There are countless challenges in preserving obsolete media from breadth of formats to lack of documentation at the time of creation. With the history of recorded sound now spanning over one hundred years wide range of technologies utilized in this span, challenges abound for any individual working to capture the range of media in need of preservation. To accomplish this feat constant engagement is required to further understand the media, the way media is degrading, and best practices for preserving historic recordings that range from cylinders to digital multi-track recording sessions.
Blog topic: Digitization
The Allen Ginsberg papers in the Department of Special Collections is truly the collection that keeps on giving. We here at the media lab have digitized a huge portion of the media (current count: 2000+ items), yet our interest in it remains high because of the sheer amount of gems hidden within. Even if we didn't enjoy Ginsberg, the vast amount of acquaintances he recorded from the 1950s until the 1990s would provide endless entertainment.
Earlier this year, I reported on recent work the Archive of Recorded Sound (ARS) had undertaken to preserve video footage of Leon Theremin's visit to Stanford in 1991. In addition to participating in a symposium during his visit, hosted by the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), Theremin was also the guest of honor at a concert held in Frost Amphitheater on September 27, 1991 during the Stanford Centennial Finale Weekend. The video footage preserved by the ARS earlier in the year unfortunately only included part of this notable concert. It was found to be missing some key performances, including an arrangement of Rachmaninov's Vocalise, featuring Theremin's daughter Natasha Theremin playing the vocal parts on her father's instrument, accompanied by Max Mathews conducting the orchestral parts with his radio batons. This footage was presumed lost...until now.
Opern-Tÿpen consists of six volumes of chromolithographic plates depicting scenes from 54 operas popular in 19th century Germany. Each opera plot has been distilled into a mere six frames, with liberally adapted accompanying text. The visual charms of Opern-Typen are evident. The plates reveal a sophisticated understanding of the effective use of line, gesture, and composition to convey drama and comedy in a tight narrative sequence. Future research may determine if these drawings captured or were informed by real-life performances, as is suggested by the inclusion of staging and scenic elements.
The Archive of Recorded Sound is pleased to announce the acquisition and recently completed processing of the Art Vincent Jazz Collection. The collection features over 800 hours of interviews, broadcasts, and call-in segments primarily created for the radio program Art of Jazz, produced and presented by Art Vincent (1926-1993), Jazz DJ and concert producer. The show aired on radio stations in the New York Metropolitan area between 1961 and the mid 1980s, including WFHA, WJLK, WRLB, and WGBO. In addition to some live concert recordings, the show notably featured interviews with major figures in the jazz world, such as Stan Kenton, Count Basie, Buddy DeFranco, Woody Herman, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Lou Rawls, Roy Eldridge, Skitch Henderson, Art Farmer, Duke Ellington, Teddy Wilson, Stan Getz, Louis Armstrong, Gerry Mulligan, Dave Brubeck, Benny Goodman, Stephane Grappelli, Dizzy Gillespie, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Vera Auer, Ruth Brown, Betty Carter, Etta Jones, Sheila Jordan, Nellie Lutcher, Anita O'Day, Shirley Scott, Maxine Sullivan, Nancy Wilson, and many others.
A delineation of the strata of England and Wales, with part of Scotland; exhibiting the collieries and mines, the marshes and fen lands originally overflowed by the sea, and the varieties of soil according to the variations in the substrata, illustrated by the most descriptive names…
William Smith, 1815
On Display at the Branner Earth Sciences Library, March 26 to April 2, 2015
This map is so large, that only a fifth of the map fit into our display case!
The Archive of Recorded Sound (ARS) and Stanford Media Preservation Lab (SMPL) recently worked with the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), specifically Emeritus Professor John Chowning and current CCRMA director and Duca Family Professor Chris Chafe, to locate, research, and digitize a series of videos from the Archive's CCRMA Tape Collection (ARS.0037) documenting a significant event in the history of CCRMA and electronic and computer music at Stanford.
In September 1991, numerous pioneers of electronic and computer music, including Robert Moog and Max Mathews, convened at Stanford during the University's centennial weekend (Sept 27-29, 1991) for a concert and symposium honoring the then 95 year-old inventor of the first practical electronic musical instrument, Leon Theremin. Theremin's instrument, which bears his surname, has become arguably one of the most well known and recognizable electronic musical instruments ever devised, and has since inspired numerous subsequent inventions, such as Max Mathews' radio batons. It has been used in countless musical works, perhaps most famously in the Beach Boys 1966 hit, Good Vibrations. It also gave rise to the career of virtuoso Theremin performer, Clara Rockmore.