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Loeb Music Library

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Replicas of a minstrel banjo (foreground, photo 1) and a banza, an African stringed precursor to the banjo, are on view at the Loeb Music Library exhibition. An 1853 map (detail, photo 2) was borrowed from Harvard's Map Collection for the show. Students used the map to help illustrate minstrelsy's wide reach. Samuel Parler (photo 3), a Ph.D. candidate in music, and the chair of Harvard's Music Department Carol Oja conceived of the minstrelsy seminar and resulting exhibition.

Unmasking minstrelsy

Exhibition unearths fresh insights by shining light on song style with deeply racist roots

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Joint exhibitions at Houghton Library and Loeb Music Library mark the 300th anniversary of composer C.P.E. Bach’s birth. In addition to his musical scores (photo 1, of "Heilig"), a wealth of material is now available,  including several songs published by Bach in the annual Musenalmanach, a pocket-sized book containing mostly poetry but some music on folding plates (photo 2) and "Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen" (“An Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard Instruments”) from 1797 (photo 3). The treatise introduced techniques, like using one’s thumbs, still in use today.

Bach to Bach

Joint library exhibit showcases trove of work by composer C.P.E., son of Johann

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