Friday, December 13, 2013

End-of-Semester Blocks

All materials checked out by students or alumni are due Wednesday, December 18. Any student or alumnus with overdue materials or excessive fines may be subject to a bursar block, which will prevent them from receiving their diploma or checking in for upcoming semesters as well as restrictions on library privileges.

Please see a library professional staff member if you have any questions.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

RIP Jim Hall

Revered jazz guitarist Jim Hall died December 10 at the age of 83.

As the National Endowment for the Arts noted in naming him a Jazz Master in 2004:
Jazz guitarist Jim Hall's technique has been called subtle, his sound mellow, and his compositions understated; yet his recording and playing history was anything but modest. He recorded with artists ranging from Bill Evans to Itzhak Perlman and performed alongside most of the jazz greats of the 20th century. The first of the modern jazz guitarists to receive an NEA Jazz Masters award, his prowess on the instrument put him in the company of Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, and Django Reinhardt.
NPR Jazz's A Blog Supreme has a full obituary:

Remembering Jim Hall, A Different Sort Of Guitar God

A few highlights from his works in our collection:

  •  Jim Hall Live! (CD 22994) Grove Music Online calls it "an example of his most fertile work."
  • The Bridge, Sonny Rollins (CD 2685) From the NEA: "The interplay between Rollins' fiery solos and Hall's classic guitar runs make this one of jazz's most essential recordings."
  • Jim Hall Jazz Guitar Master Class: Principles of Improvisation (LVD 475)
  • Exploring Jazz Guitar (MT580 .H27 1990)
  • Jazz Guitar Environments: Jim Plays 5 of His Unique Compositions, Fully Transcribed (MP126 .H355 J5 1994)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Inspiration for the Coen Brothers' Folk-Themed Film

Joel and Ethan Coen's new movie about the Greenwich Village folk scene of the early 1960s, Inside Llewyn Davis, is loosely based on the life of Dave Van Ronk. The New York Times has an article about the connections:

For a Village Troubadour, a Late Encore: The Singer Who Inspired Coen Brothers’ New Film

The library has the source material, Van Ronk's memoir written with Elijah Wald, The Mayor of MacDougal Street (ML420.V37 M3 2005).

We also have CDs by Van Ronk, including Inside Dave Van Ronk (CD 11978), that inspired the Coen brothers' movie title, and two method books on fingerstyle guitar.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Remebering Nelson Mandela

As the world morns the death of Nelson Mandela, our library might not be the obvious place to turn to take in the full impact of his legacy. But a look at works in our collection related to Mandela highlight how influential he was as well as the breadth of our collection.

Start with The Winds of Change: A Journey Through the Key Music and Moments That Gave Birth to a Free, Democratic South Africa (CD 31547-31548). It includes both music and spoken words, such as Hugh Masekela's protest song "Bring Him Back Home" and Mandela's inauguration speech. Masekela's song and other apartheid protest songs appear on Amandla!: A Revolution in Four-Part Harmony (CD 21529), the soundtrack to the documentary Amandla! (DVD 966) about the role of music in the fight for freedom in South Africa.

Hear from the man himself in Long Walk to Freedom with Connections: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela (DT1974 .A3 2000).

46664 was Mandela's prison number, and after his release he gave it to a global HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness campaign as a reminder of the sacrifices he made for a cause he believed in. We have recordings of several concerts to benefit the campaign:
Some other highlights:
  • Key Events in African History: A Reference Guide by Toyin Falola (eBook) includes the chapter "The Fall of Apartheid and the Advent of Nelson Mandela’s Government, 1994–99."
  • 33 Revolutions per Minute: A History of Protest Songs, from Billie Holiday to Green Day by Dorian Lynskey (ML3780 .L96 2011) includes a section on "Nelson Mandela" by the Special AKA.
  • Although The African Typic Collection (CD 24051) is a collection of music from Cameroon and Cape Verde, Koko Ateba's track is entitled "Nelson Mandela (Will Never Give Up)."

What Can I Get RIGHT NOW? How to Use Limits for Instant Gratification

It's late in the semester, so you don't want to waste your time looking for things that aren't available immediately. Earlier in the semester, you might place a hold on a checked-out book or request a journal article via interlibrary loan because it's not in our physical or electronic collection. But deadlines are fast approaching, so let the library help you with instant gratification.

When searching our catalog, use the Advanced Search, and check the "Limit to Available" box. This will eliminate any resource where all the copies are checked out, damaged or otherwise unavailable. This is particularly useful when you're looking for a song that appears in lots of different scores.

Some of our databases, such as Oxford/Grove Music Online and our eBooks, are completely full-text, but many of our databases have a combination of full-text articles and citations only, which tell you where you can find an article without providing the full text. If you are too pressed for time to look in our print collection of magazines and journals or even to check a different database for electronic access, you can often limit your search results to those with full-text availability. Each database handles it slightly differently, although there are similarities in the same family of databases. Here's an example from Academic Search Premier from EBSCOHost, and it looks the same in EBSCOHost's Music Index and Business Source Premier.

