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Naxos Music Library

Posted by iusbvision on January 26, 2007

One of the hidden gems of the IUSB Schurz Library is its subscription to the Naxos Music Library, an online collection of thousands of recordings. While based mostly in classical music, the collection also includes five other genres of music, including pop/rock. It is accessible to all IUSB students and faculty for research, or simply as an introduction to lesser known genres of music.

“The new service will assist music students and professors who wish to listen to music from home, taking advantage of the ‘Play List’ service,” said Schurz Library administrator Julie Elliot on the IUSB Library blog in 2002, when the Library first signed on to service. “Naxos can be accessed on and off-campus.”

Access to the Naxos Music Library can be made through the IUSB Website, by first clicking the Library link, then Reference and Research, and finally Music, where the Naxos link is available by scrolling down that page. Users will have to enable pop-ups, then click on the tracks they choose to listen to, and press play. Those looking for something in particular can use the search engine embedded in the site, while newcomers can browse through the various categories of music in the sidebar, or click on sections like Repertoire Highlights and New Releases.

The Naxos Music Library is particularly useful for music students in doing research for academic assignments, or for performance ideas, as well as for faculty in providing audio examples during lectures. It can also be useful for students in other areas, such as those studying the linguistic meter in lyrics, or the effects of rock music in popular culture, or even to those studying Chinese language and culture with a dedicated Chinese music section. Julie Elliot added another such example: “The ‘moods’ option in the Advanced Search section of Naxos will be helpful for theater students looking for a pieces to convey the moods they are presenting.”

Back when IUSB first subscribed, the Naxos Music Library had a collection of some 75,000 recordings. Today, according to Naxos, the total is around 170,000 tracks on 11,500 CDs. In 2006, there was an average of 39 new releases per month.

IUSB currently has a subscription that allows for sound at “Near-CD” quality also includes associated labels like White Cloud and BIS. These recordings are run by an embedded Windows Media Player and are not available for download.

Genres other than classical music include jazz contemporary, world/folk, pop/rock and adult contemporary music. Hold on a second… adult contemporary? Before you ask (and I know I did), it doesn’t mean that particular sub-genre with “explicit lyrics” labels. Quite the opposite actually, this category includes modern ambient music like pan-pipes and Gaelic-inspired music.

The Naxos Music Library is not without its share of complications. On occasion the page will fail to upload, sometimes requiring all browsers to be closed and the whole process restarted. Sometimes the page will load, but the automatic signing-in via the library website does not occur. Enabling pop-ups can become a complicated process especially for those using the Advanced Search option, or those who have a Google toolbar on their computers. Also, due to “the uncertain legal situation regarding pre-1972 sound recordings”, some of the older selections are unavailable.

Nevertheless, the Naxos Music Library’s benefits go beyond its limitations, and it serves as a helpful academic resource, as well as to those who want to take their time checking out particular recordings before going off to the store. While educational institutions receive special rates, the regular user would have to pay $150 a year for the same service.

For further information or assistance, the IUSB community can musically contact the Schurz Library, or leave questions at the Vision’s Weblog.

Andrew Filmer

One Response to “Naxos Music Library”

  1. Update on this article based on reader feedback: the Naxos Music Library more recently updated their playlist section, adding a note that professors have access to the playlist function, which seem to be intended for classes. Students do not have the option of playlists.

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