Monday, December 24, 2012

Art, Music and Recreation Center Books in Demand, late December 2012

Below is a list of the twenty books in the subject areas of the arts, music and recreation that currently have the most holds placed in our system. 

While you will not find any of these books on our shelves at this moment (they're all borrowed or on hold), the list provides a snapshot of what books are in demand in our City. 

Log into your library record to place any of these titles on hold for yourself.  Have them sent to your neighborhood branch.  We own multiple copies of most of these books, so your wait shouldn't be too long.

How Music Works by David Byrne (McSweeneys, 2012) - an alternative approach to music appreciation by this innovative rock musician

The Richard Burton Diaries (Yale University Press, 2012). - diaries of renowned cultured stage and film actor

I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons (Ecco, 2012). - long awaited biography of this beloved singer-songwriter

The Truth About Style by Stacy London (Viking Adult, 2012). - television fashion expert gives sartorial advice

The Longest Way Home: One Man's Quest for the Courage to Settle Down by Andrew McCarthy (Free Press, 2012). - actor's memoir combines travel and self-discovery

Who I Am: A Memoir by Pete Townshend (Harper, 2012). - British rock guitarist lays bare a troubled past

Waging Heavy Peace: A Hippie Dream by Neil Young (Blue Rider Press, 2012). - a rock memoir as a collection of fascinating, interrelated tangents

The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle (Bantam Books, 2012) - performance enhancing drugs used by Lance Armstrong and his teammates

Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars by Camille Paglia (Pantheon Books, 2012). - an eclectic cultural survey by this aesthetic provocateur

The Things That Matter by Nate Berkus; photography by Roger Davies (Spiegel & Grau, 2012). - ties interior lives with the interiors spaces they live in

The Year of the San Francisco Giants: Celebrating the 2012 World Series Champions (Fenn-M and S, 2012). - our champions!

Edible Selby by Todd Selby (Abrams, 2012). - a photographic tour of culinary innovators

The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs by Michael Feinstein with Ian Jackman (Simon and Schuster, 2012). - champion of the great American songbook relates his relationship to the music and lyrics of the Gershwins

Lee Miller: A Life by Carolyn Burke (Knopf, 2006). - biography of a fascinating and talented model, photographer and journalist

The Entertainer: Movies, Magic, and My Father's Twentieth Century by Margaret Talbot (Riverhead Books, 2012). - traces a history 20th Century entertainment through the life of her actor father

New York Drawings: A Decade of Covers, Comics, Illustrations, and Sketches from the Pages of The New Yorker and Beyond by Adrian Tomine (Drawn and Quarterly, 2012). - works by New Yorker cartoonist Tomine

Ann Getty: Interior Style by Diane Dorrans Saeks; photography by Lisa Romerein (Rizzoli International Publications, 2012). - interiors created by San Francisco designer Ann Getty.

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel by Lisa Immordino Vreeland with essays by Judith Clark, Judith Thurman, and Lally Weymouth (Abrams, 2011). - a chronicle of Vreeland's life and the fashion of her time

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk (Museum of Fine Arts [Montreal], 2011). - catalog from the recent DeYoung Museum show of this innovative designer's work

Quilting Modern: Techniques and Projects for Improvisational Quilts by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen (Interweave Press, 2012). - ideas and inspiration for non-traditional quilters

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Music Index Online

We subscribed to the Music Index from its first issue in 1949 through its final printed volumes in 2009.  The Music Index has simultaneously existed as a searchable database since the 1990s.  We are now happy to be able to offer the Music Index online to all San Francisco Public Library library card holders.

The Music Index online is a very comprehensive resource.  It thoroughly indexes nearly 500 music periodicals and partially indexes many more.  The magazines indexed here range from the popular to scholarly.

One important fact to note is that retrospective indexing of the earlier print volumes only goes back to the early 1970s.  For that reason it may still sometimes be necessary to return to the annual printed indexes.  The extent of the details indexed also varies over time.  The more recently indexed articles tend to have fuller description, and are thus more easily searched.

Since this database contains such a vast amount of information, it pays to use the Advanced Search feature.