If you're not finding what you need with using these limits, you might need to take more time. But let our resources do the work for you when they can.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Archives Update: Dean Earl Finding Aid

Dean Earl

Thanks to the work of Anne Mansella, archives intern from Simmons College's Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS), a new archives finding aid has been completed and posted online for the Dean Earl papers (BCA-010). This collection is comprised of pedagogical arrangements created and/or compiled by distinguished pianist, faculty member, and alumnus Dean Earl as teaching aids for Berklee Piano Department courses in harmony and piano performance. The arrangements consist mainly of popular music and jazz standards, as well as musical exercises. These papers have also been scanned and are available online as part of the college archives' virtual display page. The physical collection is approximately 4.5 cubic feet and may be accessed by appointment on-site at the Stan Getz Library. Email or call 617-747-8001 to schedule an appointment or to learn more about Berklee's archival collections.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Creating Virtual Exhibits - The Franklin McGinley collection on Duke Ellington

Greetings, friends! I'm Anne Mansella, intern from Simmons College's Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS), and I'm here to tell you about one of the exciting projects I've been working on in the Berklee College of Music Archives. You may remember that the Franklin McGinley collection on Duke Ellington was recently processed and made available back in June (if not, take a look here: "Archives Update: Two New Finding Aids"). The collection includes memorabilia created and collected by Franklin McGinley for and by Duke Ellington, including a scrapbook, additional clippings, and various commemorative materials. The scrapbook covers the rise of swing music and Duke Ellington and includes autographs by Ellington and other musicians of the period. The remaining loose materials document Ellington's posthumous legacy, with the majority of the clippings consisting of obituaries or coverage of his passing in 1974. We are now pleased to announce that a virtual exhibit has been created for this collection.

A painting from the scrapbook. Such vibrant colors!
Creating a virtual exhibit means digitizing items and presenting them in such a way that is not only user friendly and aesthetically pleasing but also remains true to the collection itself. There is no doubt that digitization is a great way to not only preserve collections but to also promote and make them accessible to a wide audience. That being said, not all collections are in good enough shape to be digitized. Such a process takes up a good amount of time, money, and resources. Rights need to be obtained. Technical support and security must be arranged, and various challenges are bound to arise. What works for one collection may not necessarily work or be the best option for another. One thing is for sure: when it comes to the digitization of collections and the creation of virtual exhibits there are lots of things to be figured out.

McGinley included drawings as well as newspaper caricatures in his scrapbook.

How did we create a virtual exhibit for the Franklin McGinley collection on Duke Ellington? First, we created a vision and workflow plan detailing how we would create files that work best for a digital exhibit. The scrapbook and loose files were scanned, and hundreds of digital items were then cleaned up using Photoshop. Various file versions were created for each item, each with a specific purpose including:
  • TIFF (archival copy)
  • PSD (modifiable copy)
  • JPG (web copy)
    • Low Resolution (original presentation)
    • Low Resolution Thumbnails (loose materials)
    • Hi Resolution (zoomable)
Once we modified the JavaScript used to create the exhibit, the web files were uploaded onto our website. After hours of work this collection is now available for viewing from the comfort of your own home. My favorite parts are the sketches and artwork that are scattered throughout the scrapbook, presumably done by McGinley himself. Other highlights include a rare autograph from bassist Jimmy Blanton, as well as other signatures from notable musicians of the time (Roy Eldridge, Coleman Hawkins, Louis Armstrong, Harry Carney, and Duke Ellington).

We hope that you enjoy viewing this virtual exhibit. Check it out here.

A sketch of Duke Ellington found within the scrapbook

Autographs found within the scrapbook, including a rare Jimmy Blanton signature! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

JFK Assassination Playlist

"I shouted out, 'Who killed the Kennedys?' When after all, it was you and me," sings Mick Jagger in the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil."

Lots of people are looking back to the John F. Kennedy assassination on its 50th anniversary, but one measure of its impact is in music. Here's a list of band names and songs that drew their inspiration from that tragic event. Links are to our catalog for materials we have available:

  • "Sympathy for the Devil," the Rolling Stone, Beggars Banquet (CD 4790)
  • "Abraham, Martin and John," Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Anthology (CD 10514- 10515 Disc 2)
  • "Family Snapshot," Peter Gabriel, Peter Gabriel (CD 213)
  • "We Didn't Start the Fire," Billy Joel, Storm Front (CD 9812), includes "JFK blown away"
  • "He Was a Friend of Mine," the Byrds, The Byrds (CD 5707-5710 Disc 1)
  • "Jack Ruby," Camper Van Beethoven 
  • "(Glad I'm) Not a Kennedy," Shona Laing
  • "Life in a Northern Town," the Dream Academy, Like, Omigod! The 80$ Pop Culture Box (Totally) (CD 21291-21297 Disc 6) includes "In winter 1963/it felt like the world would freeze/with John F. Kennedy"
  • "Reverence" by Jesus & Mary Chain, includes "I want to die just like JFK"
  • "I Wanna Be Jack Kennedy," Psyclone Rangers

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Wardrobe Planning for Friday: Wear Your Old Band T-Shirt to Work Day

BBC Radio 6 is declaring Friday, November 22 the 6th annual Wear Your Old Band T-Shirt to Work Day. There's no word on whether this will catch on in the United States and, quite frankly, it could really describe any day Berklee.

If you want to learn more about rock t-shirt culture, page through Rock Tease: The Golden Years of Rock T-shirts by Erica Easley & Ed Chalfa (NK4890.S45 E27 2006). As you might expect, it has lots of pictures of rock t-shirts. But it also goes into the nuances such as the specific aesthetics of bootleg t-shirts, how designs have evolved over the years, and profiles of people whose work has been involved with band t-shirts, most notably Arturo Vega, the Ramones' art director and designer of their iconic logo. Vega observed, "Today, the Ramones have sold more T-shirts than records, without a doubt."

As Mark Arm of Mudhoney noted regarding the clothing's signficance, "...especially in the late '70s, if you saw anybody wearing a punk rock or new wave shirt it was definitely a signifier... Battle lines were being drawn."

