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Department of Music

Gerald Burke, Subject Librarian

I. General Purpose

The music collection of the University Libraries supports the B.A. program and faculty research of the Department of Music. The B.A. program includes courses in Performance, Electronic Music and Media, Composition, Music Theory, Music History, and Conducting. The Music Department offers individualized instrumental instruction and ensemble participation including orchestra, band, chorus, and jazz ensemble, as well as courses in conducting.

Faculty research interests include: the Beethoven symphonies; jazz, rock, and concert music of the twentieth century; the choral music of Bach, Bruckner, Mendelssohn, William Grant Still, and George F. Bristow; composers from the Americas; music of the early Middle Ages in England; and editing of rare liturgical texts.

II. Subject and Language Modifiers

Languages: The primary language of the collection is English, but the Libraries selectively acquire titles in German, French, Italian, and Spanish as well.

Geographical Areas and Subjects: The music of Europe and North America is of primary importance, however, because of a growing interest in ethnomusicology, materials about music from around the world are also purchased.  The libraries collect material on music theory, music history, American music, performance, opera, Baroque music, music of the Classical and Romantic periods, music of the 20th century, composition, music literature (including Western and non-Western music, music and society in Latin America, black music, women and music, and Jewish music), jazz, electronic music, and musical theater. An emerging focus is popular music studies, which inlcudes the history of rock music.

Chronological Periods: All periods and styles are represented in both the print and non-print collections.

III. Description of Materials Collected

Types of Materials Collected: The University Libraries collect monographs (including monographic series), reference materials, periodicals, proceedings of conferences, and multimedia material for which the Libraries maintain playback equipment (including microforms, CD-ROMs, videocassettes, DVDs, computer software, and sound recordings).

The Libraries purchase critical editions of the works of major composers of all periods, piano/vocal scores of operas and musical theater, and compact disks of landmark recordings of the standard works of major composers. Videotapes are collected selectively.

A virtual collection of electronic resources available from the World Wide Web by way of the University Libraries' home page is maintained and regularly augmented. This collection includes electronic journals and newspapers; reference sources (e.g. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians); indexing and abstracting services (e.g. The International Index to Music Periodicals); and Web sites of various kinds.

Types of Materials Excluded: The Libraries do not routinely purchase pocket scores or parts, basic school or college textbooks, books on how to teach music, books offering popular treatments, collections of previously published articles when the Libraries own the originals, doctoral dissertations written for degrees granted by institutions other than the University at Albany, and certain formats (including newsletters, loose-leaf materials, and monographs having fewer than 100 pages), although these may be selectively acquired upon faculty request or under special circumstances. Materials available from the Center for Research Libraries or through other specific resource sharing agreements and multimedia materials for which the Libraries do not maintain playback equipment are also excluded.

Interdisciplinary Factors: The collections in art, literature, theater, and history provide additional support for the work of the faculty and students in the Department of Music.

IV. Subject and Collection Levels [Collection Level Descriptions]

The music collection (Library of Congress M classifications) is maintained at the Study or Instructional Support Level, Intermediate.

V. Other Significant Collections and Resource Sharing

The Music Department has a small library of parts, scores, books, and recordings for the use of its students and faculty. There is little overlap between the collection of the University Library and that of the Music Department; effort is made to make the two collections complementary.

In addition to their own holdings, the University Libraries make outside resources available to the students and faculty of this department. This is done through memberships in library consortia that were established to facilitate sharing of various resources, interlibrary loan arrangements, resource sharing agreements, and electronic access.

The four University Centers of the SUNY system (Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, and Stony Brook) along with Syracuse University have established Empire Express for facilitating interlibrary loans.

Skidmore College and the College of Saint Rose have music collections; items from these libraries may be borrowed by faculty and students through Interlibrary Loan.

Students and faculty of the University at Albany also have on-site access and borrowing privileges in selected member libraries of the Capital District Library Council as well as the New York State Library.

VI. Notes

The selector responsible for this collection is the Subject Librarian for Music.

Approval Plans and Standing Orders: Some core materials to support the music programs are acquired through an approval plan with Blackwell North America (BNA), which provides English language materials from the U.S. and the U.K.. Subject profiles and non-subject parameters are employed as selection criteria for this plan. Books on musicians and composers, the history of music (including jazz, ethnomusicology, and musical theatre) are received on approval. Publishers specializing in books about music (such as Pendragon Press) are not included in the approval plan, so their publications must be selected individually. Titles requested by faculty members and titles selected by the Music Subject Librarian are also ordered to maintain basic coverage.

Standing orders and memberships supplement the above means of acquisition in order to obtain serial publications and parts of sets as soon as they are published. The institution of new standing orders was curtailed in the 1980's and 1990's and some of the existing standing orders were cut during this period, but certain materials are still received this way, for example, the critical editions of the works of major composers.

Periodicals: In the 1980's and 1990's it was not possible to continue to build the collections at the same level as had been possible in the 1960's and 1970's because of fiscal restrictions, cutbacks on acquisitions, and escalating costs for library materials that have often exceeded the rate of overall monetary inflation. Because of these fiscal conditions, the institution of new subscriptions to periodicals in traditional print format has been rare since 1980. Additionally, subscriptions started in the 1970's and earlier were cut back in the 1980's and 1990's. The University Libraries have found and continue to seek various ways to overcome the problems posed by this situation. Recently, many additional journals have been made available in electronic format via the Internet. The combination of this capability with various resource sharing arrangements enables the Libraries to provide almost all of the research materials sought by faculty and students in this department.

Electronic Resources. The University Libraries purchase access to relevant online bibliographic indexes and databases of interest to the students and faculty of this department, such as International Index to Music Periodicals and International Index to Performing Arts. Both of these index/abstracting services include full text articles from selected journals. Access to additional electronic journals is purchased as well.

The Libraries also purchase electronic databases of musical performances, such as Classical Music Library, that are made available through the University Libraries' Web site.

Interactive Media Center. The Interactive Media Center is separately funded. Subject librarians' and faculty members' requests for non-interactive media are funded through ordinary program-based annual allocations.

Reference Materials.  Titles for the reference collection are purchased by the Reference Subject Librarian, who welcomes recommendations of the Music Subject Librarian.

Revised July 2009

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