American Memory:   Technical summary

Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, 1870-1885

Future American Memory Collection

Collection Overview

Tens of thousands of songs and instrumental pieces registered for copyright in the post-Civil War era. The importance of music in every-day American life is evidenced by the rapid growth of America's music publishing industry during the Post Civil War era. An in-depth presentation of the development of popular music in America, this collection contains a diversity of items by American and European composers including songs, marches, dances, and operatic arias. Most of the works are reduced for the piano or piano and voice. Many have their original lithographic covers depicting important artists, political figures, events, and scenery and scenes of life in America during the 19th century. The types of songs in this collection range from patriotic to sentimental. Few foreign composers are represented in this collection.
Source collection
Copyright registrations in the collections of the Music Division
Technical features
Sheet music with notation; opportunity to read and "perform" musical selections. Most pages 11x14 inches in size. Reproduced as page-images, captured from microfilm. Access provided by composer and title but the database does not include subject terms for the music or cover illustrations; opportunity for automated subject analysis of song lyrics and pictorial elements.
Original material formats
Number of original items
Total ca. 45,000 items (1870-1885)
First batch available early 1998: ca. 9,500 items (1870-1874)
Status of collection
Not available online as of December 1997. Release of first batch expected in early 1998. The most similar materials currently online are the playscripts (English and Yiddish) in the American Variety Stage collection.
Public access:
The Library of Congress is not aware of any U.S. copyright or any other restrictions on the materials in this collection. See notes on rights and restrictions provided by the Library to users of similar collection.

Aids to intellectual access

Type & granularity
Non-MARC bibliographic records with fields for composer, title, and publication information. Each bib. record describes a single item.
Linking to digital reproductions
Bibliographic record contains identifiers used in "directory name" for each metaobject representing a document. Numbering system in place to support page-turning.

Digital reproductions

Total file-space for digital reproductions: 6 Gbytes (for first batch)

Printed Matter (documents) Archival (printing-quality) images Service (page-turning) page-images
Marker File extension ".tif" or ".jpg" File extension ".gif"
Formats TIFF (ITU Group IV compression)
JPEG for pictorial covers
Tonal resolution TIFF: 1 bit
JPEG: 8 bits
4 bit
Spatial resolution
TIFF: 300 or 400 dpi
JPEG: 200 dpi
500 pixels wide
Quantity (approx) 64,000 TIFF
3,500 JPEG
File size 70-300 Kbytes 10-40 Kbytes
Sample Sample cover page
Sample notation page
Sample cover page
Sample notation page

Note: All quantities refer to the first batch of sheet music being digitized. Later batches might also be made available.

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