Mackay-Smith Collection of European Music, 1650-1910:
Presented to U.Va. in 1946, includes complete runs of what at that time constituted the major musicological journals, reference works, bibliographies, printed library catalogs, monographs, and scores. The collection’s greatest strength is in contemporary editions of 18th-century instrumental music, particularly chamber music (trio sonatas). Musical selection corresponds with Thomas Jefferson’s catalog of 1783.
Finding Aid: Catalog to the MacKay-Smith Collection compiled by Evan Bonds (location: key cabinet, lobby). An electronic version of this catalog is available. Collection is also accessible by VIRGO call number search. Most of the collection’s printed music is cataloged under the call number M312.4.
19th-20th Century American and European Sheet Music:
16,000 vocal and instrumental titles, in boxes and bound volumes. Ca. 7,000 unbound, boxed items are listed on computer printout and microfiche, with access by composer, title, and publisher.
Finding Aid: Lynn T. McRae, Computer Catalog of 19th-Century American Imprint Sheet Music (Charlottesville, 1977. Call number: ML136.V57 M2 1977). Bound items are cataloged under the call number M1.A13N in VIRGO.
20th-century items of parlor music and show tunes: Circa 6000 items, uncataloged.
Confederate Sheet Music, 1860-1865: 238 pieces catalogued under call number M1642, accessible by VIRGO call number search.
Bay Psalm Books, 1682-1773:
Earliest example of printed music in Colonial America. Nine editions of the Bay Psalm Book are included in Mather Collection which forms part of the Tracy W. McGregor Library.
Finding Aid: Indexed in Rare Books Division Catalog (location: lobby) under the following title: Bible. O.T. Psalms. English. Paraphrases. (date, i.e., 1682.) Bay Psalm Book. Accessible in VIRGO under the title Bay Psalm Book.
Rural American sacred music published in any of several musical notations in which a note head of a certain shape is assigned to each of the solmization syllables fa, sol, la, mi (in the four-syllable “fasola” system) or do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si or ti. Most shape notations employ key signatures, deploy the notes on a five-line staff, and use the rhythm signs of conventional notation. They are intended to help singers with little musical expertise to sing at sight without having to recognize pitches on the staff or understand the key system. The shape-note tradition originated in the early 19th century and flourished among many Whites and some Blacks, particularly in the South and Mid-west, where it still survives, and furnished the principal printed sources of folk hymns and white spirituals. A later 19th-century offshoot formed an important branch of white gospel music. (from The New Grove Dictionary of American Music) Finding Aid: A checklist of shape-note hymnals is available. Many items are also accessible by a VIRGO “word or phrase” search combining Ruebush and Kieffer. (The Ruebush & Kieffer Company was a major publisher of shape-note hymnals.) To identify shape-note hymnals, display a record for any item with a 19th-century publication date, then look for the note “shape-note notation” in the NOTES field. Also accessible by VIRGO subject search (shape note hymnals).
Monticello Music Collection, Accession #3177, 3177-a; Microfilm # M 2256-M 2260 (in Special Collections):
Music owned by the Jefferson and Randolph families, including published vocal and instrumental works and manuscript fragments; manuscript book of songs and pieces thought to have belonged to Martha Jefferson Randolph; and a manuscript music notebook, ca. 1770, thought to have belonged to Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson. (NOTE: Access restricted to the use of the microfilm to insure the conservation of the originals. Request by microfilm reel number M 2256-M 2260)
Finding Aid: Helen Cripe’s Thomas Jefferson and Music, ML 429.J44C7, provides an inventory of the collection and background information.
Jefferson Music, M 1628.J4 1790 (in Special Collections):
11 folders containing music in American use ca. 1790-1826, the major part being political, or ceremonial, connected with Jefferson and his contemporaries.Finding Aid: Indexed in Rare Books Division Shelflist (location: lobby). Also accessible by VIRGO call number search (M 1628.J4 1790).
