And the Strads Play On…

The Strads. They make string players salivate, and everyone knows the name to be synonymous with excellence. But how much do you really know about these pristine creatures of sound? Let’s start with the name – “Stradivarius”. Many are at least familiar with the fact that these string instruments were created by the famous violin […]

Come for the Stradivarius, Stay for the Buchla 100 Modular Synthesizer

Earlier this week the Library announced this year’s inductees into the National Recording Registry. Among the inductees is Morton Subotnick’s “Silver Apples of the Moon,” a piece composed on one of the unlikely treasures of the Music Division’s instrument collection. The following is a guest post by Steve Antosca,  a composer living and working in […]

Happy Birthday Les Paul

Guitarist and inventor Les Paul was born on this day in 1915.  Paul helped develop the Gibson Les Paul solid-body electric guitar, an instrument so iconic that the foreword to Les Paul’s memoir was written by none other than Paul McCartney.  Les Paul died last year, but his handiwork continues to be heard from the […]

Tweeting Our Own Flute

This post is adapted from notes by Carol Lynn Ward-Bamford, Exhibition Curator, Music Division. The exhibition As the Old Sing, So the Young Twitter takes its inspiration from the musical and verbal relationship between birds and flutes.  In the often archaic definition of words like “twitter,” “chatter,” “record,” and “warble” are links between birdsong and human music […]

A bit o’ Blarney from the Music Division

The  Music Division’s bonnie collections offer a variety of ways to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day. Play an Irish bagpipe from the Dayton C. Miller Flute Collection. Follow along to the reels described in Rinnce na h-Éireann : a simplified work on the performance of the dances of Ireland, from An American Ballroom Companion: Dance Instruction Manuals. Develop […]

Tooting our own Kazoo

The following is a guest post by Julianne Mangin, Library Services. National Kazoo Day, recognized on January 28th, celebrates what is perhaps the most accessible of all musical instruments, the kazoo.  If you can hum a tune, you can play a kazoo, which takes your voice and changes its timbre to give it a comically […]