Tag Archives: Publication types

Podcasts

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Consistent with its mission to cover all types of publications about music, RILM is now abstracting and indexing podcasts.

Podcasts are serial digital media files that can be downloaded for use on local computers or portable media players. They are typically in audio or video formats, but they may involve other file formats as well.

RILM inaugurated its podcast coverage with Ethnomusicology today, which is published by the Society for Ethnomusicology; this open-access series features interviews with the authors of articles recently published in the society’s journal, Ethnomusicology.

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Filed under Publication types, RILM, RILM news

Announcing RILM’s Zine Initiative!

Joey Ramone Punk Magazine

Working with a top collector and specialist in the field, RILM has created a new document type abbreviated JZ, standing for Journal Zine—zine being the recognized short version of fanzine, which refers to the self-published fan magazines that proliferated in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s (when the Internet made them largely obsolete).

Much like the thriving music-journal culture that developed in 19th-century Europe, these low-circulation publications were produced and consumed by key players in the music cultures they took as their subject; today they serve as primary sources that provide valuable insights into the subcultures that shaped the sound of the late 20th century (in the case of punk rock, it was the New York-based zine Punk that provided the name for the nascent musical movement).

We are in the first stage of entering JZ records that give bibliographic information and detailed summaries of key zines in popular music history. A growing number of universities have begun acquiring collections of these important documents.

Above, Joey Ramone, drawn by John Holstrom for Punk #3 (April 1976; click to enlarge). Below, the Ramones at Max’s Kansas City the same year.

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Filed under Popular music, Publication types, RILM, RILM news

Joan Sutherland, 1926–2010

Today it was our sad duty to add Joan Sutherland’s obituary to our database. Dubbed “La Stupenda” by the Italian press in 1960, Dame Joan was one of the greatest bel canto sopranos of all time. Above, we celebrate her artistry with a video clip from her farewell performance of her signature role, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.

A note on obituaries in RILM: While we normally do not cover news items, we index obituaries because they often serve as important research sources—particularly those for less-known figures. Since we cannot possibly cover obituaries in all news sources, we focus on those published by the New York times. As always, anyone can add further items to the database through our Submissions webpage.

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Filed under Opera, Publication types

The Okeh laughing record

According to “Humorous reflections on laughing records” by Abigail Cooke (ARSC journal 32/2 [winter 2001], pp. 232–242, three types of sound recordings involving laughter were produced between 1904 and 1923: (1) laughing songs, in which stylized laughter is integrated into the song; (2) spoken comedy routines with laughing audiences; and (3) laughing records, in which apparently genuine laughter spirals out of control.

The classic model for the latter genre, The Okeh laughing record (Okeh, 1922)—which may have originated in a real situation where the recording engineer continued to record a botched session—begins with a man playing a slow, melancholy cornet solo that is quickly interrupted by a woman’s giggle. He continues to play, but she is unable to control herself, and soon is laughing aloud; this causes him to flub a note and join her in laughing, occasionally attempting to continue playing, until the two are utterly hysterical.

Click below to hear The Okeh laughing record.

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Filed under Humor, Mass media, Publication types

Patent applications

Patent applications for new instruments—or for improvements to already existing ones—usually involve one or more technical drawings. These can be of historical interest for several reasons; for example, the article Piano wars: The legal machinations of London pianoforte makers, 1795–1806 by George S. Bozarth and Margaret Debenham (RMA research chronicle XLII, 45–108) makes use of original drawings and descriptions for patents by William Southwell (1794) and his son, William junior (1837), to reconstruct the issues and outcomes of legal actions involving many of England’s top piano manufacturers in the early nineteenth century.

Reproduced above is a page from Brian Hayden’s 1984 patent application for a new way of arranging the buttons on a concertina.

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Filed under Iconography, Instruments, Publication types

Festschriften

Generally, Festschriften fall into three categories: memorial volumes, issued shortly after the death of the honoree, and often comprising personal tributes and reminiscences; commemorative volumes, published to honor some milestone in the deceased dedicatee’s life; and Festschriften proper, presented to a living recipient on the occaision of a birthday, anniversary, or transitional event. For more about this publication type, see the Preface to RILM’s Liber amicorum, the first volume in our retrospective Festschriften project.

Above is a reproduction of the frontispiece for Beethoven-Album: Ein Gedenkbuch dankbarer Liebe und Verehrung für den grossen Todten, a commemorative volume published in 1846; the book includes poems and compositions dedicated to the composer, including works by Liszt, Meyerbeer, and Czerny.

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Filed under Publication types, Romantic era

Instrument makers’ catalogues

Instrument makers’ catalogues can be important sources of iconography: they indicate what instruments people were making and buying at a given place and time, and sometimes they depict rare curiosities like the brass instruments in this 1867 catalogue from the Gautrot firm, reprinted in 1999 by Larigot. The mechanical organ pictured above comes from a catalogue issued by Limonaire Frères around the turn of the twentieth century, reprinted in 2009 by Das mechanische Musikinstrument.

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Filed under Iconography, Instruments, Publication types

Program notes

Like souvenir books, program notes may be considered ephemera, but often they are the best sources for information about important productions, festivals, and other events. Some, like Playbill, are issued as numbered periodicals that libraries and individuals subscribe to. Others include original essays by distinguished scholars—for example, the program book for the Smithsonian Institution’s 1997 Festival of American Folklife (above) included articles by the ethnomusicologists Angela Impey, Joyce Marie Jackson, and Jeff Todd Titon.

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Filed under North America, Publication types, World music

Operas as graphic novels

Graphic novel_0002

With their dramatic action and vivid characters, operas have inspired a number of graphic novels, including books by P. Craig Russell and a series (now out of print) produced in collaboration with England’s Royal Opera House. The most noteworthy examples of this genre are not just illustrations of libretti; they are autonomous works of art in the graphic novel tradition.

Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen is particularly suited to the treatment it receives in The ring of the Niebelung by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane; set in a mythological time, with illustrious characters who can alter their physical forms, defy gravity, and survive without oxygen, it fits naturally into the medium’s world of fantasy and superheroes.

In some cases this drammata in pittura brings a powerful new dimension to Wagner’s drammata in musica—for example, the action that the audience must imagine during the Vorspiel of Die Walküre is fully depicted over the course of four textless pages. The cycle was first published in four installments by DC Comics.

Above, the opening of Act II of Die Walküre (click to enlarge); below, part of the 2011 production by the Metropolitan Opera.

Related article: The Ring recast

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Filed under Dramatic arts, Opera, Publication types, Romantic era, Visual art

Auction catalogues

Auction catalogues are sources for iconography and history; for example, Christie’s has mounted over 200 auctions of rock and pop memorabilia, issuing catalogues that illuminate the stories of performers and groups as well as events like the Woodstock festival. Other catalogues offer biographical details; a 2003 catalogue from Sotheby’s documents Elton John’s changing taste, while others, like the 1999 catalogue page reproduced above, represent the posthumous dispersal of personal effects—in this case, Yehudi Menuhin’s collection of instruments and bows.

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Filed under Instruments, Popular music, Publication types