“Hidden Voices” in the American Music Research Center

One of the perks of working in a library is stumbling across intriguing new resources. The American Music Research Center (ARMC) at University of Colorado Boulder is one of these workday treats.

Two lines of a handwritten music score
Original music for “Many Thousand Gone,” by Undine Smith Moore. Photo from the American Music Research Center.

The ARMC is part of both CU’s College of Music and the University Libraries. It contains a collection of rare music including scores, papers, recordings, and other artifacts that tell the story of American music. You can explore their collections online.

The ARMC also supports research projects highlighting items from their collections. One that caught my attention is the Hidden Voices project, which “seeks to explore, document, and make public” piano music by Black women composers. The project website has two main sections: articles and videos. Undergraduate researchers have written many articles introducing the composers and diving deep into their work. The articles can be filtered based on the difficulty of the composition, so everyone from beginner to expert can practice using this music. The video section shows pianists performing the music highlighted in the collection, bringing hidden voices to the forefront.

If you’re interested in learning more about American music traditions, the State Publications Library holds copies of The American Music Research Center Journal, a periodical that was published annually by the ARMC between 1991-2019. You can also check out a previous blog post highlighting library resources that contain information about the musical traditions of Colorado.