Music Resources - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Music Resources

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As part of our mission to document the Jewish experience, the HUC-JIR library system has an extensive collection of recorded music (lp's, cassettes, and CD's), scores, and books about Jewish music and musicians.

Each campus has its own policy on checking out the different formats of music.

Finding music in the Catalog

You can search for music by form (ex. Songs, Choral music, etc.), function (ex. Sabbath songs and music, etc.), genre (ex. Jazz, Popular music), or instruments (ex. Piano music, etc.)
You can also look for the music of a particular group of people followed by "music" (ex. Sephardim -- music), or by topic followed by "songs and music" (ex. Freedom -- songs and music)

Use the filters to limit your search to books, recorded music or scores.

Finding music on the shelf

Scores are usually shelved in the "M" section, although many are stored in Special Collections areas. Ask your local librarian if you are having problems finding a score.

Books about music are shelved in the "ML" section.

Books on music instruction are shelved in the "MT" section (for books on how to chant the Bible, see MT 860)

Recommended websites


An Invitation to Piyut

This site contains words, recordings, and scores of piyutim (Jewish religious poetry) from many different regions and traditions. 

Bella and Harry Wexner Libraries of Sound and Song

"The National Sound Archives, part of the Music Department, has the world's largest collection of ethnographic and commercial recordings of Israeli and Jewish music. "

Eduard Birnbaum Music Collection

Birnbaum dedicated himself to collecting materials related to all areas of Jewish music, ultimately achieving international recognition as the leading expert in the field of synagogue music. Among the materials he collected (which are now exceedingly rare and of greatest historic importance) are complete, handwritten vocal scores dating from 1825 through the 1860s of liturgies for the entire Jewish calendar arranged by community. The Birnbaum Collection contains the world's only copies of scores created before 1840.

Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation

This site strives to rediscover lost Jewish classic on LP's "The stories that accompany them have yet to be told: hybrid identities, eclectic communities, racial dialogue, and pioneering musical style." The Society hosts a blog and wiki. 

Recorded Sound Archives

"The Recorded Sound Archives (RSA) part of FAU Libraries Digital Collections is located in the Wimberly Library on FAU's Boca Raton campus. Originally established in 2002 as a small project dedicated to the preservation of recorded Jewish music, it has matured into a robust digitization operation for all types of sound recordings."

Ruth Rubin Legacy, Archive of Yiddish Folksongs

"The Ruth Rubin Legacy highlights the renowned vocalist and scholar's collection of over 1,500 Yiddish lider (songs) performed by some of the most extraordinary traditional singers of the 20th century, including Rubin herself. ...Ruth Rubin's entire life's work can be found on this site: field recordings, lectures, concerts, radio interviews, videos, manuscripts and published materials."

Yiddish Sheet Music Collection

Part of the Brown University Library Center for Digital Intiatives, this collection contains digital images of approximately 700 pieces of pre-1923 Yiddish sheet music. While most of the collection is from Yiddish musical theater, it also contains cantorial works and folk music.