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Legendary Hammond Organs

NPR Music has an interview with Larry Goldings about the Hammond B-3 organ, particularly the travails of touring with a 425-pound behemoth.

Soul From A Console: Jazz On The Hammond B-3 Organ

Even if your interest in the legendary organ isn't deep enough to enroll in one of Berklee's classes on Hammond organ techniques, you can still learn more about the instrument at the library with The Hammond Organ: Beauty in the B by Mark Vail (ML597 .V32 2002). The book covers the history of Hammond organs, techniques and playlists that highlight their unique sound.

Friday, November 8, 2013

For Veteran's Day, a Musician Turned Military Hero

The library will have limited hours on Monday, November 11, 12:00 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. in observance of Veteran's Day.

But to pay homage to the holiday, here's an article from the New York Times about Jason Everman. After being kicked out of both Nirvana and Soundgarden, he went on to a distinguished career U.S. Army Special Forces.

The Rock ’n’ Roll Casualty Who Became a War Hero

You can listen to Everman on guitar with Nirvana on Bleach (CD 25662) and on bass with Soundgarden on Telephantasm (CD 32002-32003), but his work in the military is much more impressive.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Improving Your Band's Web Site

Jessica Hopper's "Ask Fan Landers" column on the Dallas Observer blogs addresses a useful topic:

Here's What's Wrong With Your Band's Web Site

These days, having a Facebook or Bandcamp page is important but not enough, and if you're going to build a web site, you should do it right.

Hopper addresses two aspects. The first is web design, and the library has plenty of books on that subject. Designing Web Usability by Jakob Nielsen (TK5105.888 .N56 2000) is a classic work in that field. While some of the specific advice may be a bit dated, the underlying principles are still dead on.

The other angle Hopper deals with is how to use your band web site as part of your larger publicity strategy. The library can also help you on that front with books on public relations generally and music publicity more specifically.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cyrano de Bergerac and Other Free eBooks

Looking for Cyrano de Bergerac or other classic works of literature? Yes, the library has a limited collection of fiction. But if you're writing a paper and need it now, check Project Gutenberg, which bills itself as "the first producer of free ebooks." They have more than 42,000 free ebooks, available because the books are in the public domain, meaning the copyright has expired.

Their collection includes Cyrano de Bergerac in multiple formats. Or, if you are in more a Halloween mood, try Frankenstein or The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Monday, October 28, 2013

RIP Lou Reed

"Her life was saved by rock & roll," is a sentiment felt by many of us at Berklee, which makes the October 27 death of Lou Reed, who penned those lyrics, particularly poignant.

The Velvet Underground, Reed's band with John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Maureen "Moe" Tucker and Nico, created the concept of the permanent underground in popular music, a destination unto itself rather than as a way station to mainstream fame. Reed sang overly of drugs ("Heroin") and sex ("Venus in Furs") when others had merely alluded to it. Brian Eno famously observed that few people bought their 1967 debut The Velvet Underground & Nico (CD 241), but “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.” Their intentional minimalism set the stage for punk, earning Reed the designation as a godfather of the genre. "Sweet Jane" from Loaded (CD 11410) contains the riff that launched a thousand ships. Their influence can be heard in every band that glorifies droning or that harnesses feedback, m b v (CD 35402) by My Bloody Valentine being just one of the most recent examples.

As a solo artist, Reed would have his biggest hit with "Walk on the Wild Side" from his 1972 album Transformer (CD 13384). 1975's Metal Machine Music (CD 23521) was notoriously unlistenable but showed his willingness to experiment. Reed continued to earn acclaim later in his career with albums such as New York (CD 219), which celebrated the grittiness of his home, Songs for Drella (CD 23523), his reunion with John Cale to pay homage to their deceased mentor Andy Warhol, and Magic & Loss (CD 464), a moving rumination on mortality inspired the cancer deaths of close friends.

Dive into our collection for more materials by and about the Velvet Underground or by and about Reed.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Charge Your Laptop at the Library


Don't let a low battery get your down. The library now has MacBook Pro laptop chargers available, one at main library desk and one in the media center. They are reserve items, which means that you must leave an ID at the desk, and you can't leave the library with them. They circulate for 2 hours, which is plenty of time to recharge your laptop battery.

Just ask at either service desk to borrow one.

Depending on usage, we will consider getting more.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced the nominees for 2014 induction. Let the arguing commence over who deserves to make the cut, how to define the criteria for admission or, say it isn't so, why Hall and Oates hadn't been nominated previously.

While the library has plenty of materials by and about these artists, here's a starting point for each of them.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hip-Hop's Golden Year

Our new display, 1993 Rap, was inspired by an NPR Music series looking back on the 20th anniversary of what they have dubbed Hip-Hop's Golden Year.

As with all our displays, the case is filled with mock-ups; the real items are available for check-out right now. So go ahead and listen to crucial 1993 albums from artists like Wu-Tang Clan (CD 14851) and A Tribe Called Quest (CD 10425) while reading essays about that year.

