Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Learning resources beyond the library: Lynda.com

Library staff members just got outfitted with some new technology. As we figure out ways to make good use of it to serve the Berklee community, it's a good time to give a shout-out to Lynda.com. Hosted locally by Training and Support, the website offers an amazing variety of software and technology tutorials. The subjects go beyond the functionality of many software packages to more general tips on photography to hardware tutorials.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Today in Rock

For the historically-minded, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame web site includes a Today in Rock listing. Among the highlights for May 27: In 1969, Neil Young released Everybody Knows This is Nowhere (CD 10398), his first album with Crazy Horse. In 1972, the Chi-Lites hit #2 with "Oh Girl" and Cat Stevens hit #6 with "Morning Has Broken" on the singles charts. You can find the Chi-Lites song on their Greatest Hits album (CD 6518). We don't have a recording, but we do have many scores with the Cat Stevens hit,  including The Great Songs of Cat Stevens (MP1630.S736 G7).

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Mothership is Landing at the Smithsonian

It's not just a stage prop. It's an important cultural artifact. The Smithsonian has acquired the Parliament-Funkadelic Mothership for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Admittedly, it is the 1990's replicate of the mysteriously missing original, but the Washington Post reports on the acquisition and its cultural significance and links to its April 2010 story about the missing original.

Smithsonian acquires Parliament-Funkadelic Mothership

The library has the Parliament album Chocolate City (CD 2309) referenced in the article plus lots of other material by Parliament, Funkadelic and group mastermind George Clinton.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan turns 70 today. It is impossible to underestimate his influence on popular music, so I'll focus on a minute aspect: he even relates to our new ukulele display. Tiny Tim includes a Dylan medley on Rare Moments. Volume 1: I've Never Seen a Straight Banana (CD 32810). We also own Bob Dylan Song Book (MP1630.D93 B68 ), which includes ukulele tabs. It is a limited access score, so you'll need to ask for it at the circulation desk.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

If Any Library Owns It, It Should Be Our Library

Admittedly I'm a library geek (or I wouldn't have this job) and I'm relatively new at this library, but I am thrilled by and proud of some of the weird things in our collection. Some recent discoveries:

Rhythm is the Cure: Southern Italian Tambourine: Dedicated to the Healing Powers of the Tarantella Rhythm by Alessandra Belloni (MT725.T3 B45 R49 2007). I am amazed by the specificity and obscurity of the subject matter. But if any library is going to own this, it should be Berklee's library. We aren't the only library that owns it, but we may be the only one within a 500-mile radius.

I took delight in stumbling upon Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E. Smith (ML420 .S627 A3 2008). I didn't know that he had penned an autobiography, let alone that the cantankerous and obtuse Smith was capable of writing one. Smith's long-running band the Fall is decidedly an acquired taste, but they have rightfully earned their cult following.

My final recent fun find was Punk Rock Aerobics: 75 Killer Moves, 50 Punk Classics, and 25 Reasons to Get Off Your Ass and Exercise by Boston locals Maura Jasper and Hilken Mancini (RA781.15 .J37 2004). It contains moves inspired by the likes of Iggy Pop and the Undertones demonstrated by people in torn fishnets and ripped t-shirts, and it is interspersed with plenty of punk rock history and trivia.

What weird things have you found in our collection? What weird things do you think we should have but don't?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Preserving Your Hearing

"Turn that down! You'll ruin your ears," can be countered with "Keep on playing. You'll retain your hearing." NPR reports on a study about the hearing benefits of being a lifelong instrumentalist.

In the short run, we do have a bowl of earplugs available for the taking in the Reading Room. While they are mainly intended to block the noise coming from outside the building so you can concentrate while studying, they will also protect your ears in louder environments.

Playing An Instrument May Help Preserve Hearing:

Middle-aged musicians scored better on hearing tests than people who didn't play instruments. How we use our senses and brains can shape the people we become, a researcher says.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spotlight on In-Library Resources: CD Sheet Music

The library has opened its doors to the public again after being closed over break, so it's a good time to point out a library resource that you can only use here. While we do provide remote online access for many of our electronic resources, not every service is available that way. One example is CD Sheet Music. It is only available on the iMac in the library Reading Room, but it contains printable sheet music of vocal, piano and woodwind collections by Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, Chopin, Grieg, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Scarlatti, Schubert and Schumann. Included are aria albums, German lieder, methods for both flute and piano and Bach's inventions.

This is a great supplement to our printed score collection. Keep it in mind for both classical scores that we don't own and as an additional source when copies of scores are checked out.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Check Out the Library of Congress While We Are Closed

Stan Getz Library has plenty of resources you can access even when the library's doors are closed, but we are not the only library with a remotely-accessible collection. The Library of Congress has just announced the launch of the National Jukebox, with streaming audio of historical sound recordings made between 1901 and 1925.

If old stuff sounds boring, don't worry. The player includes the disclaimer, "WARNING: Historical recordings may contain offensive language." We do not have a monopoly on offensive language in modern times.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Remembering Bob Marley

Bob Marley succumbed to cancer 30 years ago today. When the library reopens on Monday, come in to check out materials by and about Marley. To tie you over until then, you can listen to BBC Radio 2's documentary Bob Marley in Exile .

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Robert Johnson Centennial

The library is closed this week, but we would be remiss if we didn't mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of bluesman Robert Johnson. Lots of musicians are referred to as "legendary," but Johnson really does come with a legend, that he sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads in exchange for his musical talent.

NPR reports on the man and the myth. Enjoy it now, then return to the library when we reopen Monday, May 16 to explore his music at the library.

Robert Johnson At 100, Still Dispelling Myths

Friday, May 6, 2011

Graduation Music

Berklee Commencement is Saturday, May 7. We wouldn't want to send our graduates off into the world without answering their musical questions. So if you were wondering how "Pomp and Circumstance" by Edward Elgar became associated with graduation ceremonies, Richard Smith of the Elgar Society provides the answer.

Elgar - His Music : Pomp and Circumstance - Why Americans graduate to Elgar

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Breaking Up with Your Favorite Bands

This week's All Songs Considered podcast tackled the topic of breaking up with your favorite band. The show solicited listener input, and the hosts offered their own stories. In some cases, bands took artist turns that their fans just couldn't abide. Other instances were examples of, "It's not you. It's me," where the artists did nothing inherently wrong but the listener's tastes changed.

Listen to the podcast or just the songs they referenced, Splitsville: Breaking Up With Your Favorite Bands, or read the blog with listener stories, After The Love Has Gone: Fans Spill On Ditching Their Favorite Artists.

Then tell us your own stories of breaking up with favorite bands.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May the 4th Be With You

It's Star Wars Day, which around here is mainly a reason a highlight John Williams' music for the series of movies. Of course we have scores and CDs of the Star Wars music. But did you know we also have streaming audio?

Looking beyond just the music, we also have a book in our reserve collection, The Sounds of Star Wars by Jonathan Rinzler (PN1995.9.S695 R56 2010). But do not underestimate the power of the dark side: reserve materials only get checked out for 2 hours, and you'll incur a $5 fine if you return them late.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, James Brown

James Brown was born on this day in 1933. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame reminds us of his many honorific titles: Soul Brother Number One, the Godfather of Soul, the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, Mr. Dynamite and even the Original Disco Man. As always, you can explore his work here at the library with both material by him and about him. If you need a suggestion on where to start, watch in awe of his 1964 performance in The T.A.M.I. Show (DVD 4041).