of Note Sheet Music Collection
The Inventions of Note Sheet Music Collection was established
in 1997 by the Lewis Music Library at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology. This sheet music collection consists of popular songs
and piano compositions that portray technologies (old and new alike)
as revealed through song texts and/or cover art. Today we take for
granted such inventions as the automobile, airplane, radio, and telephone;
they have become part of our daily lives. However, the initial appearance
of these and other inventions created a myriad of responses in American
society ranging from excitement and delight to anxiety and scorn.
This collection reflects those varied reactions through the medium
of popular music publications. The present web site has been made
possible by a grant from the MIT Council for the Arts.
The collection contains approximately 50 pieces of sheet music owned
by the Lewis Music Library. Other titles may be acquired in the future.
In addition, this web site includes links to scanned images from other
libraries. Several sheet music collections are available on the web.
A few collections, such as Music
for the Nation at The Library of Congress and the Levy
Sheet Music Collection at John Hopkins University, contain a number
of pieces dealing with new inventions. Probably the largest collection
on the topic of transportation is the Sam DeVincent Collection at
the Smithsonian Institution.
There are no chronological limits to this collection, although most
of the holdings date from approximately 1890-1920. Only music published
in the United States is included. For purposes of this collection,
sheet music is defined as an individual piece of music consisting
of less than ten pages. Songs and solo piano pieces are the musical
genres collected. There are no limitations on the kinds of inventions
used as subjects in this sheet music collection.
Anyone interested in participating in this project is encouraged to
contact Peter Munstedt, Librarian
of the Lewis Music Library.