Hip-Hop's Golden Year : NPR

Monday, October 7, 2013

Songwriters on Songwriter

Earlier this year, the New York Times resurrected the Measure for Measure blog, which had been dormant for several years. As they describe it, "How to write a song and other mysteries. Songwriters pull back the curtain on their creative process and on the pleasures and pains of being a musician." Chris Collingwood, one of Fountains of Wayne's two songwriters, observed in a recent column entitled "The Warm Thrill of Confusion,"
Anyway, who can call the Beatles or the Rolling Stones or Paul Simon or Pink Floyd an influence? That’s like saying you like the alphabet.
You'll find insight on the songwriting process in that blog, but you'll find more methodical help in the library's songwriting research guide. As with our other research guides, you'll discover introductory materials from our collection on the topic. This one dips into aspects such as arranging and composing as well as business concerns. While the listening examples do include the Beatles and Paul Simon, they also stretch to Stephen Foster and De La Soul.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Read Like Bowie

The Telegraph has reported on voracious reader David Bowie's 100 favorite books. Want to work your way through the list? As you might expect, you'll find many music-related titles such as Mystery Train by Greil Marcus (ML3534.M37 M9 1997) and Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom by Peter Guralnick (ML3521.G87 S9 1986) in our collection. But we also have a limited selection of fiction, such as A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (PS3570.O54 C66 2002), and general non-fiction, such as The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes (BF311 .J36 2000).

As for the rest, you are likely to find them at the Boston Public Library, which is more accessible than you may realize. BPL's Central Library is at Copley Square, just a short walk down Boylston Street. Moreover, students residing in Massachusetts can get BPL cards to borrow materials and use their services. Their web site has more details, but identification such as your Berklee photo ID and a piece of mail sent to your local address will get you a library card.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Breaking Bad's Final Song Available at the Library

"Baby Blue" by Badfinger was the final song in the series finale of Breaking Bad. Hear it on Badfinger's 1972 album Straight Up (CD 6335).

We also have a live version recorded in 1974 on Day After Day (CD 10881) and a guitar score in The 1970s Guitar Big Book (MP125.A17 B5). As you can research in the Academic Charts Online database, the single peaked at No. 14 in the U.S. Billboard chart on April 28, 1972.

No spoilers here on how the show concluded, but lots of people are talking about that song.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Banned Books Week: Considering and Reconsidering Invisible Man

September 22-28 is Banned Books Week, a time to reflect on and celebrate the freedom to read and examine attempts to limit that freedom. It was fitting that on Wednesday, September 25, the Randolph County (North Carolina) Board of Education rescinded the ban on Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man that they had established on September 16.

The ban was in response to a parental complaint about the book. The Times-News reported that school board member Gary Mason argued that the book had no literary value in voting in favor of the ban. He is only board member who voted to uphold the ban upon reconsideration.

How do you evaluate literary value? Mason made his judgment based on his reading the book, and the news coverage doesn't state if he consulted any external sources.

Here are some of our resources if you want to determine a book's literary value, in this case Invisible Man. Start with the book itself (PS3555.L625 I5 1994). Even the catalog record tells us something; it is part of the series "The Modern library of the world's best books."

We also have two ebooks that discusses it, History and Memory in the Two Souths: Recent Southern and Spanish American Fiction by Deborah N. Cohn (electronic resource) and Prophets of Recognition: Ideology and the Individual in Novels by Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, Saul Bellow, and Eudora Welty by Julia Eichelberger (electronic resource) and a book about author Ralph Ellison, Shadowing Ralph Ellison by John S. Wright (PS3555.L625 Z96 2006).

But an easy way to research literature is using Literature Resource Center, available through our list of databases. Searching it by the name of work and author (to distinguish it from the similarly titled novel by H.G. Wells) brings up a raft of criticism of the work as well as biographies of the author, reviews, and other related resources.

Clearly, many people other than Gary Mason have found literary value in the book.

Gary Mason made a decision that affects others' right to read, and he made it out of ignorance. Take advantage of library resources to make informed decisions, and appreciate that you have the right to do so.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Best Live Albums

Cheap Trick At Budokan (CD 6484) marks its 35th anniversary this year. Sound Opinions devoted a recent episode to the album, interviewing the members about it. While many rock bands in the 1970s released live albums as a culmination of their success, At Budokan established Cheap Trick's success. Their previous albums had sold modestly in the U.S. but had done well in Japan, and this live recording finally introduced them to a huge audience in their native country, eventually selling three million copies. At Budokan succeeded aesthetically as well as commercially; Rolling Stone named it one of the 500 greatest albums of all time (ML156.4.R6 A16 2005).

The album's anniversary prompted a discussion among the library staff of the best (or a least their favorite) live albums, and everyone with an opinion knew they couldn't list them all. But here's a starting point in no particular order.
  • The Who Live at Leeds (CD 1727)
  • Charley Parker Jazz at Massey Hall (CD 3185)
  • Charles Mingus Mingus in Wonderland (CD 10504)
  • Miles Davis The Complete Concert: 1964: My Funny Valentine and "Four" & More Recorded Live in Concert (CD 3518-3519)
  • Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison and San Quentin (CD 10659)
  • James Brown The Apollo Theater Presents, in Person, the James Brown Show a.k.a. Live at the Apollo (CD 3605)
  • Daft Punk Alive 2007 (on order)
  • Woodstock (Annex CD (Box 36))
  • Nirvana MTV Unplugged in New York (CD 1504)
  • Queen Live at Wembley's 86 (CD 9349-9350)
  • Keith Jarrett La Scala (CD 11098)
  • Jaco Pastorius Live in New York (various volumes)
  • Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed & Suzy Bogguss Live in Nashville (on order)
  • Metallica Live Sh*t: Binge & Purge (CD 13043-13045)
  • Black Sabbath Live at Last (on order)
  • Weather Report Live in Tokyo (CD 19269-19270)
  • Bob Marley Babylon by Bus (CD 11495)
  • Cream Wheels of Fire (CD 9916-9917 Disc 2)
  • Any CD entitled at Fillmore
What do you think the best live albums are? Post your suggestions.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Archives Update: New Finding Aids

Two additional archival collections have been physically processed and have new finding aids available online:

The Jerome Gross and Bert Henry papers on the Schillinger System (BCA-006) consist of correspondence, coursework, and other materials produced and collected by Bert Henry and Dr. Jerome Gross. Both individuals were students and proponents of the Schillinger System of Musical Composition, a method invented by Russian composer and theorist Joseph Schillinger. These papers are available for research use on site by appointment. To schedule a visit, email or call 617-747-8001.

