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Collection CoNextion: JMU Music Library's Virtual Collections
Brian Cockburn, Music Librarian

Move over full-text journals. Step aside databases full of dry facts. The internet has now become the home of music research.  The internet has been home to music for some time: witness the recent litigation regarding, Napster and other online music providers. However, like the opening of Straussís Also Sprach Zarathustra (Theme to 2001: a Space Odyssey, for the musically challenged) the number of quality resources for the serious scholar have been growing. 

The Library of Congress, through it's American Memory project, has been quietly providing on the internet more and more primary documents. The documents include scores, photos, manuscripts, recordings, and a host of other ephemera. JMU libraries has amassed a collection of these and they are available in Leo, the online catalog. Some highlights include...

  • The African American Sheet Music Collection which "consists of 1,305 pieces of African-American sheet music dating from 1850 through 1920. The collection includes many songs from the heyday of antebellum black face minstrelsy in the 1850s and from the abolitionist movement of the same period. Numerous titles are associated with the novel and the play
    Uncle Tom's Cabin. Civil War period music includes songs about African-American soldiers and the plight of the newly emancipated slave. Post-Civil War music reflects the problems of Reconstruction and the beginnings of urbanization and the northern migration of African Americans."1

The William and Gayle Cook Music Library at Indiana University has for several years been developing an online music library. One of the more interesting developments is their online score library. This collection provides scrolling access to full scores of opera, orchestral and choral literature, chamber music, and piano literature.

The Music Library at JMU will be prototyping streaming digital audio reserves in the Fall of 2001 in one of the General Education courses. Additionally, we will be initiating a project of providing streaming audio of many of the performances of JMU's School of Music musical ensembles currently cataloged in the performance collection.

Students using Music Authoring software

The New Grove Dictionary of Music was published online this winter. James Madison University scholars in history, sociology, art, music, and the humanities and performing arts now have access to the most significant resource for music history ever created (no hyperbole here). With Grove Music and the host of other electronic resources (for a select list see the Music Library "Music Guide") available providing journals, scores, sound files, indices, books, scripts, librettos, and video the crescendo of resources has
no foreseeable end.

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