Music in Imperial Travelogues




Assistant Professor of Music

Project Summary

The project I worked on was called “Music in Imperial Travelogues.” I worked with professor Glenda Goodman to find examples of notated music in 18th century travel journals from around the world. The research process involved identifying probable sources through Raymond Howgego’s Encyclopedia of Exploration to 1800. Then, I would search the titles in Penn’s Franklin online library catalog and add various pieces of information, such as the author, region of exploration, and publishing information, to an Excel spreadsheet. Finally, I would look through the books to see if they contained music. If they did, I would read the surrounding paragraphs to obtain context and form an idea of why the explorer chose to include it in their journal. Most sources were available for viewing at Van Pelt’s Rare Books Library or in the stacks or online through Hathi Trust and Eighteenth Century Online Collections. If I could locate neither physical nor online copies through Franklin, I’d search for them in a catalog called Worldcat to see if a copy was available at a nearby library.

Participating in this project introduced me to many great resources at Penn. Previously, I had limited experience with Franklin and had never checked out a book at any of Penn’s Libraries. Now, I’m not only familiar with these resources but comfortable with using them. I know the proper procedures to request and view books from all of Penn’s libraries and can navigate the Van Pelt Library stacks with ease. Additionally, I’m much more proficient at using online catalogs like Franklin and Worldcat to find the exact book I’m looking for. I’ve learned how to pick out useful sources and avoid ones that are unlikely to help me based on their Franklin descriptions alone. In the past, I would avoid checking out books for research papers because I thought the process would be too much of a hassle. Now that I know how simple it is, I’m confident that I’ll be using these resources to help me with various assignments, especially research papers, in future classes.