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“Away with Harmony as the Cement of my Architecture!”: Arnold Schoenberg at 140

This Saturday, Arnold Schoenberg celebrates his 140th birthday. All those who have studied music have come across Schoenberg’s compositions in one way or another, and whether they love, despise, or are intrigued by his works, it’s undeniable that Schoenberg had an enormous impact on 20th and 21st century art music. I must admit, I have […]

We’re Not Always About Long-Haired Music; an Introduction to Popular Music Lead Sheets

When you say the word music, people usually agree that they like it. In fact, I’ve never heard anyone say anything else; and if they didn’t like music, that would be a sad day for me.  But, music covers a lot of territory, and people have their reasons for liking or identifying with what appeals to […]

Just Call Him “Doc” : NLS Guitar Materials Featuring Doc Watson

I grew up in the foothills of North Carolina in an area where music styles and lyrics known to the Southern Appalachians trickled down and nestled in my bones. In writing about the music culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains, what would a discussion of NC mountain music be without the mention of legendary guitar […]

“Take Five”…and Check Out Our Jazz Titles

Although the majority of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) Music Section’s collection deals with classical music, we also have a wide array of materials dedicated to the great American art form–jazz. In this blog post, I will detail some of the special format materials in our collection that jazz […]

In Performance: Musicians Take the Stage

While most people associate Louis Braille with the system of reading and writing for the blind, many are not aware he was also an accomplished organist and musician.  There is good evidence he created the Braille code for music first and language second.  But whichever came first, the literary or the music code, we’re just grateful […]

Soul Music? Let’s talk about Ray Charles!

Summer and jazz seem to go hand-in-hand. I am noticing weekend jazz festivals and evenings of “jazz in the park” all over the D.C. area. I am sure some of you have enjoyed some of these events where you live. Now I am thinking about jazz! This thought lends itself to a discussion of related genres like […]