The Lawrence Berk papers on the Schillinger System (BCA-007) contain the foundation of Berklee's early curriculum. This collection is comprised of notes, formulas and other figures compiled and created by founding president Lawrence Berk during his private study with Joseph Schillinger. Following this exposure to the Schillinger System of Musical Composition, Berk founded his own school based on this method: Schillinger House, now known as Berklee College of Music. These papers have been digitized and are freely available online as part of the Archives' virtual display.

While Berklee's Archives remains a work-in-progress, an ever-increasing list of finding aids for all fully processed collections is available here. Physical materials do not circulate, but we are happy to accommodate visitors via appointment. To schedule a visit or request further information on any aspect of the Archives or a specific collection, please contact college archivist Sofía Becerra (phone: 617-747-8001 | email:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sing Along Like a Pirate

September 19 is Talk Like a Pirate Day. We highlighted our pirate-appropriate materials last year, but we've added two more CDs since then:

  • Rogue's Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, & Chanteys (CD 35233-35234)
  • Son of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, & Chanteys (CD 34995-34996)
Both the original and the follow-up were executive produced by Johnny Depp and Gore Verbinski, who know something about bringing pirates to life. The albums are full of tradition songs recorded by colorful artists like Shane McGowan, Richard Thompson, Bono, Nick Cave and Dr. John.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Revisiting the Replacements

This past weekend, the Replacements played Riot Fest in Chicago, the city that hosted what had been their 1991 final performance before their reunion this year. Their sets at Riot Fest in Toronto, Denver and Chicago have been a triumphant return for a band that fame eluded in their heyday. Despite Paul Westerberg's sharp songwriting, the band was always hamstrung by their brilliant but erratic live shows. They could be on fire, or they could be drunk and useless. While Nirvana capitalized on their aesthetic, the Minneapolis quartet, nicknamed the 'Mats, may have been ahead of their time but also had themselves to blame for not finding greater success. The best example of their deliberately avoiding hitting the big time is their video for Bastards of Young, a single shot of stereo speaker playing the song in a  living room.

Want to know why the 'Mats matter? Of course the library can help.

Start with their CDs, particularly Let It Be (CD 11559), their creative peak. Dive further with the book Let It Be (ML421.R47 M45 2004) by Colin Meloy of the Decemberists, part of the 33 1/3 book series that offers in-depth analysis of a single classic album.

To understand the phenomenon, watch Color Me Obsessed: A Film about the Replacements (DVD 5597-5598). The documentary is notable because it relies only on the band's fans to describe them and contains no actual recordings of the group. Jim Walsh's The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting: An Oral History (ML421 .R47 W35 2007) incorporates a wider range of voices to tell their story.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Research Help on Saturdays This Fall

The library has reference librarians available during regular business hours and several evenings a week. This fall, we will also provide reference services on Saturdays from Jon Amey, our reference intern. Jon is in his final semester of his master's of library science at Simmons College here in Boston.

What is reference? It's library service to help you with your research. Our student workers at the main service desk can help you with the basics, things like getting reserve materials or finding a score for a particular song. But reference librarians can help you with the more more complex or vague stuff, especially when you need help finding something about a topic rather than knowing exactly what you're looking for. We can also save you time because we're trained in sources and techniques to pinpoint relevant information; it's the difference between finding everything and finding the right thing.

Stop by the reference desk in the reading room for help or just to say hi.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Creating Alerts to Follow to Your Favorite Topics

Victor Willis of the Village People has just successful exercised his termination rights on 33 on the songs he wrote for the group, as reported by Billboard. This makes him the first artist to reclaim copyright ownership of his recordings under a provision of copyright law that took effect January 1 of this year. Artists such as Bob Dylan and Tom Petty are pursuing doing the same.

Termination rights, which allows composers to reclaim the rights from the record companies to their recordings after 35 years shows the potential to have major effects on the recording industry, particularly for legacy stars whose recordings have continued to sell over the years. Following this issue is a great example of why you would want to set up an alert in one of our databases.

Let's start with the basics of alert services. If you do a search in a database, it will retrieve matching items, usually articles from magazines, newspapers or other periodicals, that already exist in that database. By creating an alert, you'll be notified when anything new is added to the database that matches your search.

The basic steps from within a database:
  • Sign in, or create an account if you don't have one yet.
  • Do a search.
  • Set up an alert.
Not every database offers this feature, and procedures vary from one database to another, although they are usually consistent within the databases from a single vendor such as EBSCO or Gale.

Here is an example for termination rights in Business Source Premier, a database with articles on business topics.

Once are in the database, sign in to your account. Click sign in to create a new account if you don't have one yet:

Perform a search using any criteria your like. For this example, it's a basic search for "termination rights." You can use the features in the database to further refine your results if you want. If the results look on target for your interests and you want to see what is added in the future that meets those criteria, click "Share" near the top left:

One option in the pop-up window is Create an alert. Following the directions, you can create an email alert or an RSS feed so that you will find out when new content is added matching your criteria.

