Theatre Library Association 2013 Book Award Winners

On September 13, 2014, the Theatre Library Association (TLA) published their TLA Book Award winners and finalists list. We’re happy to say that the UArts Libraries have most of them, and what we don’t have will be ordered soon. The winners are:


Wonder of Wonders: A Cultural History of Fiddler on the Roof / by Alisa Solomon. Music Library ML 410 .B666 S6 2013



From the Score to the Stage: An Illustrated History of Continental Opera Production and Staging / by Evan Baker. Music Library REF ML 1720 .B254 2013



Fosse / by Sam Wasson. Greenfield Library 793.30924 F794w




Carmen: A Gypsy Geography / by Ninotchka Devorah Bennahum. ebook.




Stagestruck: The Business of Theater in Eighteenth-Century France and Its Colonies / by Lauren R. Clay. ebook.




Hollywood and Hitler / by Thomas Doherty. ebook.





Jim Henson: The Biography / by Brian Jay Jones. Greenfield Library 791.43024 H398j

To see the TLA’s complete list of book award winners visit

More Than a Score

Modern Notation for Modern Music

When thinking of a music score, most would likely envision a similar image: five lines on a paper with some circles on it.  This common sight is what is most often used in western music notation and has become the standard for formatting music scores throughout the world.  This allows the average performer to interpret the notes on the page without any discrepancy of notes or rhythm.

However, what if standard music notation is not enough express the meaning behind a piece of music?  Is there any way for the composer to express nuances of emotion without depending on the musician’s performance?  Few have responded to this question, but some have largely impacted the development of 20th-century music with the evolution of music notation.

Music has been written down on paper or stone for millennia, but the notation that we know today dates back about 1000 years to Guido d’Arezzo, a 10th-century musician known for contributing to the notation of Gregorian chant music.  Not much has developed in music notation since then, but some have artistically expanded on the ideas of Guido d’Arezzo. The best-known contributor of incorporating visual art into notated music is Baude Cordier, an avant-garde composer of the 14th-century period known as Ars Subtilior, or “subtle art”.  His chanson Belle, Bonne, Sage displays anything but subtle art, however, with his use of a heart-shaped music score.  This modern take on music notation essentially stayed buried in history until it was rediscovered by 20th-century classical composers.  Similar to the neoclassicism of composers like Stravinsky and Shostakovich, drawing from composers like Mozart and Haydn, modernists like George Crumb and Iannis Xenakis drew from the Ars Subtilior period.  George Crumb’s pieces directly associate to the methods of Cordier, using shapes like spirals, circles, and crucifixes to help display the meaning behind his music.  Other musicians draw from other artistic influences to notate their music.  Stockhausen, for example, draws from minimalism and uses a combination of characters without a staff to notate.  Iannis Xenakis, an experienced architect, based portions of his pieces on the mathematical functions he used to build structures.

Time has proved that the development of music is limitless.  Modern musicians have shown that we are merely breaking the surface in some aspects, including the visual art of scoring music.  Some of the most popular composers of the 20th century have contributed different takes on this development, but only time will tell if someone else will take these ideas even further.

For more information on this topic, see the Oxford Music Online essay on notation. Oxford Music Online can be accessed through under Online Resources> Reference Sources.

To find library materials on this subject, you can search the library catalog by subject for Musical Notation.

by Nick Lombardelli, UArts Class of 2015



Library Staff Recommendation: The Great War

The Great War

by Joe Sacco

940.4272 Sa14g

Joe Sacco’s book The Great War is something that really needs to be seen and touched in person. At first unremarkable, once the reader opens it, The Great War it is revealed to be a 24-foot long accordion-folded panorama depicting the first day of the Battle of the Somme, one of the largest and bloodiest battles of World War I. On that day the British army suffered 57,470 casualties, the largest number for a single day in their entire history before or since.

