Music in the United States
for American Music
Library of Congress has perhaps the strongest collection of
popular music of any library in the world. It has sheet music
for standards ("Someone to Watch over Me"), for tunes
so well-known it is hard to imagine them as notes-on-paper
("My Melancholy Baby"), and for thousands of songs
that hoped for popularity in vain--"popular" in style,
unpopular in fact.
important to the researcher, it has the many tunes that were
once popular and are now little-known. These tunes may be important
for conjuring up a time; understanding a reference in a novel
(it was in the Music Division that "Seaside Girls," the
song Leopold Bloom remembers obsessively in his wanderings
around Dublin, in James Joyce's Ulysses, was first found);
or documenting the use of a word (the Oxford English Dictionary
lists the song "Mr. Jefferson Lord, Play that Barber Shop
Chord" as the first use of "barbershop" for
a style of harmony).
Music Division's collection of American popular music is strong
from the beginnings (whatever you may define those beginnings
to be); for European and Latin American popular music its collection
is strong from the 1920s on. Thus, if you are interested in
what Josephine Baker sang in Paris--or Charles Trenet, or Jacques
Brel--the Library of Congress is your best American source;
if you want to find the kind of dance-band arrangements that
were really played at the Berlin cabarets between the wars,
they are at the Music Division, too.
if you are interested in the Cuban conjunto music which forms
the basis of Oscar Hijuelos's The Mambo Kings Play Songs of
Love, you will find much of it--ready to slap on the stands
and play--in the Music Division.
- Of, consisting of, or relating to the performance of sentimental
songs for unaccompanied, usually male voices in four-part harmony:
a barbershop quartet.
that reflects a nation’s culture:
Anniversary History Book
current American musical perspective can be seen in documents
from the library of BMI. The following categories provide highlights
of the music.
Rhythm & Blues
Rock & Roll
Music at BMI
for Hollywood at BMI
Unless otherwise noted, all material is from U.S. Department
of State – Info USA