The Sheet Music Collection at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Music Department includes over 350,000 individual songs and wordless piano solos. This collection includes single tunes published over the entire course of sheet music publishing in Philadelphia and the various colonies and nation-states that have occupied this continent in the years since Penn’s treaty with the Lenape. Periodically, we add new titles to this collection. This April we are adding 31 new songs. Have a listen to this playlist of new acquisitions:
To browse and sort through the sheets we’ve added to the collection between December 2002 and the present, we encourage musicians and students to browse through this inventory [Link is more fully featured than embedded list below]
A review of the past decade and a half of popular music publishing is fascinating. When scrolling through this list, what trends and patterns do you see?
It ought to be noted that musicians need not be the only users of this collection. Not only are “official” lyrics useful for textual analysis in English papers, but cover art on these sheets have always been an important part of scholarly analysis of our visual culture. Teachers are encouraged to speak with us in the Music Department about integrating these resources into student projects.