Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier: The Henry Reed Collection

Building the Digital Collection

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Digitizing the sound recordings

The sound recordings in Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier: The Henry Reed Collection were transferred from the original 7-inch, 7.5 ips (inches per second) analog tape reels to digital audio tape (DAT) to produce a master source for digitization. Transfers of AFS 13,034b29-36; 13,035a31-b14; and 13,037a1-27 and b1-3 were made by the American Folklife Center. AFS 13,033b, 13,703b, and 13,705a32-57 and b were transferred from a 1/4-track reel-to-reel machine to DAT by the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division Laboratory, using their customary and conservative practices of level, equalization, and noise reduction.

WaveForm (.wav), MPEG 2, Layer 3 (.mp3), and RealAudio (.ra) versions have been supplied for each recording. The Wave files were created from the DAT tape at a sampling rate of 44,100 Hz per second, 16-bit word length, and a single (mono) channel. The RealAudio files were derived from the Wave files through digital processing and were created for users who have at least a 14.4 modem (8-bit). The RealAudio - G2 files were created for users who have at least a 24 modem. The MP3 files were derived from the Wave files in a batch-conversion process using the MP3 plug-in of Sonic Foundry's SoundForge software.

Some surface noise may be apparent on the recordings, and tracks may start or end abruptly, as on the original recordings. Minimal adjustments to volume were made to certain tracks, and, on the advice of the consultant-collector, some snippets of conversation and fragments of music have been deleted.


Digitizing the photographic prints

JJT Inc., of Austin, Texas, the Library's pictorial image contractor, produced the digital images in this collection. The company's scanning setup brings together a digital camera manufactured in Germany with JJT's custom software.

An uncompressed archival or master file was produced for each photograph, as well as three derivative files. The level of resolution employed for the Library's archival pictorial-image files is now ranging from 3000x2000 pixels to 5000x4000 pixels, depending on the types of original materials.

A thumbnail GIF image is displayed for each pictorial image, and a medium resolution JPEG file (at a quality setting that yields an average compression of 15:1) can be displayed by clicking on the image.


Digitizing the manuscripts

Manuscript materials were scanned on site on an AGFA Horizon Ultra flatbed scanner, using FotoLook 32 and Adobe Photoshop software. The images are grayscale, 300 ppi (pixels per inch).

Typescript materials were converted to machine-readable form at an accuracy rate of 99.95 percent and encoded with Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) according to the American Memory Document Type Definition (DTD). This DTD is a markup scheme that conforms to the guidelines of the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), the work of a consortium of scholarly institutions. The texts of the transcripts have been translated to HTML for indexing and viewing on the World Wide Web.


Cataloging the collection

The data records for the audio files and manuscript items contain uncontrolled vocabulary. The process of cataloging these materials is described below.

The title used for each audio track generally is that listed in the collector's fieldnotes. In many cases, Henry Reed did not give a tune's title, so the fieldnotes contain many "Untitled" entries. In order to aid searches, these entries have been assigned, in brackets, a commonly-used title, if identifiable, or a combination of the tune's genre with its key. In addition, spelling irregularities have been corrected or standardized, and tune transcription titles have been correlated with their related audio tracks. Any change from the title as it appears in the fieldnotes or on the tune transcription is documented beneath the title.
This field contains performers' names (last name first) and instruments.
This field provides supplementary information about the item.
Musical Featuers
This field documents the tune's key, meter, strains, rendition, phrase structure, and compass, along with comments about the stylistic features of the performance. See the Glossary for explanations of these musical terms.
Alternate Title(s)
This field contains other titles for this tune, including titles for similar tunes from the same tune family (e.g. "Rose Tree," with its offshoots "Turkey in the Straw" and "Natchez") or conflated by Henry Reed. Due to the fluid nature of tunes and their titles in oral tradition, this can only be seen as a partial list, but it is provided to help users find particular tunes by titles that may be in wider use.
Related Audio
This field identifies related audio items, such as another recording of the same tune, or a similar tune, and provides a link to these items.
This field identifies related tune transcriptions, and provides a link to these items.
This field contains the names of the composers and dates of a tune's composition, if known. Most of the tunes in Henry Reed's repertory have no known author. Their earliest print publication, if known, is documented in the Notes field.
The "genre" terms used in this field consist of an uncontrolled indexing vocabulary devised while processing the collection, based on Alan Jabbour's knowledge of American fiddle tune styles, as well as existing local subject heading terms used in the American Folklife Center. Multiple genre terms were used to create as broad a subject search as possible. For example, breakdowns (as they are called in the Upper South) have also been cataloged as reels (as they are known elsewhere). See the Glossary for explanations of these musical terms.
A transcription of the spoken exchanges on each audio track.
This field identifies the interviewer(s)/recordist(s) of the sound recordings, last name first. Alan Jabbour was the primary collector for all of these materials, but his wife, Karen Jabbour, joined him on two occasions.
This field contains the date on which the tune was recorded or the manuscript item composed. Dates appear in the format YYYY/MM/DD.
For this collection, the same location appears on every bibliographic record: all recordings were made in the Reed family home, Glen Lyn, Virginia (Giles County).
The original format of the Library item, e.g. "sound recording" or "manuscript." For manuscript items, the number of pages is also provided.
Call Number
The AFS number is an alphanumeric code assigned to an individual sound recording in the Archive of Folk Culture, which is used by staff to locate the item at the Library of Congress. This numbering system was put into use in the 1930s, and continued until the formation of the American Folklife Center in 1976. Because this number identifies individual recording tracks, it has also been used as the digital identifier for the online items. It follows the call number for the Library Work Order (LWO) that duplicated Alan Jabbour's collections for Library acquisition. Example: LWO 5379 reel 3B, AFS 13705B:32
Digital ID
This field provides information on the source and location of the digital file for an item. It includes the collection-level digital identifier (the aggregate) and the filename of the particular digital item. In the case of audio items, the digital ID is the corresponding AFS number. Example: afcreed 13705b32
This field identifies the author of a particular manuscript item or the transcriber of the tune in musical notation.
This field includes a transcription of the handwritten notes appearing on the tune transcription pages. A transcription of the handwritten fieldnotes may be viewed in HTML or SGML by following the link "Click here to see the full text of this item" on the bibliographic record.