« 'Tis The Season - For ESL Conferences | Main | News From Facebook »

May 15, 2011

American Jukebox

I love music - especially music that tells stories and gives us a glimpse into...

...a world far away.

The Sony Corporation and the USA's Library of Congress have just released an absolute treasure trove of early 20th Century music. You won't believe the collection available - and yes, it is all free to listen to.

Over the years Sony has acquired the archives of several early U.S. recording companies, including Columbia, RCA Victor, OKeh and many others.

As you might expect, this collection offers a seemingly infinite selection of early Blues, Ragtime, country/folk, yodeling, and even whistling tunes (you absolutely must look up the Dance of the Honey Bees).

If you, like me, are horrified at the bland, predictable programming on most radio stations, you'll be amazed at the variety of music available here.

I love finding and listening to music no one else has heard of - especially music that tells me about different eras, cultures and values.

This is our chance to step into both music and media as it is forming, this is, as the LOC's announcement puts it, our opportunity to "Audition popular recorded selections of the beginning of the 20th century years—band music, novelty tunes, humorous monologues, hits from the season's new musical theater productions, the latest dance rhythms, and opera arias."

One of my favorite features of this data base is that you can select artists, genres or eras and compile your own play list. Start here - http://www.loc.gov/jukebox/playlists/basics.

This collection is called the National Jukebox. To see the official home page, start here - http://www.loc.gov/jukebox/.

I have to admit that I love the original Blues. So start here - http://www.loc.gov/jukebox/search/results?fq=take_genre_id%3A5 for a glimpse into the Blues starting in the 1920s (be sure to catch the Cross-word puzzle Blues).

Music is an insight into art and culture and this is a wonderful way to explore the strange, eclectic roots of early 20th Century American music.

I hope you can listen to some of these historic songs. Please send me a note and let me know what you think.

We are all always learning. And it is always more fun to learn together.

Let me know what it is about English that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing, constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf prefers international and independent films, foreign foods he can't pronounce, music no one else has heard of and riding his bicycle in foreign cities.

Posted by mmorf at May 15, 2011 07:20 PM


Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)