American History and Popular Song
If you’re doing research for the Sweet Adelines Song Assessment Tool, these will help.
- How the term “Dixie” came to define the South – Story from CNN, June 27, 2020
- Joe Bebco, “Reconsidering Dixieland Jazz” – Syncopated Times, July 2021
- Ben Zimmer, “What Dixie Really Means“. Atlantic, June 2020
- Cafe Songbook – Songs, songwriters, and performers of the Great American Songbook. Not comprehensive, but a good source for the songs it covers. Includes information on composers and lyricists, origins of songs (i.e. written for a particular show, etc), song background, and links to performances.
- Brief history of Tin Pan Alley – From acousticmusic.org
- Brief history of Vaudeville – From acousticmusic.org
- Internet Broadway Database – Excellent resource for Broadway shows and people connected with them, including songwriters.
- Alyssa Taubin, The American Musical in Black and White: How Race Relations in the United States Directory Affected the Development of Musical Theater – from Howlround Theatre Commons
- History of Blackface – Covers the history of Blackface and racist Black stereotypes in minstrel shows, Vaudeville, Broadway, radio, film, and television.
- African American roots of barbershop – From the Barbershop Harmony Society
- Musicals 101.com – “Cyber-Encyclopedia of Musical Theater, Film, and Television”
- Mason and Dixon Draw a Line – From the History Channel. So many songs about the South mention the Mason-Dixon Line. But where was it and who were Mason and Dixon? This is a good, short summary of the history behind the Mason-Dixon Line.
- “Three Documentaries You Should Watch About the Tulsa Race Massacre” – Story from National Public Radio, May 30, 2021
- Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia – Ferris State University
- American Civil War Museum
- Rebecca Hersher, “Why You Probably Shouldn’t Say ‘Eskimo'” – from National Public Radio, April 24, 2016
- Carla M. Ponti, The Musical Representation of Asian Characters in the Musicals of Richard Rodgers. Ph.D. dissertation in Music from UC San Diego. From ProQuest, published as open access.
- Sabina Thalheim, A Hundred Million Messages: Reflections on Representation in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song. M.A. thesis, Ohio State University, 2013
- Irving Berlin – official site
- George and Ira Gershwin – Official site
- Cole Wide Web – Cole Porter official site
- Songwriters Hall of Fame – Short biographies of many well-known songwriters
Selected Sheet Music Collections
- Sheet Music Consortium – Hosted by the UCLA Library; provides access to sheet music collections at more than 30 libraries all over the world
- World War I Sheet Music – Library of Congress
- Historic American Sheet Music – Duke University, Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library
- America Singing: 19th Century Song Sheets – Library of Congress
- Historic Sheet Music Collection, 1800-1922 – Library of Congress
- Music For the Nation: American Sheet Music, ca. 1820-1860 – Library of Congress
- Civil War Sheet Music Collection – Library of Congress
- Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, ca. 1870-1885 – Library of Congress
- Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America
- IN Harmony: Sheet Music from Indiana – Created by Indiana University; includes collections from Indiana University Lilly Library, Indiana State Library, Indiana State Museum, and Indiana Historical Society
- Lester Levy Sheet Music Collection – Johns Hopkins University Library
- Archive of Popular American Music – UCLA Library
- Vocal Sheet Music Collection – Digital Commons, University of Maine
- Sheet Music Singer – Piano/vocal performances of vintage sheet music.
- African American Band Music and Recordings, 1883-1923 – Library of Congress
- Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project – UC Santa Barbara, Davidson Library. Historic recordings from the era of Edison wax cylinders. Many pre-1938 barbershop quartets are in this collection, digitized and freely available.
- The Great 78 Project – Community project for the preservation, research, and discovery of 78rpm records. Part of the Internet Archive
- The Shellac Stack – A great podcast, hosted by Bryan Wright, that plays 78rpm records from the first half of the 20th century. Not limited to barbershop; great variety and great fun!
- Many historic recordings can be found on YouTube – search on composer names or song titles.
- On Facebook look for the group Vocal Harmony Groups before 1940 – lots of unique recordings there.
Music Theory and Arranging
- Music Theory With Lorna Katz – YouTube channel by a member of San Diego Chorus, SAI. Helpful for learning the basics of staff, clefs, note reading, etc.
- MusicCards.net – Online flash cards for training on note names, key signatures, intervals, and triads.
- Chris Lewis, Barbershop Harmony: A Modern Guide – an informative guide to barbershop arranging
- Sample pages from my book, Arranging Barbershop Harmony – A short introduction to music theory and barbershop chords. Buy the complete book.
- Liz Garnett, Helping You Harmonise (blog) – Posts on Arranging
- BasicMusicTheory.com – Great resource for looking up (and learning about) chord spellings.
- MusicTheory.net – Free lessons in theory and ear training. There’s a companion app (iOS), but you can do the lessons online even if you don’t have the app.
- Jeffrey Evans, Exploring Theory With Practica Musica – an online textbook from Ars Nova, which publishes a wide variety of music training software products. This book is also available as a free iBook for iOS devices. It’s an informative, readable discussion of music theory and music history; useful with or without the software.
Finale and Music Notation
- Finale Quick Start Videos – Produced by the makers of Finale. If you’re new to the program, start with these!
- Finale – Official YouTube Channel
- Conquering Finale – Videos on all aspects of Finale, done by a professional arranger, orchestrator, and music copyist.
- Finale SuperUser – YouTube channel with videos on all aspects of Finale.
- Scoring Notes – Blog and podcast covering music notation software and related technology, from NYC Music Services, a music preparation company in New York City. Covers all the major programs (Finale, Sibelius, Dorico, Musescore) but especially good for Sibelius and Dorico.
- If you’re a BHS member, check out the BHS website (members area) for Finale and Sibelius templates for barbershop music, and the BHS’ Notation Guidelines for Barbershop.
I’m not an attorney and can’t give legal advice. These links are for information and education purposes only, and will focus primarily on U.S. law. Singers with copyright questions should consult a qualified attorney in their U.S. state or home country.
- Cornell University, Copyright Information Center – see especially their chart, Copyright Term and Public Domain in the United States
- Dear Rich – Excellent blog on all areas of intellectual property (copyright, patent, trademark), written by a practicing attorney.
- The Evolution of Copyright in Music – Podcast from Northwestern University, Pritzker School of Law. An interesting discussion of how new technologies have shaped the copyright law, starting with piano rolls and ending with today’s digital distribution.
- Legal Encyclopedia: Patent, Copyright, and Trademark – From Nolo, a publisher of law books geared toward the consumer market. Contains links to related books on intellectual property and copyright published by Nolo.
- Public Domain Information Project – A good source for information about public domain music; also publishes songbooks of public domain titles
- Public Domain Sherpa – Concise, non-technical discussion of how to tell if a work is in the public domain, written by an attorney. See especially the pages concerning sheet music and sound recordings.
- Copyright term for countries around the world – from Wikipedia
- U.S. Copyright Office