January 26, is the birthday of Stèphane Grappelli, French jazz violinist. That’s right, violinists can be jazz musicians, and once you hear a sample, you’ll start appreciating, and I hope, admiring the style.  In fact, stringed […]

Our Newest Books on (and off) BARD

Since it’s back-to-school time, many folks find themselves looking for new projects, new topics of interest, and new hobbies. I sincerely hope that many of you reading this are hoping to learn how to play music or your favorite song, improving your already extant musical skill, or maybe teaching yourself about some topic in music […]

Made in America

“Children must receive musical instruction naturally as food, and with as much pleasure as they derive from a ball game.” -Leonard Bernstein Today, we celebrate the birthday of Leonard Bernstein, one of the greatest American musicians of the twentieth century. Many of us know him as the celebrated conductor of the New York Philharmonic, the […]

More Than Bossa Nova (But We Have That Too)!

Tomorrow’s opening ceremony kicks off the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A tradition for 120 years, this is the first time that the event will be held in a South American country. In celebration of this historic event, and as a representation of just how international the NLS Music Section is, this blog […]

Finding Jimi and Django

In a recent NLS Music Notes blog post, “The Festival That Changed American Music,” I read about rock stars such as Jimi Hendrix who performed at the first Monterey festival in 1967.  Because of the recordings listed there, and my own experience of the NLS collections, I assumed that anything we have on Hendrix would be in audio format. So […]

Golden Days of Yesteryear

My attention recently was called to a very historic event; on June 2, 1896, Guglielmo Marconi applied to patent the radio. When we think of Marconi as the inventor of the radio, it is easily overshadowed by contemporary inventors of computers, 3-D printing, and copy machines. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to have […]