Joe Sacco is best known in his capacity as a comics journalist, writing and drawing accounts of his time visiting and interviewing people in war-torn countries. His book Palestine takes place in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1991/1992 and Safe Area Goražde showcases Bosniaks living in Eastern Bosnia between 1994 and 1995 during the Bosnian War. In the booklet of essays and annotations that accompanies The Great War Sacco writes of his reasons for choosing the Battle of the Somme as his subject.

“My first thought was, ‘I don’t want to draw another war scene.’ I’d spent a couple of decades reporting from places like Palestine and Bosnia, and I’d had enough of drawing war and its consequences. My second thought was, Why not? The First World War still clouds my vision of humanity; drawing the war might give me some months to reflect on its meaning, if any.”


Sacco also makes references to various inspirations, including the cartoonist Jacques Tardi’s book It Was the War of the Trenches, Matteo Pericoli’s panorama of New York City (also accordion-style) Manhattan Unfurled, and what Sacco refers to as his “touchstone”, the Bayeux Tapestry.


“In the interest of making the drawing compact, I referenced medieval art in other, stylistic ways, namely by dispensing with realistic perspective and proportion. Thus a few inches in the drawing might represent a hundred yards or a mile of reality.”

The booklet that accompanies the great war also contains an essay from Adam Hochschild’s book To End All Wars: A Study of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918. This essay makes the events of the Battle of the Somme even more real as it tells the story of that first day through historical accounts and soldiers’ own words. Also included is “The Great War Annotated,” an annotated reproduction of the panorama, with descriptions and clarifications by Sacco of various scenes throughout the illustration.

The book itself is breathtaking in terms of both scope and detail. Sacco spent months researching every small fact about the Battle of the Somme from people involved down to the uniforms that the British were wearing. The amount of people, animals, equipment, and trenches is not underrepresented, with so much information crowded in that it can, at times, be overwhelming.

The Great War is an experience to be spread out over as much floor space as available. It’s pretty impossible to open the whole thing at once- the book stretches almost halfway across the library. It should be stepped back from and admired as a whole but also painstakingly searched for tiny details that Joe Sacco included. It’s an incredibly impressive book about a very dark day in history.

Bill Rooney

Evening Circulation Assistant

International Encyclopedia of Dance


Are you interested in any or all aspects of dance? International Encyclopedia of Dance is a great starting point. In its print form it’s a 6-volume encyclopedia published in 1998 that was the first true encyclopedia of dance published (and received multiple awards, by the way). The online version, published by Oxford University Press, can of course be updated, and can be accessed anywhere by current UArts students. Articles can be emailed to any email address, and most entries have a selected bibliography of books, articles, and sometimes videos. Look up tutu, footwear, scenic design, lighting, Merce Cunningham, or Bakst!

To get to it, go to Under ONLINE RESOURCES select Reference Sources and then scroll down to International Encyclopedia of Dance.

Welcome to new library staff!

Julia, Lessa, and Mike

We welcome all new staff to the Music Library this fall! Julia Mullen will be with us part-time in Music, working on the weekends and some other hours. Julia went to Philadelphia’s High School for Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA), has a master’s in English, and previously worked at the Eugene Ormandy Music and Media Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Michael Romano joins the Greenfield Library AND the Music Library, since he’ll be working in both. Fortunately for us, he is both an artist (painting, pen and ink) and a musician (hammered dulcimer). Michael has a BA in history with a minor in fine arts from Rutgers University and worked in the Rutgers University Libraries prior to joining us. He is excited to join the UArts community of artists.
Lessa Keller-Kenton joins the Music Library as Circulation Assistant. Lessa (pronounced Lisa) has a BA in religious studies and will be starting her master’s in information science at Drexel in January 2015. Besides working in libraries and museums, Lessa has earned a graduate certificate and is a musician who plays the hammered dulcimer. That’s right: we now have two staff members who play the dulcimer.
Phoebe Kowalewski is switching over from the Music Library to the Greenfield Library, where she’ll serve as the Cataloger and Archival Processor Librarian.