Using alerts, you can keep up-to-date on any topic you're interested in.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Happy Birthday, Otis Redding

September 9 marks not only the first day of classes at Berklee but also what would have been Otis Redding's 72nd birthday. The soul giant's importance is a great example to show off the library's many resources.

Start by searching our catalog. A keyword search brings up 220 items, but using various limits, you can quickly find:

In our streaming audio resources, you'll find his music in both the Music Online and Naxos Jazz Library streaming services.

In our e-Resources, you'll find lots of articles about him, including encyclopedia articles in Oxford/Grove Music Online and African American Experience and magazine and journal articles in databases such as the International Index to Music Periodicals and Rock's Backpages.

The library has lots of ways to show him the "Respect" he deserves.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Welcome (Back) to Berklee

Whether you are a new or returning student, welcome to Berklee on behalf of the library. We have lots of upcoming events to help you make the most of the library.

Some events such as Thursday's Scavenger Hunt and Welcome to the Jungle: Intro to the Stan Getz library, with open sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, are meant primarily for incoming students, but other sessions, such as Welcome to the Catalog and the upcoming Research on the Go provide helpful training to all students, faculty and staff.

An 8th semester student said, "I wish I had known this sooner," after attending one of our recent workshops. So don't wait!

See the calendar on our website for more details about these and all our upcoming events.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to keep updated about everything going on at the library.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Happy Travels

The library is closed from Saturday, August 24 to Saturday, August 31. If you are hitting the road between semesters, here of some suggestions of where to go:

50 Places Every Music Lover Should Visit

What destinations would you add to the list?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Welcome to the Piano/Keyboard Workshop

We welcome students attending the Piano/Keyboard Workshop and encourage you visit the library while you're here. To highlight parts of our collection of particular interest:

M 20--M 39.6 Classical Music Scores: Solo keyboard instruments
MP 20--MP 39.6Popular Music and Jazz Scores: Piano collections, arrangements, and transcriptions
MP 1630--MP 1632Piano/Vocal/Guitar popular music, fake books/real books/lead sheets
ML 549--ML 747History of keyboard instruments

For a little more detail, including a list of our periodicals about piano and keyboard, see our Piano Research Guide.

Visiting Piano/Keyboard students are welcome to use our collection in the library, including using CDs and DVDs on our viewing stations in the media center, but we do not allow you to check materials out.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Welcome to Guitar Sessions

It's Guitar Week at Berklee, and we encourage attendees to visit the library and use our materials while you're on campus. Here are some suggestions on where to start:

To dive right into the stacks, see:

MP 125--MP 129    Guitar collections, arrangements, and transcriptions
MT 580--MT 599    Guitar methods
ML 1015.G9           Books about guitars, from repair manuals to coffee table tomes

Our periodicals are in alphabetical order, and we've got shelves and shelves that start with the word "Guitar." Use the Guitar World Tab Index to find specific songs in their family of magazines.

To dip your feet in a big further, take a look at our Guitar Research Guides.

If you're feeling inspired by visiting artist Mike Stern, we have plenty of music by him. Few highlights:
Guitar session students are welcome to use our collection in the library, including using CDs and DVDs on our viewing stations in the media center, but we do not allow you to check materials out.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Iggy Pop: Using the Library for Stage Attire Inspiration

Iggy Pop is so famously shirtless that Buzzfeed devoted a timeline to documenting it. Less famous is that his shirtlessness was a deliberate decision based on library research.

In Iggy Pop: Open Up and Bleed (ML420.P69 T79 2007), author Paul Trynka reports that the budding Stooge continued to visit the University of Michigan library after he stopped attending classes. Iggy stated, "I was looking at a book on Egyptian antiquity. And [I realized] the pharoahs never wore a shirt. And I thought, 'Gee, there's something about that.'"

What unexpected inspiration have you found at the library?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hip-Hop at 40

Boston writer Dart Adam notes that August 11 marked the 40th anniversary of hip-hop, the day in 1973 when Clive "Cool Herc" Campbell threw his first party in the function room of 1520 Sedgwick Ave in the South Bronx.

Hip-Hop Turns 40

While Berklee can't match the Cornell Hip Hop Collection for archival materials, we do have plenty of books on hip-hop history, including many at ML3531 if you prefer to browse the shelves. A few highlights:

  • Born in the Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop edited by Johan Kugelberg (ML3531 .B66 2007)
  • Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America by Tricia Rose (ML3531 .R67 1994)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Elevator Music

The elevator construction in 150 Mass Ave. has left the library down one working photocopier, and we may need to relocate the remaining functioning ones as the project continues. The situation is only temporary.

In the mean time, enjoy some elevator-related music. And we certainly don't mean bland instrumentals piped in by Muzak.
  • "Love in an Elevator" by Aerosmith on Pump (CD 10491
  • The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators (CD 26208)
  • "Levitate Me" by the Pixies (with a refrain of "Elevator lady") on Come On Pilgrim (CD 3574)
  • "Elevator Eyes" by the Temptations on Emperors of Soul (CD 1513-1517 Disc 5)
  • "Elevator Man" on Saffire--The Uppity Blues Women (CD 27963)
  • Elevator by Hot Hot Heat (CD 25422)
  • "Elevator" by Flo Rida featuring Timbaland on Mail on Sunday (CD 30039)
  • "Elevator Woman" by Sonny Boy Williamson on Blue Bird Blues (CD 25440)
  • "Hippy Elevator Operator" by the W.C. Fields Memorial Electric String Band on Where the Action Is! Los Angeles Nuggets, 1965-1968 (CD 32914-32917 Disc 2)
Share your suggestions for elevator-related music.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Saving Your Research: Why Bookmarking Alone Won't Do It

"I saved the permalink to an article I found, but I can't get back to the page." We hear variations on this panicked statement often. Here's how to deal with the problem.