Here one can limit the search to:

Authors (sometimes by full name, sometimes using only initials for surnames)
Full Text
Title of the article
Subject Terms used by the database (unfortunately these are not the same as those used in the print index)
Abstract Text - the text of an article summary, sometimes written by the authors (note that many indexed articles have no abstract)
Author-Supplied Keywords (names, terms and concepts highlighted by the authors)
Geographic Terms (this may be the country, state, province, or city)
People (the principals discussed in the article) 
Reviews and Products (to search for reviews of books, recordings, musical instruments, television programs, stage productions, etc.)
Company Entry (the manufacturer of a product, an organization or a company)
Publication Name (the name of journal)
ISSN - the International Standard Serial Number (may be useful if a journal has changed names over time)
ISBN - the International Standard Book Number (does not appear to be used in this database)
Accession Number - is the unique number the database assigns to each entry

The resulting information is broken down into a number of fields, many of corresponding to the search limiters. Any of the text in blue is a link that can be followed.  Thus, in the example below, we are one click away from a listing of articles in Fanfare magazine, articles written by Christopher Abbot, and articles discussing John Adams.

The note "This title is held locally" reflects that the Library subscribes to Fanfare.  The Music Index online, however, is still a little buggy.  The result notes that this article is available in full text in another one of our other databases - Academic Search Complete.  Unfortunately, while that database does index and provide full text for many reviews by Christopher Abbot in Fanfare magazine, it omits the above article.   Thankfully, if one follows the blue link for the product "San Francisco Symphony at 100" one sees abbreviated version of this entry that includes a link to a .pdf file of this review.

One important feature of this database is the ability to refine search results.  Methods of refining your results include limiting them to only those with full text articles.  While the number of full text articles in the Music Index online represents only a very small percentage, the total number of full text articles is actually substantial.  (It also pays to check our online catalog to see whether we have full text of an article in non-Ebsco databases, for instance JStor).

This option also provides the opportunity to limit the results to a given range of dates, to the type of publication, to subjects within the wider search, to a given journal, and by place. 

Another important feature of the Music Index is that it is possible to simultaneously search other Ebsco databases.  Following the "Choose Databases" link above the search window, one can include other related databases like the Film and Television Literature Index, the International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance, the Readers' Guide Retrospective, the Art Index Retrospective and the Art Full Text.

For instance, one might find results for a group like the San Francisco Mime Troupe listed in multiple databases.  A cross-database search produces 72 results, while a search of the Music Index alone results in only 6 articles.

Please feel free to call our reference desk if you need any help using this powerful research tool.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dave Brubeck (1920-2012)

Dave Brubeck on the cover of Time, November 1954 (source: Time

We were saddened today to learn of the death of famed composer, pianist and jazz musician Dave Brubeck.  He was an innovative and influential musician who had very strong connections to the San Francisco Bay Area.

He was born in Concord where he grew up on a 45,000 acre cattle ranch.  He attended college at the College of the Pacific in Stockton where he performed in jazz groups.  Later joined the army infantry and went to Europe as a part of Patton's Third Army.  There his musical talent was discovered and he formed a racially integrated band that entertained the troops, often not very far from the fighting. 

After the war, he returned to the Bay Area and performed in a jazz combos at venues like the Geary Cellar (beneath the Geary Theatre), the Bandbox in Palo Alto and Burma Lounge in Oakland.  He soon attended Mills College on the GI Bill where his composition teacher was Darius Milhaud.   Milhaud, an innovative French composer who had long incorporated jazz and ragtime in his own compositions, encouraged Brubeck and some of his classmates to form an jazz ensemble - an octet they called "the eight."  Milhaud encouraged them to perform at an assembly at Mills.  It was such a success that they were invited to many other campuses and achieved an early reputation among the college crowd.

From this time he became a famous exemplar of "West Coast Jazz," a genre thought to be more cool and cerebral than mainstream jazz. Nevertheless, Brubeck felt a deep connection to traditional jazz and its roots.  While his biographers emphasize his accomplishments in nightclubs and concert halls, Brubeck in a 1992 interview wanted to remind people that he had also played at so-called "bad joints," what he called "Dime-a-Dance halls in Oakland" and "strip joints in San Francisco." 

