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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.

Women in the Arts

I have blogged previously about Women in Music  and although the official calendar date has passed for Women’s History Month, I would like to share my experience from a forum sponsored by the Library of Congress. Leaders in the Arts was a conversation held in the beautiful Members Room on March 22, 2017, with Librarian Carla Hayden […]

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 […]

New Catalog Available!

Maybe that’s not the most exciting news you’ll hear today, but we’re excited! The Music Appreciation Catalog is making its debut and ready for all patrons interested in learning about music. Previously, we had music instruction and music appreciation joined together in one large print catalog, and while they were happy sharing the space, it was […]

Celebrating Black Composers

In honor of Black History Month, this blog post will highlight materials in the music section that are written by or about African American composers. These composers wrote in many styles, including popular, Western classical, jazz, gospel, and more. Here is some music by three Black composers that we have available in our collection. Harry […]

A Miniaturist and More

For many music lovers, the end of January brings to mind two birthdays: Mozart’s on the 27th, and Schubert’s on the 31st. Could a composer born between these two giants, end up being overlooked? Perhaps. It was while preparing my blog about the Viking Opera Guide (BRM29585) that I learned that the 29th of January […]

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 […]

For Braille Readers—A Real Treasure Trove

This afternoon, I looked at the Metropolitan Opera schedule, which appears in the October-December issue of our quarterly magazine The Musical Mainstream. It lists all of the operas to be performed, along with NLS materials, librettos, lectures, etc., pertaining to the operas. Nowhere did I find any mention of a reference book that I read […]

A Four Hour Concert in an Unheated Hall

On this day, over two hundred years ago, a historic concert took place. It was in Vienna, in the middle of the Advent season, and Beethoven needed some money. “But, Beethoven,” you would say, “surely he was doing fine! He is Beethoven! Everyone loves him!” However, in Vienna in 1808, just because everyone loved you […]