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Sousa’s Birthday

Last week on November 4th, Americans performed their civic duty and voted in the 2014 mid-term elections. Last week on November 6th, one of America’s most famous composers, native Washingtonian John Philip Sousa, celebrated his 160th birthday. It is fitting, then, to celebrate a composer’s music that is inextricably tied to American patriotism, both at […]

Who Needs Country Music?

The following is a guest blog by Benjamin Bass who was the recorded sound technician in the Music Section of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. If you’ve ever had a conversation asking someone about what kind of music they are into, I’m sure you’ve heard something along the lines of […]

Some Splendid Saint-Saëns Selections

Today we celebrate the 179th birthday of Camille Saint-Saëns, a famous French composer, most well-known for his works The Carnival of the Animals, Danse macabre, Samson and Delilah, and a number of other pieces. Saint-Saëns began his musical studies at the incredible age of three, while he was living with his mother and aunt in […]

Folks are Folks; Women in Bluegrass Music and Beyond

As we add titles to our collection from the Smithsonian Collection, we are eagerly learning more about different music genres and their development, particularly of American Folk Music. When I was told I would have “other duties as assigned” there was no indication that those duties would be so enjoyable. I grew up listening to […]

Mahalia Jackson, Lead Belly, Paul Robeson, and Jazz: Our Newest Acquisitions

The NLS Music Section recently acquired audio materials produced by Smithsonian Folkways. I would like to introduce and expand upon four new audio titles that are now available to our patrons. We are excited about these titles because we have added a new braille element to some of our audio. Read more about our new Smithsonian Folkways acquisitions — and our process […]

“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 […]