{ subscribe_url: '/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/navcc.php' }

Is It Live or Is It Edison?

Today’s entry is a guest post by Jan McKee, Reference Librarian, Recorded Sound Research Center. I have always wondered about the Edison tone tests.  Is it really possible that an audience could not tell the difference between an Edison Diamond Disc being played on a phonograph and the live performer singing while standing next to […]

The Old 97

Folklorist Norm Cohen has astutely observed that “[f]olklore thrives where danger threatens” (The Long Steel Rail, cited below, p. 169). The annals of commercially recorded traditional and popular song provide abundant support for this conclusion. In fact, by the early twentieth century — especially the decades of the teens and twenties — nearly every imaginable disaster or mishap was memorialized in song.  Natural disasters are […]

Where the River Shannon Flows

This blog post was co-written with Jan McKee, Reference Librarian, Recorded Sound Section, Library of Congress It wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s Day without some sentimental Irish ballads to listen to with our green beer, and the name that is most synonymous with Irish ballads is John McCormack. John McCormack (1884-1945) was an Irish born American […]

Grammy Awards

Be sure to tune into the 57th Annual Grammy Awards this Sunday.  We’ll be watching it with great interest here in the Recorded Sound Section at the Library of Congress as two members of our technical staff have been nominated! Robert Friedrich, Audio Preservation Specialist at the Library’s National Audio-Visual Conservation Center,  has been nominated […]

What We’re Reading Now: Recent Additions to the Reference Collection in RSRC

This blog post was co-written with Jan McKee, Reference Librarian, Recorded Sound Section, Library of Congress. The Recorded Sound Research Center not only provides access to the Library’s sound recordings but it also maintains a collection of reference books that support materials in the collection. These books include discographies, bio-discographies, directories, histories, and technical works […]

Gargantuan Graphophone Records

At some point time around the year 2008 the last physical audio format, the cd, seems to have nearly winked out of existence. Its replacement? An army of wispy, intangible files including mp3, .aiff, wave, ogg vorbis, flac and many others.  Of course, many of these formats produce very high-quality audio, and I can now pack a collection of […]

It’s scandalous! It’s immoral! It’s the “Turkey Trot”!

This blog post was co-written with Jan McKee, Reference Librarian, Recorded Sound Section, Library of Congress. This year, after Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family, why not burn off some of those calories and thwart those tryptophans by dancing the Turkey Trot instead of sleeping on the living room sofa?  This vigorous dance was developed […]

The Elusive Buddy Bolden

 The following post is by David Sager,  Processing Technician in the Recorded Sound Section, Library of Congress. This post is in commemoration of the 84th anniversary of Buddy Bolden’s death and the never-ending discussion of his legendary lost cylinder recording. Charles “Buddy” Bolden, 1877-1931, often referred to as the “first man of jazz,” holds an […]

A Look Inside the National Jukebox

What follows is a guest post by Carla Arton and Harrison Behl, processing technicians in the Recorded Sound Section, Library of Congress   In May 2013, the staff-led Packard Campus Institute (PCI) hosted a presentation on the National Jukebox by Gene DeAnna, Head of the Recorded Sound Section at the Library of Congress. In his presentation, Gene showcases […]