Our streaming Music Online collections, powered by Alexander Street Press, have recently added tons of great new content. You'll find these collections listed on both our Digital Media and Database pages. If you're new to the service, we have six streaming music collections you can access with your library card number and PIN:
- American Song - Hear and feel the music of America's past. Includes songs by and about American Indians, miners, immigrants, slaves, children, pioneers, and cowboys, as well as the songs of Civil Rights, political campaigns, Prohibition, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, anti-war protests, and more.
- Classical Music Library - The world's largest multi-label database of classical music. Includes recordings from Hyperion, Bridge Records, Sanctuary Classics, Artemis-Vanguard, Hänssler Classic, Vox, and many more. Find music written from the earliest times (e.g. Gregorian Chant) to the present, including many contemporary composers. Repertoire ranges from vocal and choral music, to chamber, orchestral, solo instrumental, and opera.
- Contemporary World Music - Explore sounds from every continent: reggae, worldbeat, neo-traditional, world fusion, Balkanic jazz, African film, Bollywood, Arab swing and jazz, as well as traditional music - Indian classical, fado, flamenco, klezmer, zydeco, gospel, gagaku, and more.
- Jazz Music Library - The largest and most comprehensive collection of streaming jazz available online — with thousands of jazz artists, ensembles, albums, and genres.
- Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries - Produced in partnership with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, this is a virtual encyclopedia of the world's musical and aural traditions.
- Music Online - Search and browse across all of our Alexander Street Press collections from one simple interface.
There is far too much great music here to pick favorites; you really need to check it out for yourself. But here are a few personal highlights to get you started:
Ethiopiques Volume 4: Ethio Jazz & Musique Instrumentale 1969-1974 - This wonderful collection of instrumental Ethio Jazz was recorded in the Ethiopian cultural boom during the final years of the reign of the Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie. Partly familiar to western ears accustomed to jazz, yet alluringly exotic and distinctly African, many will recognize these songs from the 2005 Bill Murray, Jim Jarmusch film, Broken Flowers. Find it in the Contemporary World Music collection or make it a pair with The Rough Guide to World Music by Simon Broughton.
Now Here's Johnny Cash - Johnny Cash left Sun Records in 1958 to sign with Columbia, and three years later he was a bigger star than ever and well on his way to becoming a music legend. Sun, naturally, wanted to take advantage of Cash's growing popularity, and 1961's Now Here's Johnny Cash was his final Sun release. Browse the American Song collection to find many more great releases from Sun records by luminaries like Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Howlin' Wolf. Read more about Johnny Cash and Sun Records in these books by Michael Streissguth and Colin Escott.
The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death - Ask a guitarist about John Fahey and prepare to watch them slowly succumb to alternating paroxysms of frustration and joy. Frustration because John Fahey's just so impossibly good and joy because...well, because he's just so impossibly good. Of course, there is healthy debate over which record of Fahey's classic Takoma Records period is his best (1968's Voice of the Turtle gets my vote) but fear not, they're all here. Find John Fahey in the American Song collection. Want to feel that joy and frustration yourself? Check out Fingerstyle Guitar by Brian Gore.
Black Saint and the Sinner Lady - Alexander Street's Jazz Music Library could be the single strongest streaming collection we offer. It's so good, in fact, that I found it nearly impossible to pick a highlight. But by any standard Charles Mingus's 1963 Black Saint and the Sinner Lady is just that. You'll find more by Mingus, as well as the full host of jazz luminaries, not to mention another 10,756 albums and 133,668 tracks of jazz righteousness in our Jazz Music Library. For more on Mingus, take a look at Myself When I am Real: the life and music of Charles Mingus by Gene Santoro.
In C - Like picking a favorite from the Jazz Music Library, choosing a highlight from Alexander Street Press's Classical Music Library is a daunting task. Terry Riley's In C has been in my rotation lately, but if 20th century classical is not for you, you'll find music here from Beethoven to Britten as well as everything between and beyond. Not sure where to start? Another great feature of the Alexander Street products is their playlists. Playlists are assembled by ASP's editors and serve as a great way to introduce yourself to new music. Or, you can login to make your own playlists and share them with the rest of us. Make a reading connection with Terry Riley’s In C by Robert Carl.
Of course, these choices do not even begin to scratch the surface of all the great music the Free Library offers through Alexander Street Press. Please visit our Digital Media or Database page get started. Then, share your favorite discoveries with us in the comments below.