Although you can bookmark or otherwise save the permalink URL for an article you've found in one of our databases, simply returning to that same web address won't bring up page. You'll more likely hit a page asking you to log in to the database. But what you really need to do is go back through the library website to be authenticated as a Berklee library user. Why? It's like a security system for a building. It may be faster and more direct to enter through a side door to head straight to your room. But the side door is kept locked; you have to go in the front door and swipe your ID at the security desk. Going through the library website to get to our online resources is how you get authenticated as a Berklee user who is covered under our subscription for access.

Armed with this knowledge, there are a few ways you can save the articles you find to use again later:

1. Bookmarking or saving permalinks

Use this method especially if you had already found your articles without anticipating later access problems.
  • Note which database your article came from, such as Educator's Reference Complete or Literature Resource Center. 
  • Return to the library's Search Articles & More page. If you're doing this from an off-campus internet connection, you'll be prompted to log in as a Berklee user. 
  • Click on "Search by database" in the center near the top of the page.
  • Click on the name of the database.
  • To use the previous metaphor, you've now gone through the security system. Fire up that bookmark or permalink to return to your article.
2. Using database tools within each database

If you use this method, you will need to keep track of which databases you used to find articles initially.

In most databases, you can create an account and save your research for later. The link to log in or create an account is often found in the top right of the page. The databases usually give the option to select or save articles from your list of search results. Here's an example from JSTOR:

Some database vendors such as EBSCO and Gale, supply multiple databases, so if you create one account that will cover you for all their databases.

To clarify, going through the library website is for the Berklee subscription, but logging in is for your own account under that blanket subscription.

3. Downloading or emailing for offline use

Most databases allow you to save articles, either by downloading them directly to your computer or emailing them as attached files, often with a properly formatted citation. The advantages are that you don't need to create an account within each database and you can then access them even when you don't have an internet connection. However, they can get lost in a boatload of downloads or other email, so consider setting up a folder just for the articles for each assignment and renaming the files to something meaningful.

Email links are usually along the top or right side of the page when viewing an article. Here is an example from EBSCO's Academic Search Premier:

If you find a bunch of useful articles in a single database, you may be able to select them all to download or email at once.

Be aware that some databases such as Oxford Music Online only email a link to the article, not the article itself, which requires going back through the library website to access it.

Using these strategies, you'll never again find yourself stuck without access that awesome article you found previously.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Blues People: A Classic Book Turns 50

Blues People: Negro Music in White America by LeRoi Jones (ML3556 .B37 B58) was published 50 years ago and has never been out of print since. A product of the Civil Rights movement era, it was a ground-breaking work in recognizing African-American contributions to American music.

NPR's A Blog Supreme has an article on the book's gestation and reception:

Black History Meets Black Music: 'Blues People' At 50

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Nailing the Audition

On July 23, 1968, the Jackson Five auditioned for Motown Records. While the library can't promise that your next audition will be that fruitful, we do have resources to help you with the audition process.

If you need material for a vocal audition, particularly for musical theater, we have scores with 16-bar excerpts edited for auditions. For example:
  • The 16-Bar Theatre Audition: 100 Songs Excerpted for Successful Auditions (Belter (Mezzo-soprano) edition) compiled and edited by Michael Dansicker (MP1507 .S615 2003 Mez.)
Search the subject "Auditions" to find books and clinics on the process. For example:
  •  The Enraged Accompanist's Guide to the Perfect Audition by Andrew Gerle (MT956 .G47 2011)
And whether you're dealing with the audition or the eventual performance it could lead to, we also have materials to help you deal with stage fright such as: 
  • "But I Played It Perfectly in the Practice Room!" by Charlotte Sibley Whitaker and Donald Ray Tanner (ML3820 .W45 1987)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Citation Formatting Made Easy in Subscription Databases

The obvious advantage of many of our eResources is that you can access them anywhere with an internet connection. But they also provide properly properly formatted citations that you can drop into your assignments without wondering where the quotation marks and italics go.

You can usually find citation tools along the top of the page or in the right column when you're looking at an article in our subscription databases. Each database provider does it slightly differently, so you may need to look around the page. You can choose the preferred citation style, such as MLA or Chicago, and download or copy and paste the citation into your paper.

Here are some examples:

In EBSCOHost, with databases such as the Music Index, Academic Search Premier and MEDLINE, look for "Cite" in the right column, then scroll through the pop-up window to copy and paste the right style citation.

In Gale, with databases such as Academic OneFile and the New York Times, the MLA citation is at the bottom of the article, and there are citation tools in the right column to download or export the citation.

In ProQuest, with databases such as the International Index to Music Periodicals and the Boston Globe, look for Cite along the top menu bar above the article. You'll get a pop-up window where you can choose your citation style to copy and paste.

If you have a resource where the formatted citation isn't provided, take a look at our research guide How to Cite Print & Electronic Sources for examples to follow and catalog links to our style guides.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How to Start an Argument: Books of Lists

Anyone who has read Nick Hornby's High Fidelity (PR6058.O689 H54 2000) or seen the John Cusack movie based on the novel (DVD 595) knows that people obsessed with music like to make lists, particularly rankings. And any ranking is likely to incite argument; a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly ranked the 100 greatest of each entertainment media, and a letter to the editor noted that they finally wrote something guaranteed to anger every reader.

