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Music Division Archival Guide

Introduction to the Music Division

Éva Gauthier

The Music Division was established in 1970 to care for the music collections acquired by the National Library of Canada since its founding in 1953.  Its objective is to acquire and preserve documents pertaining to music in Canada while providing a specialized reference service. 

The Music Division comprises a Printed Collection (serials, monographs, sheet music, etc.), a Recorded Sound and Video Collection (commercial and non-commercial recordings), and a Manuscript Collection.  The printed materials and commercial recordings, not in themselves archival records, are acquired by the Division, since its primary objective is to build as complete as possible a collection of documents on Canadian music.  Many printed records, however, contain annotations which give them archival value.  The Manuscript Collection owes its creation principally to the purchase in 1969 of the musical and personal records of the celebrated Canadian composer Healey Willan. After 28 years of activity, the Division's vitality and sustained interest in Canada's musical heritage have made it possible to acquire 276 fonds and collections.  Anxious to cover many aspects of music in Canada, the Division is encouraging the acquisition of both individual and corporate fonds.  Some of its important fonds include those of Claude Champagne, Glenn Gould, Sir Ernest MacMillan, Oskar Morawetz, R. Murray Schafer, Oscar Peterson, Randy Bachman, André Prévost, Alfred LaLiberté, Jim Vallance, the Canadian Music Council and CAMMAC. 

Introduction to the publication

This Guide provides a general overview of the content of each fonds and collection.  In addition to facilitating research, it will serve to further disseminate information about the musical heritage of Canadians. 

The fonds and collections are arranged in alphabetical order and a descriptive record has been written for each one.  The Guide includes the name of the person or organization that created the fonds or collection, the title, file code, inclusive dates, type of record (textual records, audio discs, photographs, etc. ), the linear quantity of textual records and number of iconographic, audio, or audiovisual records, a biographical sketch or administrative history, a description of the fonds or collection, and a section for "notes."  The "notes" section identifies the immediate source of acquisition, the restrictions specific to each fonds, the availability of finding aids and the existence of any associated material. 

The finding aid also contains a name index.  The "biographical sketch", "administrative history" and "scope and content" sections have been indexed.  The index references will permit users to complement their research by accessing information on a specific person or organization throughout the Division's various fonds and collections. 

Finally, it should be mentioned that the following fonds were accompanied by artifacts:  Marcus Adeney, Randy Bachman, Ernesto Barbini, Albertine Caron-Legris, Claude Champagne, Pauline Donalda, S.-C.  Eckhardt-Gramatté, Glenn Gould, Alfred LaLiberté, Sir Ernest MacMillan, the Mathieu Family, Sir William McKie, Joan Peebles, Barbara Pentland, Oscar Peterson, Percival Price, Charles Reichling, Harold D.  Smith, Heinz Unger, Denny Vaughan, Louis Waizman, Arnold Walter, Alfred Whitehead and Healey Willan.  These artifacts are principally honorary medals; conductor's batons; moulds of bell inscriptions; academic hoods and gowns and other articles of clothing; and, trophies, gold and platinum discs and other awards.  Glenn Gould's piano and a synthesizer once belonging to Oscar Peterson are two of the most important items.  Following an agreement with the Canadian Museum of Civilization, these artifacts, with the exception of Glenn Gould's piano and stool, Alfred LaLiberté's and Healey Willan's busts, and a plaster trademark HMV Victor Dog ("Nipper"), have been deposited at the Museum and are accessible by appointment. 

This work adheres to the standards prescribed in the Rules for Archival Description prepared by the Bureau of Canadian Archivists. 



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