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National Recording Registry Welcomes 25 New Works!

Today’s post is by Cary O’Dell, Boards Assistant to the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. Twenty-five new titles were selected by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden for induction to the National Recording Registry. The 25 new sound recordings have been recognized for their cultural, artistic and/or historical significance to American society […]

The First Jazz Recording: One Hundred Years Later

Today’s post is by David Sager, Reference Assistant in the Recorded Sound Section, Library of Congress. A momentous happening occurred on February 26, 1917 at the Victor Talking Machine Company, although no one quite suspected so at the time. Among the artists to be recorded that day—consisting of operatic baritone Reinald Werrenrath and tenor Lambert […]

Now Playing at the Packard Campus Theater (September 9-10, 2016)

The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson, an Administrative Assistant at the Packard Campus. Friday, September 9 (7:30 p.m.)—SOLD OUT!!! The Malpass Brothers Live in Concert Christopher and Taylor Malpass’s smooth vocal blend and skillful musicianship layer infectiously into the deep respect they pay to legends who have paved the way. The Malpass […]

Preserving Audio Cylinders: From Edison to the Archeophone

The following is a guest post by Audio Preservation Specialist Brad McCoy. Collections tend to take pride of place in any discussion of moving images and sound recordings at the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation. It’s understandable — we like talking about the more than 5 million items in our collective care. But we’re […]

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 […]