Arthur Fickenscher (1871-1954) was a composer, the first head of UVA’s Music Department, and member of the faculty from 1920-1941. While here he supervised the construction of the polytone (“an harmonic laboratory instrument constructed on a basis of practically pure intonation”) which was recently removed from Old Cabell Hall to undergo restoration. The papers include Fickenscher’s compositions (most in manuscript form),m additional manuscript compositions and arrangements; papers on his invention of the polytone, 1912-1941; correspondence, 1920-1951; clippings; programs, bibliographical notes;and a biographical sketch by William W. Jones (a copy is also available in the Music Library).
12 items including correspondence and miscellaneous pieces of music, perhaps the result of a collaboration between Alice Darrow Rounds (Mrs. George Hayden) and Chinese musicologist Chao-Mei-Pa and poet Chung-yu Sen.
John Powell (1882-1963) was a composer, concert pianist, and U.Va. alumnus. Powell had a strong interest in folk music and was an avid collector of Virginia folk songs. Many of his compositions are based on traditional American and African-American folk tunes. He is best known for the Rhapsodie Nègre, a work for the piano and orchestra which he composed in 1918. The material catalogued under Acc.#7284 includes ms compositions; notebooks; correspondence; photographs; and tapes, and recordings.
John Powell Papers, Accession #7276 (in Special Collections):
Alfred Swan Papers, Accession #10093 (in Special Collections):
Alfred Swan (1890-1970) was a composer and musicologist. He was born in St. Petersburg, Russia of English parentage and educated at Oxford University (B.A. and M.A. by 1911) and St. Petersburg Conservatory (1911-1913). Swan’s youth in Russia inspired a keen interest in Russian music and culture. As a composer Swan is best known for his chamber music, songs, and Russian liturgical music. The collection is most notable for Swan’s correspondence with prominent members of the Russian intelligentsia including Sergei Rachmaninoff, Sergei Prokofiev, Nicholas Medtner, Pavel Chesnokov, and Alexandra Tolstoy, the daughter of Leo Tolstoy. The collection also contains printed music scores, notes, photographs, press clippings, and typescripts of studies of Russian music.Finding Aid: A reference guide is available (location: control folder)
Randall Thompson Papers, Accession #1914, #4008, #7359, (in Special Collections):
Randall Thompson (1899-1984) was a musician, composer, and former U.Va. professor. The collection is comprised of drafts, corrections, and printed copies of Thompson’s Testament of Freedom, a chorale composed for the Jefferson Bi-Centennial in 1943, score of Jefferson’s march, and correspondence and clippings relating to the Testament of Freedom and its various performances.
Paul Bowles (1910-1984) was a composer and U.Va. alumnus who studied with Virgil Thomson and Aaron Copland. The collection includes correspondence, printed music, photographs, and tape and phonograph recordings.
WPA Folklore Collection, Accession #1547, (in Special Collections):
Includes 2700 ballads, dance tunes, and folksongs, and 37 78-rpm discs collected in Virginia 1938-1943.
Finding Aid: Bruce A. Rosenberg’s, The Folksongs of Virginia: A Checklist of the WPA Holdings (ML128.F75 V57 1969).
A. K. Davis Papers, Accession #9829, (in Special Collections):
Arthur Kyle Davis(1897-1972) was a former UV English professor and archivist for the Virginia Folklore Society. The Davis papers include the ballads collected by the Folklore Society, typescripts of Davis’ books about folk music, various folklore files, correspondence about collecting, and recordings of Virginians singing the ballads handed down to them (the A. K. Davis collection of field-recorded Virginia music is housed in the Kevin Barry and Kelly Scott Perdue Archive of Traditional Culture.) Finding Aid: A reference guide is available (location: control folder).
The Kevin Barry and Kelly Scott Perdue Archive of Traditional Culture, Accession #10493, (in Special Collections):
A collection of textual, audio, and visual materials related primarily to the folk culture of Virginia. Includes 300 33-1/3 rpm records Anglo-American and African-American music (early “country” and “race” music), the A. K. Davis collection of field-recorded Virginia music, and 65 original field-recorded tapes of African American secular and church music recorded in Rappahannock-Culpeper County, Virginia, 1966-1972.
Now available: New Special Collections Request System
The request and workflow software provides expanded functionality for researchers who wish to utilize Special Collections’ materials. Read more and register today!