Academic journal article ARSC Journal

Current Bibliography

Academic journal article ARSC Journal

Current Bibliography

Article excerpt

"Current Bibliography" is an annotated index to research on recording history that has appeared recently in specialized journals. To be indexed here an article must be in English, be reasonably substantive, and deal with recording history--as opposed to musicology, sociology, or contemporary subjects such as collecting or record reviews. "W/D" or "discog." means that the article was accompanied by something at least remotely resembling a discography.

Issues covered this time were received between September 2009 and February 2010. If you contact one of these publications or authors, please mention ARSC and "Current Bibliography." Corrections or suggested entries may be sent to the compiler at

News of Publications

Another one bites the dust. According to the Country Music Foundation website (www., the Journal of Country Music "no longer exists as a print publication." Instead articles are now posted on the site, with media elements. The last printed issue appears to have been Vol. 25 No. 2 in 2007.

Among the outstanding articles noted this time are two appearing in the 2009 issue of The Jazz Archivist (from Tulane's Hogan Jazz Archive) which closely examine the famous photograph of the Buddy Bolden band taken in New Orleans around 1900. Although the "father of jazz" did not record--or did he?--the sole surviving photograph of his fabled band has for years fascinated scholars hoping to learn more about the origins of jazz. The remarkably thorough and engaging articles read like a detective story, shedding new light on what the mysterious photo really tells us.

An article by Bjorn Englund in the October 2009 Names & Numbers includes a detailed analysis of the much-used Online Discographical Project (www.78discography. com). The ambitious online database, which was launched about ten years ago, now covers about 170 labels and is perhaps the most complete listing of pre-World War II popular recordings. Englund looks at each label individually and finds plenty of gaps. An article in Classic Record Collector describes a project at King's College in the U.K. to make available on the internet a large selection of classical 78-rpm transfers (Winter 2009, p.48-52). Prof. Daniel Leech-Wilkinson and Nick Morgan are spearheading the project, which combines the resources of two other U.K.-based projects, CHARM and "Musicians of Britain and Ireland, 1900-1950."

Concrete Beethoven

Judy Wearing is the author of the new book Edison's Concrete Piano, about inventions that flopped (think Einstein's "Howling Refrigerator"). Curious about how Edison's concrete instrument would actually sound, she encased a Weber upright in concrete and then had a talented youngster play Beethoven's Fur Elise on it. To her surprise "the concrete prevented sound from being transmitted through the frame. This cut down on the stray noise, and the result was a cleaner sound. Notes were more distinct ..." The experiment can be viewed at Speaking of dear old Elise, a German musicologist thinks he has identified the source of Beethoven's inspiration for the famous piece. The mystery woman, he says, was Elisabeth Rockel (1793-1883), the wife of Austrian composer Johann Nepomuk Hummel. (Classic Record Collector, January/ February 2010).

A Cautionary Tale

A few months ago I sent an extremely rare 1916 Starr record to Archeophone for use in a Fisk Jubilee Singers reissue they are planning. It arrived safely, but when they carefully shipped it back via the Postal Service (from Illinois to the east coast), it never made it. It was insured and thus "tracked" in the Post Office system, but as we learned none of that matters--the system doesn't say where it was delivered, only that it was (allegedly) left "somewhere" in a designated zip code at a given time. The carrier didn't ring the doorbell or otherwise indicate delivery, and "didn't remember" where he left it. …

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