Books of lists can be discussion starters or sources of trivia. Browse the shelves at ML156 an you'll find lots of graded lists of songs and albums. But elsewhere in the library you'll find more specialized books of lists, some with extensive extensive explanations of what they've compiled on given topics.
  • Hang the DJ: An Alternative Book of Music Lists edited by Angus Cargill (ML156.4.P6 H36 2009
Sample list: "Lo, The Downcast Shall Be Exalted! Ten Reputedly Worthless Albums that Will One Day Be Recognized as Rather Nifty" Sample list: "The Song Titles: Country Music Best-Known Addresses"
  • The Official Punk Rock Book of Lists by Amy Wallace and Handsome Dick Manitoba
Sample list: "6 Great Moments in Puking"
Sample list: "A Nasty Hobbit: 15 Metal Bands Who Got Their Names from J.R.R. Tolkien"

What's your favorite list, or which one cause you the most outrage?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Sub Pop Silver Anniversary

Legendary Seattle record label Sub Pop will be celebrating its 25th anniversary with a Silver Jubilee festival in their hometown on July 13. Although most famous as an integral part of the grunge explosion with Nirvana and Mudhoney, they've found success in more recent years with the Shins, the Postal Service and Fleet Foxes.

There are many ways to learn about their rich history. You could start by searching our catalog with the label name in quotes and limiting the format to audio to find all our CDs issued by the label.

Prefer video? Check out Tad: Busted Circuits and Ringing Ears (DVD 4805), which our catalog describes as, "The story of the Seattle based rock band Tad, their label Sub Pop, and the Seattle rock music scene in the late 1980s and 1990s." Or watch Hype! (DVD 2983) which is more about the rise of grunge than Sub Pop exclusively.

You've got several options if you prefer your history more text-based. The label's own website is a good starting place. If you want some outside perspective, company anniversaries often lead to press coverage with an overview of their backstory. The label's 20th anniversary garnered such articles. Spin and Alternative Press are our local periodicals collection, and older issues of Billboard are available online:

"AP: DIY - Label Profile: Sub Pop Records." A.P. Alternative Press 08 2008: 58.

Harding, Cortney. "The Indie World: Q&A - Jonathan Poneman." Billboard Jun 28 2008: 25.

Kandell, Steve. "The Birthday Party." Spin 09 2008: 98-100.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Don't Get the Wedding Bell Blues

Whether you've been asked to play at a friend's wedding or you've picked one up as a paying gig, don't fret over finding scores for the occasion. Head to MP1977.W4 to find collections of wedding songs, where you'll get piano/vocal/guitar scores covering sacred, traditional, popular, country and Broadway crowd-pleasers for weddings. Still not enough? Use the Wedding music subject heading, which will include other instruments and specialties.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

For Independence Day: The Stories Behind Patriot Songs

The library will close at 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, July 3 and remain closed Thursday, July 4 for Independence Day.

If, in honor of July 4, you want to bone up on your patriot song history, check out Songs Sung Red, White, and Blue: The Stories behind America's Best-Loved Patriotic Songs by Ace Collins (ML3551 .C65 2003). For example, he gives a brief history of how John Philip Sousa became the March King, the circumstances of his composing "Stars and Stripes Forever" and the path to the song's being named the Official March of the United States.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hey, Where's the Rest of the Article?

So you're doing research in one of our online databases, you find an article title that sounds dead-on for your topic, but when you click through for the details, you can't find a way to bring up the full text. There may be a link on the page, but all it does is reload the same information, or it takes you to a different website where they want you to log in or shell out money to see the whole thing.

Sound familiar? What you have found is a citation, which tells you about something that exists and where to find out without providing the document itself. It may include an abstract, which is a brief summary of the contents, and subject terms, which describe the subject and link to other articles on the same subject. For most of our databases it will be for a journal or magazine article, which means that the citation includes the author, article title, publication title, date and/or volume and issue number and page number so that you can go track it down by other means.

Why isn't the full text available for every article? It varies, but the short explanation is that the database provider doesn't have the rights to provide the full text of every article in the database. Some databases are explicitly citation only, some provide full text of everything, but many have a combination.

How you deal with this depends on how many search results you found that are relevant to your research and how much time you have. But don't pay an external website for content that Berklee can probably provide for you.
  • If you found lots of good results in a single database, try running your search again but limit results to full-text only. Most databases with a mixture of citations and full text offer this option on either the basic or advanced search page. That will quickly knock out anything that requires more work to track down.
  • If you found a promising citation, see if Berklee has it elsewhere electronically. From our Journals & Magazine list, search for the name of the journal listed in the citation. If we have access, you'll see a list of databases through which it is available. Look for one with full-text access for the date that you need. (Some may not have older or very recent coverage.)
  • If we don't have it electronically, we may have it in print. Check the journal title in our Local Periodicals Holdings. You may need to allow time for staff to retrieve a volume from our Annex, especially if it is older.
  • If you're still hitting a dead end, it's worth a shot to check Google Scholar. You may find a link to free access to the article.
  • If none of those options panned out, and especially if the only you link you found requires payment for the article, request it through Interlibrary Loan. We have an online request form where you can request books, scores and articles that we don't own, and you can easily copy and paste the information from your citation. We sometimes turn around article requests in a few days, but it may take up to two weeks, and we usually email the PDF directly to you.
If this all sounds like too much trouble, speak to some of our older staff members so we can regale you with tales of the Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature and the olden days of having to do all your research with print resources only.