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January 25, 2006
Issue No. 70

Table of Contents

The Database of Recorded American Music (DRAM)

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by Jerry McBride

The Database of Recorded American Music (DRAM) is a database of sound recordings that contains audio files of over 1200 CDs. DRAM includes 7500 compositions of classical music, folk music, opera, jazz, country music, early rhythm and blues, musical theater, experimental music, electronic music, early rock and Native American music from the United States.

Screen of DRAM home page

Recordings It Contains

This broad spectrum of American music is derived from recordings available on the New World Records label, and works of contemporary classical American music from labels such as CRI, Albany, innova, Cedille, XI, Pogus, Deep Listening and Mutable, have been added to make this an incomparable resource for music currently being composed in the United States. Music from the ONCE Festival from the 1960s and the complete recordings of Harry Partch's music are among recently featured recordings in the database.

Other Materials Included

In addition to the recordings themselves, the complete notes to the recordings are available and searchable in DRAM, including scholarly essays, bibliographies and discographies. This provides the listener with a kind of subject access to recordings that is usually not possible. For example, someone looking for campaign songs or whaling songs can search on these words in the quick search.

How to Search It

It is possible to search DRAM by keyword through the quick search or by specific criteria in the advanced search. This allows the listener to search for a combination of specific names of people and specific titles of albums and musical pieces, or for categories of people, such as composer, performer, performing groups, and speakers among others. There is also a browse search screen.

Access and More Information

Playlists can be created by faculty for use in class or for assignments, and access to the database is available to anyone with a SUNet ID from anywhere on the Stanford University campus. You can select the Database of Recorded American Music from the databases and articles list at:

http://www-sul.stanford.edu/catdb/alldata.html

You can also go directly to the database, at:

http://dram.nyu.edu/

Off-campus access will be available in the near future. The Database of Recorded American Music will be especially useful for study and research in music and American history, but a brief exploration will reveal many other possible uses.