10 Sep 2013

Emily Dickinson's Music Book Digitised

Emily Dickinson's music book has been digitised by Harvard and can be accessed - here

The full brilliant post by the Houghton Library Blog on the history of music books and this one in particular can be found - here

"Music books or “binders’ volumes” were extremely popular during the years 1830-1870. These personal collections of bound published sheet-music titles were assembled by young women primarily during their adolescent years, when musical training and accomplishment was sought after as a reflection of cultural refinement and gentility.

The average binder’s volume contains 35 to 45 pieces of music. At just over 100 pieces, Emily Dickinson’s music book is uncommonly large. The book’s content tells us a great deal about her musical interests. Most binders from the period contain a majority of vocal music and only some instrumental numbers. In contrast, eighty percent of the Dickinson book is devoted to instrumental music, indicating Emily’s keen engagement in the piano repertoire of her day.

While the music book contains a majority of popular waltzes, marches, quicksteps, theme and variations, and instrumental operatic arrangements, many of considerable difficulty, there are also notable groupings of traditional Irish and Scottish dance tunes and ballads, political songs, and in particular, minstrel music which are rare in binders’ volumes."

Emily Dickinson's Electronic archive can be found - here

A call for papers for on Emily Dickinson’s Reading Culture - here

Poetry Foundation's page on Emily Dickinson - here

“Hope” is the thing with feathers - (314)

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

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