DRAM Online (available through the library’s collection of databases) is an often overlooked resource for music. But if you’re interested in American composers, whether it be classical, jazz, or avant-garde, then you’ll want to spend some time at this database.
Originally created “to produce a 100-disc anthology of American music encompassing the broadest possible spectrum of musical genres in honor of the bicentennial” DRAM has continued to grow its selection and now holds 3,062 albums from 25 recording labels and two archives in CD-quality audio (192kbps Mp4).
For me this resource was great for learning more about American experimental composer Harry Partch. Partch was one of the first twentieth-century composers to work with microtonal scales and he also built custom-made instruments for his compositions. If Partch is too out there for you, you might want to check out their collection of Jazz greats like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Steve Lacy.
“DRAM is a not-for-profit organization committed to contributing to the scholarly community by preserving, restoring and presenting important musical recordings and their accompanying materials, such as essays, liner notes and cover art, in a trusted, authoritative and affordable digital environment. Our principal goals are to preserve and disseminate musical recordings largely ignored by the commercial marketplace based upon their aesthetic and historical value. We strive to meet the needs of musicians, scholars and educators through ongoing dialogue and collaboration with likeminded individuals and organizations towards maximizing DRAM’s value to musical and scholarly communities.”
Here’s part one of a 1968 San Diego KPBS-TV documentary titled The Music of Harry Partch —