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Leonard Burkat

revised by Pamela Fox

Early settlers were concerned with musical education, and devotional singing is said to have had a place in the original curriculum at Harvard College, founded in 1636. The first published musical teaching material is the ‘admonition to the reader’, in the Bay Psalm Book of 1640, and the instructive introductions to 18th-century tune books extended this practice. By 1720 the traditional ‘old way of singing’ came under attack from those who favoured musically literate ‘regular singing’, and singing schools were established. A century of Yankee tunesmiths wrote and published the psalm settings and hymns that were their teaching pieces, but early 19th-century hymnodic reformers sought to replace earlier American psalmody with ‘scientific’ European models.

Lowell Mason studied the methods of Swiss educational theorist Pestalozzi and applied them to the children’s music classes that he taught in churches and private schools. In the Boston Academy of Music he held teacher-training classes in addition to its concerts. In ...

Article

J. Bradford Young

Music libraries classify and arrange their collections by content according to one of several systems. The M schedule of the Library of Congress (LC) Classification, developed by oscar g.t. Sonneck in 1902, is the most widely used. It was taken up by many other libraries to reduce cataloging costs, when the Library of Congress increased the distribution of its printed catalog cards. The Dewey decimal classification (DDC), still in use especially in public libraries, did not distinguish music from music literature until 1958 (16th edition), by which time many libraries had abandoned it. The 1989 edition (20th edition) of the DDC included a wholly new schedule for music, which is highly faceted with a capacity for synthesis. Complex topics, such as German Baroque choral cantatas for Christmas, can be expressed. This feature has, to date, attracted little interest in the United States. A previous multi-faceted scheme, devised in 1938 by George Sherman Dickinson for the scores of Vassar College, although adapted at Columbia University and SUNY Buffalo, is not widely used. Some research libraries established before ...

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Article

David Hall, Gary-Gabriel Gisondi, and Jim Farrington

Although there are no standards for discographies, the key elements given for each recording in nearly all discographical listings are the name of the record label, issue number, and program contents; the physical characteristics of the recording itself, such as type, size, the number of channels, playback speed, and type of groove, are also considered important features of true discographies. The complex catalogs that have come to be known as “systematic discographies” include such further details as master numbers (or matrix numbers for the earlier galvano-processed discs); take indicators (or transfer numbers for discs processed from tape sources); the date and location of, and the key participants in the recording session; the date and place of publication, and publisher of the various issues and reissues (with label names and numbers). Before the development of long-playing (LP) recordings, a unique matrix number was etched, embossed, or stamped onto the surfaces of most discs, near or under the label. However, early cylinders often bear no markings, making identification difficult if the recording has been separated from its container. Since it was a common practice for several versions of a performance to be made (in case of mishap, or with many cylinder recordings because producing multiple copies from the same master was difficult), each of the versions (or “takes”) was customarily assigned an additional number or letter, which was placed immediately after the matrix number. The convention of matrix and take numbers was abandoned with tape mastering, in which a fully edited master tape could be developed from all the material recorded during the sessions; successive modifications of a given master tape may be identified on the finished disc by the transfer numbers. (...

Article

Edward Berger and Jim Farrington

Accurate information about recorded performances is essential in jazz, where recordings rather than scores or sheet music are the principal sources for study. Take numbers are particularly important to the study of jazz, since two versions of the same piece, recorded only minutes apart, may differ significantly. With the advent of the LP tape mastering in the late 1940s (and subsequent elimination of unique disc masters), the discographically convenient use of matrix and take designations was lost; an LP may contain many unrelated performances of diverse origins (even within the same track), the identification of which poses particular problems for the discographer. These difficulties are often compounded by insufficient or misleading information supplied by record manufacturers.

The first extensive discographical works were devoted to jazz. The term “discography” itself was introduced in the 1930s as growing numbers of jazz enthusiasts sought to establish accurate information about personnel and recording dates. Early researchers also had to contend with the pseudonymous issuing of numerous recordings by well-known jazz bands. The field of jazz discography has been dominated from the start by Europeans. Two pioneering discographical works were published in ...

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