Newsletter of the MIT Lewis Music Library
Spring 1998

Lewis Music Library, 14E-109
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
Lewis Music Library Home Page: http://libraries.mit.edu/music

Forrest Larson, Circulation and Reserves Assistant, 617-253-5689, 253-0982
Christina Moore, Processing Assistant, 617-253-3974
Peter Munstedt, Music Librarian, 617-253-5636; fax 617-253-3109

New Acquisitions


As a music library at a school of technology, we are always on the lookout for music that has some relation to technology. Electronic music is perhaps the most obvious example of such an interaction, but technological themes have been showing up in music for a long time. This past summer, the Lewis Library established a new collection that links technology and popular American sheet music. The "Inventions of Note" sheet music collection consists of popular American sheet music that praises (and sometimes curses) new inventions and technologies of the day. Most of these pieces date from around 1890 to 1920, although there are no chronological limits to the collection. While we may take for granted such inventions as the automobile, airplane, radio, or telephone, the initial appearance of these and other inventions caused a wide range of responses in American society. This collection (currently approximately 75 titles) reflects those reactions through the medium of popular music publications.

This fall, the library began to make the "Inventions of Note" collection available on the World Wide Web. Sabrina Dong, a sophomore in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, received a UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program) grant in order to create a website for the sheet music collection. In addition to scanning in images of the sheet music, Sabrina loaded recordings of a few pieces into the site as well. Eventually, we plan to include images and recordings for all of the public domain music in the collection. Faculty members Charles Shadle (piano) and Margaret O'Keefe (soprano) recorded a few of these pieces for the project. This website is now available through the Lewis Music Library's homepage.

It is surprising how many pieces of sheet music were written about new inventions. We plan to collect as many of these compositions as possible, and would be pleased to hear your suggestions for titles we should add to the collection. This sheet music can cover any and all inventions!


The Lewis Music Library hosted two exciting IAP events this January. Paul Earls (Center for Advanced Visual Studies) and Forrest Larson (Lewis Music Library) taught an IAP course "Electronic Music Before the Age of Computers." This four-session course was a survey of the early years of electronic music composed with pre-digital technology from around 1948-1980. The material studied ranged from Musique Concrete of Pierre Schaeffer which used recorded sounds of trains and other "noises" manipulated on 78 rpm turntables to "Switched-on Bach" by Wendy Carlos produced on the Moog Synthesizer. Selections of music by both of the instructors, who have considerable experience with this "old" technology, were also examined. The Lewis Music Library has an extensive electronic music collection which made teaching this course possible.

The library also hosted a concert of music from the library's new "Inventions of Note" sheet music collection. Members of the Music and Theater Arts faculty who sang this music included William Cutter, Margaret O'Keefe, Michael Ouellette, and Pamela Wood; Charles Shadle was the pianist. A few of the songs included: "He'd Have to Get Under - Get Out and Get Under (To Fix Up His Automobile)," "Come, Josephine in My Flying Machine (Up She Goes!)," "Keep Away From the Fellow Who Owns an Automobile," "Take Your Girlie to the Movies (If You Can't Make Love at Home)," "Kissing Papa Through the Telephone," and "The Trolley Car Swing." This music transported listeners to another era in American history. Thanks to the wonderful performers who brought these rarely-heard pieces alive to a delighted audience, and special thanks to Charles Shadle for his help in organizing this event.


Q. How do you get a guitar player to play softer?
A. Give him some sheet music.
Q. How do you make him stop?
A. Put some notes on it!
Q. Why do bagpipe players walk while they play?
A. To get away from the noise.



This past fall, the Lewis Library received two important donations of Japanese and Korean music. Both gifts were made possible by MIT students. Julie Lively obtained a grant to study Japanese Taiko music through MIT's Council for the Arts. Taiko music is the exciting art form of Japanese drumming. As part of her grant, Julie obtained 12 compact discs, 1 book, and 3 videos of authentic Taiko music for the library's collection. The library's holdings of Korean music were given an enormous boost due to Minjoon Kouh, Tae H. Park (G), and Kyoung Mun Shin ('00) who received a grant from MIT's Provost's Fund. These students were interested in increasing the library's Korean music holdings. Through their grant they were able to obtain 69 compact discs, 2 cassettes, 7 videos, 1 score, and 1 book for the library in the name of MIT Hansori, a Korean culture group to which they belong. The library's collection has been greatly enriched by these donations, and this music will certainly be helpful to faculty teaching world music courses.

With these gifts and the large donation of Chinese music obtained by Elaine Chew (mentioned in our Fall '97 newsletter) our holdings in Asian music are much improved. Thanks to these thoughtful and generous students who have ensured that their fellow students will be able to study and enjoy this music for many years to come. We encourage other students and student organizations to follow their lead. Anyone interested in strengthening a particular part of the collection is encouraged to contact the library.


The Music and Theater Arts Section gave the library 46 compact discs of various chamber music compositions. Thanks to Clarise Snyder for offering these fine recordings. John Harbison donated 25 compact discs of recent 20th-century music to the library. Many of these pieces are less familiar compositions that will broaden the repertoire of our recordings collection. We also appreciate a gift of 14 compact discs from the MIT Office of the Arts. These CDs contain music supported by grants from the MIT Council for the Arts.


A tour of the Lewis Music Library is available to anyone who requests one. Faculty members are invited to bring in their classes for tours and library instruction (contact Peter Munstedt to arrange a time for your class). Sessions can last from 5 minutes to over an hour, depending on your needs. Although use of our terrific new library has increased dramatically, we want to be sure that everyone takes advantage of our many resources!


José Luis Elizondo Julie Lively MIT Office of the Arts
Stephen Erdely Mark J. Lupo Tae H. Park
John Harbison Martin Marks Kyoung Mun Shin
Minjoon Kouh MIT Hansori Peter Urquhart
Lowell Lindgren MIT Music and Theater Arts

Thank you!

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