Sunday, April 12, 2009

Wax Cylinder Recordings Online

Belfer Cylinders Digital Connection - Syracuse University Library: "The Belfer Cylinders Digital Connection provides online access to digital audio files of cylinders in the Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive. Belfer’s cylinder collection includes over 22,000 cylinders, 12,000 of which are unique titles. The goal of this digitization project is to provide 6,000 audio files by 2010."

This is a really nicely done site--clean and easy to search and navigate, with abundant metadata. And you may download the songs as MP3s! They should have a podcast or two of songs from the collection.

There is no northwest content that I could find at the site but there are a lot of songs on historical topics. A keyword search for "war" brings up fascinating WW1 nuggets such as the instrumental Battle of the Marne the rousing Are we downhearted - no! and the touching My Bugler boy. And don't miss the Scottish Wit and Humor category--which reminds me of Robert Darnton's oft-quoted point that "When you realize that you are not getting something—a joke, a proverb, a ceremony—that is particularly meaningful to the natives, you can see where to grasp a foreign system of meaning in order to unravel it."

[Via Metafilter. For additional wax cylinder recordings online see The Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project at UCSB.]

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