In this interview he went on to speak to his attraction to this music:
That's the great thing about the freedom of jazz.  It can come from a tune with no chord progressions here, or just from the piano and suddenly the vibrations are coming from maybe the piano, or the bass, or from the drums, or even a cymbal, and that'll make everybody click in.  You can't predict anything about jazz from night to night.
While he is best known for his combo work, Brubeck also used his training to compose works for classical music forces.  In response to a 1950 survey used by the Northern California Chapter of the Music Library Association for a never published biographical dictionary of composers, Brubeck wrote of his musical viewpoint:
Since I am first a jazz musician, it is especially challenging to me to attempt to capture the vitality, rhythic drive, and free spirit of an Afro-European improvised music, to write it down as sound composition without losing the spontaneity of improvisation.

The following is brief reading list, plus a listing of Brubeck scores in our collection.


Dave Brubeck, Improvisations and Compositions: The Idea of Cultural Exchange: With Discography by Ilse Storb and Klaus-G. Fischer; translated by Bert Thompson (P. Lang, c1994).

"Dave Brubeck, Short Talk taken and transcribed by Bill Leikam," Cadence vol. 18, no. 9 (September 1992), pp. 4-5.  From the Art, Music and Recreation Center Newspaper Clipping Files.

It's About Time: The Dave Brubeck Story by Fred M. Hall (University of Arkansas Press, 1996).

Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond by Doug Ramsey, with a foreword by Dave and Iola Brubeck (Parkside Publications, 2005).

West Coast Jazz: Modern Jazz in California, 1945-1960 by Ted Gioia (University of California Press, 1998).

Why Jazz Happened by Marc Myers (University of California Press, 2013).


Brubeck and More: 9 Jazz Standards for Rhythm Section: Piano, Bass and Drumset (Alfred Music Pub. Co., 2010). - includes a companion CD for play-along

Chromatic Fantasy Sonata: Inspired by J.S. Bach by Dave Brubeck (Derry Music, 1994).

Dave Brubeck at the Piano (Alfred Pub. Co., 2008). - transcription and arrangements for piano with fingering.

Dave Brubeck's Two-part Adventures: Original Two-part Arrangements (Warner Bros. Publications, 1999).

La Fiesta de la Posada: A Christmas Choral Pageant / music by Dave Brubeck; text by Iola Brubeck (Shawnee Press, 1976).

The Gates of Justice: A Cantata for Tenor and Baritone Soloists, Mixed Chorus, and Organ, or Brass and Percussion Ensemble with Optional Keyboard Improvisation / music by Dave Brubeck (St. Francis Music Co., 1970) - this work dating from 1969 features a text adapted from the Hebrew Bible, the Union Prayer Book of Reform Judaism and the speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the writings of Hillel, and was written to unite African Americans and Jewish people in the interest of Civil Rights

The Light in the Wilderness: An Oratorio for Mixed Chorus, Baritone Solo, and Organ (supplementary string bass and percussion, optional) or Symphony Orchestra with Optional Keyboard Improvisation / music by Dave Brubeck (St. Francis Music Co., 1968).

The Genius of Dave Brubeck: Piano Solos. Book 1; piano solos transcribed by Howard Brubeck (Alfred Pub. Co., 2008).

Glances: Suite for Solo Piano by Dave Brubeck (Warner Bros., 1995).

In Your Own Sweet Way: Play-A-Long Book and CD Set for All Instrumentalists by Dave Brubeck (Jamey Aebersold Jazz, 2003).

Jazz Impressions of New York by Dave Brubeck; arranged by Howard Brubeck for easy piano (E.B. Marks Music Corp., 1964).

Nocturnes: Piano Solos by Dave Brubeck (Warner Bros. Publications, 1997).

Points on Jazz: Jazz Ballet for Two Pianos / Four Hands by Dave Brubeck (CPP/Belwin, 1993).

Time Out / The Dave Brubeck Quartet; Piano Solos (Alfred Music Pub. Co., 2009)

Tritonis by Dave Brubeck (Warner Bros., 1995).