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Louisiana Music History: Materials in Special Collections

Introduction

While music and musical expression has changed over time, it has been an important part of Louisiana culture since its very first inhabitants. Due to these rich musical ties, Louisiana has been home to many great venues and individual musicians and performers over the years. This guide will offer information about the related materials in LSU Libraries Special Collections and how to best utilize the library's resources on music.  

For general information about LSU Libraries Special Collections, please see the LibGuide listed below.

Context Note

This guide includes information, key terms, and subject headings that reflect Louisiana's tumultuous history and its influence on the performing arts. The interweaving of cultures led to the development of new forms of music and dance that also highlighted the ongoing racial, sexual, and ideological tensions found throughout the region. Music and the performing arts were often at the forefront of public expression as an integral way for people to connect with and entertain one another. Yet, some forms of entertainment, such as minstrel shows that developed during the mid- and late-19th century and would go on to influence 20th century entertainment such as Vaudeville, radio, television, and motion pictures, featured racial stereotypes that are considered pejorative today. Please keep these contexts in mind while reviewing the guide.

Using Key Terms

Each page of this guide will contain a brief listing of recommended key terms for browsing the library's online catalog. To use these in a search, follow one of the three steps below.

  1. Begin a new catalog search and type the terms into the "Find these words" field.
  2. If using the advanced search, these terms will be placed next to a drop down option listing "All Fields".
  3. If beginning a new search from within an earlier search results, type the key terms into the search bar at the top of the page with "All Fields" selected. 

Using Subject Headings

Each page of this guide will hold a brief listing of recommended key subject headings for browsing the library's online catalog. To use these in a search, follow one of the three steps below.

  1. Begin a new catalog search and type the terms into the "Find these words" field and select "Subject" in the Field drop down menu.
  2. If using the advanced search, these terms will be entered next to a drop down option listing "All Fields". Change the drop down menu to "Subject".
  3. If beginning a new search from within an earlier search results, type the key terms into the search bar at the top of the page with "Subject" selected from the drop down menu. 

These subject terms will not be an exhaustive list but will represent most common options for each topic. The subject terms are organized to be as specific as possible relating to each topic. Adjustments to specificity can be done so by adjusting or dropping the final phrase. For example, "Jazz" may be adjusted to "Jazz -- Louisiana." to see the entire state or "Jazz -- Louisiana -- New Orleans." to see materials only relating to that region. 

A full listing of top level subject terms is available through the Library of Congress:

Using Key Collections

On each tab you will also find a listing of key collections related to that topic and organized by material type. The listings will not provide comprehensive listings as we are always seeking to expand our collections. If you have materials you wish to donate to LSU Special Collections please see the information listed below:

Additional Resources

In addition to the resources specifically listed on each page, you may wish to review our manuscript subject guides and online finding aids. Each of these will have their own separate search functions to look for key terms within their descriptions. Over 200 manuscript resources are listed under the performing arts manuscript subject guide.

For available online resources you may choose to browse the Louisiana Digital Library. A link to the LDL and subject guides are listed below. Please note that these collections may not all be part of LSU Special Collections and may require contacting other institutions for further information.

LSU Libraries has a dedicated Music Resources department that can provide additional information and unique holdings. For contact information, please follow the link below.

Additional information about Louisiana music may be located at other nearby institutions. Please see the following pages for contact information for these sites.

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