Auction catalogues are sources for iconography and history; for example, Christie’s has mounted over 200 auctions of rock and pop memorabilia, issuing catalogues that illuminate the stories of performers and groups as well as events like the Woodstock festival. Other catalogues offer biographical details; a 2003 catalogue from Sotheby’s documents Elton John’s changing taste, while others, like the 1999 catalogue page reproduced above, represent the posthumous dispersal of personal effects—in this case, Yehudi Menuhin’s collection of instruments and bows.
Category Archives: Publication types
Often souvenir books are considered ephemera: Most libraries do not purchase them. Sometimes, however, they take the form of a book of articles by notable authors; these are treated as essay collections by libraries and by RILM. For example, the souvenir book published by New York’s Metropolitan Opera for their 1988 production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen includes contributions by the musicologists Carolyn Abbate and Barry Millington and the poet and literary critic Richard Howard.
In rare cases facsimile editions provide evidence of collaborative processes; an example is the recent edition by Leo S. Olschki Editore of the working copy of the libretto for Puccini’s Tosca, part of which is pictured above.
With notes in the hands of Puccini, the publisher Giulio Ricordi, and the librettists Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa—and the inclusion of pasted-in pages fathfully reproduced as separate, attatched sheets—the edition documents the collaborative process that resulted in one of the landmarks of verismo opera.
Below, Renée Fleming sings Tosca’s signature aria Vissi d’arte.
Conference reports illuminate intellectual history with a window on a particular moment. Since conference papers present the most current scholarship, a collection from a single conference provides a glimpse of the state of research on many topics at that time.
RILM recently published the papers from our first conference in Music’s intellectual history, and our retrospective coverage of conference reports, Speaking of Music: Music conferences, 1835–1966, was issued in 2004. The preface to the latter book provides an overview of this publication type.
The photo above is from the American Musicological Society‘s International Congress of Musicology in 1939. Standing: Harold Spivacke, Otto Kinkeldey, Otto Gombosi, Knud Jeppesen, Fernando Liuzzi, Gustave Reese. Seated: Edward J. Dent, Carleton Sprague Smith, Curt Sachs, Alfred Einstein, Dayton C. Miller.
Although they rarely focus directly on music, articles in scholarly dance journals are often important sources for music researchers. Ethnomusicologists regularly find that their work intersects with that of ethnochoreologists, and music historians increasingly turn to publications by dance historians for information on choreographers, performers, and productions, from the court of Louis XIV to the Ballets Russes to music videos.
Music magazines fly under the radar for many scholars, but they are often the most reliable sources for information about current performers and repertory. Providing interviews, biographical details, and information about works and performances, these periodicals fill the information gap that precedes the publication of scholarly studies on these topics, and they are less likely to perpetuate errors than unconfirmed Internet sources.
Sometimes these magazines also present research that may not be oriented toward making a scholarly point, but may still prove useful for scholarly projects; examples include surveys of the output of small record labels, the musical life of a city, or the history of an institution.
Music magazines covered by RILM include selected publications for Western music and popular music as well as those devoted to less mainstream genres such as blues, world music, and Indian performing arts.