Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Focus on Music

Hello everyone.  It is Carl at the keyboard again.  Welcome to another edition of life from the deep recesses of the library on a bitter cold and snowy day.

As most of you already know, the librarians at Ripon College have master’s degrees in Library Science, but some of us also have subject specific master’s degrees as well.  My second  master’s degree happens to be in Church Music.  So today, I’d like to talk a little bit about the music section and some of the interesting resources that Lane Library has available.  I can only touch on a few items, but would be happy to chat further about available resources for your personal research.  So, here we go.

Most people know that at Ripon College we have two libraries that contain musical resources.  Lane Library contains the historical, biographical and instructional texts that you might need for your research.  Rodman Center For The Arts contains the score and sound recording library for listening and practice.

When a person thinks of music research, one of the first background research tools that comes to mind is The New Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians.  Ripon College owns two editions.  The 2001 edition is housed at Rodman and the 1980 edition is housed at Lane Library.  Call #:  ML100 .G885 1980.  Each article contains a quality summary of a given topic, plus a bibliography of further sources to consult.

While I find "Groves" fascinating as a musician and scholar, there are many other interesting titles in Lane Library’s music text collection and I will highlight a few of the more interesting ones. 

We own a copy of The Southern Harmony.  This item is a hymnal for worship, but not quite the hymnal you might find when you stroll into one of our local Ripon churches.  When using modern hymnals, it is common to have accompaniments via organ, piano, and/or other instruments.  In contrast, hymns in The Southern Harmony, and other hymnals like it, were sung with no accompaniment.   They also use a form of musical notation known as Shape Notes which was intended to make congregational singing easier.  See the following Wikipedia articles for further information:  &  The call # for this book is:  M2117 .S74 1993.

Lane Library also owns a copy of The Liber Usualis.  For those of you who are unfamiliar as to what this book is, it is the Roman Catholic liturgy book used before Vatican II, complete with Gregorian Chants.   &   The liturgical chants found in The Liber use an older form of natation (Neumes), notated on a four-line staff.   Instruction on how to read and sing these chants are in the book, but if you want to give them a try, be prepared to chant in Latin.  The Call # for this book is:  M2148.1.T8 L42 1952

I recall from childhood hearing the phrase “Music soothes the savage beast.”  Well, I may not have much experience with trying to soothe savage beasts, but I do know that music can evoke an emotional response in people.  Oxford University Press published a book in 2011 that addresses the concept of music and emotion.  It is titled, surprisingly enough, Handbook of Music and Emotion : Theory, research, applications.  Check it out at:  The call # for this book is:  ML3830 .H195 2011

So that’s three of the many, varied and interesting books held in the music section of Lane Library.  We have books about many composers and from all eras.  As an aside, while scanning the shelves, I found this title especially interesting:  The Beatles as musicians : Revolver through the Anthology .  If you decide to check it out, please let me know if it is a good read.   

In the meantime, Happy Reading, and stay warm.

Carl Ziebell
Lane Library

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