{ subscribe_url:'/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/nls-music-notes.php' }

From Anderson to Zaninelli: Audio Lessons for Classical Singing

Our exploration of audio instruction for singing in the NLS Music collection has one final stop: art song and opera! And who better to inspire us in our musical endeavors, particularly during African American History Month, than contralto Marian Anderson (1897-1993)? In addition to being the first singer to record African American spirituals with a major American record label in 1923, she became the first black singer to perform as a member of the Metropolitan Opera in 1955. Listen and be transported by this 1924 recording of Anderson singing “My Lord, what a mornin’,” courtesy of the National Jukebox. Log in to BARD or contact your local talking-book library to learn about talking books and braille books about Marian Anderson available from the NLS collection. You can also learn much more about Anderson’s musical life and legacy in three excellent blog posts that our colleagues here at the Library of Congress have written in recent years:

Portrait of Marian Anderson singing.

[Portrait of Marian Anderson singing]. Photographic print by Carl Van Vechten, Jan. 14, 1940. //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c03734

Once you’ve learned the basics of healthy vocal production by using the audio lessons and courses that I listed in my first post of this series, you can use the NLS Music Section’s audio instruction offerings to familiarize yourself with the Western canon of art song as well as practice the songs you’re learning. In this post I’ll introduce you to the two series in our collection that will accompany you on your journey.

First, we have a remarkable series of nearly 200 lessons on individual art songs, including Italian arias, French chansons, and German lieder. Don’t worry: there are some English songs too! Each lesson includes a performance of the song, a reading of the lyrics for diction guidance, an English translation of the lyrics (when necessary), and a recording of the piano accompaniment by itself so that you can practice singing with it. Opera singer and educator Nico Castel, who passed away in 2015, provides instruction for all lessons in the series.

An easy way to browse all the lessons in this series using BARD or the NLS Voyager catalog is to search for “MusAcom,” which is the company that produced the series. You could also search for “Nico Castel.” As an example, this series has lessons on several songs from the collection of 24 (or, in recent editions, 28) Italian songs and arias that was compiled by Alessandro Parisotti in the 1880s but which many teachers use to this day. For certain songs, lessons are available for multiple vocal ranges. For example, a lesson on the aria “Per la gloria d’adorarvi,” by Giovanni Bononcini, is available for soprano, mezzo, tenor, and baritone voices.

In addition to these standard Italian arias, Nico Castel also provides lessons on four songs by Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo (1901-1999), who was blind and composed in braille music code:

Okay, let’s say you’ve learned your songs and want to practice but your lovely pianist friend isn’t there to play with you. The NLS Music Section has you covered! Nico Castel’s lessons all include a piano accompaniment track you can use to practice, but we additionally have six collections of piano accompaniment tracks that you can use to practice your lesson or prepare for your performance:

If you’re curious about what else is in our music instruction collection, you can browse our Music Instruction Catalog on the NLS website, contact the Music Section to request large-print copy, or listen to the catalog in audio format on BARD (DBM03542) or on digital cartridge. If you don’t see what you’re looking for in the catalog, please contact the Music Section by phone (1-800-424-8567, option 2) or e-mail ([email protected]).

What Do Music Reader Service Librarians Do?

As many of you know, the NLS Music Section is a specialized music library serving blind and print-impaired patrons. This week’s blog post will reveal some of the many interesting things our music reader service librarians do. One of the most important tasks we do in the Music Section is reference service. We receive diverse […]

New BARD Additions: October 2018

This is a guest post from Hannah Noel, a West Coast native currently living in North Carolina. She is a recent graduate of UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science, where she earned her MSLS and focused her studies on archival work in an arts and museum-specific context. She is interning at NLS at the […]

American Composers and Musicians from A to Z: G (Part 2–Grasse, Edwin)

Welcome to a new installment of the NLS Music Section’s journey through the alphabet to learn about musicians and composers who were blind or visually impaired. In part 2 of the letter G, we’ll meet Edwin Grasse and introduce our new violin scores catalog.

Carnegie Hall of the South: Nashville’s Musical Legacy, Part 2

This is the second half of a two-part post on Nashville’s musical history and related books in the NLS Music Collection. Read the first part here: Athens of the South: Nashville’s Musical Legacy, Part 1. Nashville’s most famous music venue, the Ryman Auditorium, was completed in 1892 and was originally a church called the Union […]

Athens of the South: Nashville’s Musical Legacy, Part 1

Here in the Music Section of the National Library Service we are counting down the days until the National Conference of Librarians Serving Blind and Physically Handicapped Individuals begins next month in Music City, Nashville, Tennessee! As I mentioned in my last article, I’ve been taking the opportunity to learn about the musical history of […]

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 […]

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 […]

A Trip Around the World with the NLS Music Section

Do you want to learn how to play piano? We have a book for you! Do you want the libretto for your favorite opera? We have that as well! Do you want to learn about folk music from around the world? Well, we also have books about that. Many patrons get to know us through […]