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Periodical Profile:  Music Magazines

Did you know that we have six magazines devoted to music in our periodical area?  If you love music, we probably have something to suit your taste.  In no particular order, they are:  Fanfare, Opera News, Down Beat, Rolling Stone, Sheet Music and Guitar World.  As you can see from the titles, the magazines cover a range of musical genres.

For classical music lovers, we have Fanfare and Opera NewsFanfare, “the magazine for serious record collectors,” is a small, chunky magazine that features about 250 reviews of classical music CDs, written and laid out in an informal style.  It also includes interviews with musicians and reviews of books and videos. Opera News, published by the Metropolitan Opera Guild since 1936, is a glossy publication chock full of news and information about the Met Opera Company and opera around the world.  It includes plot synopses, schedules, reviews of operas, videos and books, and much more.

For jazz and blues lovers, Down Beat is a “respected and stylish” magazine in publication since 1934 that features 15-20 pages of reviews and also includes news and interviews with musicians.  Down Beat is “thoughtful, well written and beautifully laid out,” according to a professional reviewer of periodicals, also quoted above.

For pop and rock lovers, we have a magazine that really needs no introduction, Rolling Stone; but I just have to share this terrific summary from a magazine reviewer. Rolling Stone is “an iconic publication founded in an era when music, pop culture and politics were virtually inseparable, to this day Rolling Stone continues to be a promotional force of nature in the American musical and cultural landscape.  Feature articles of serious musical and political writing preserve the publication’s legendary fame for rock journalism and cultural critique, despite some noted digressions in the publication’s recent decades.” “A force of nature?” … I can’t say it any better than that!

For musicians and vocalists, we have a couple of very different options, Sheet Music and Guitar World. Sheet Music, as you may guess, is devoted to sheet music for piano and guitar, with most songs accompanied by a brief back-story about its origins and noteworthy performers.  The magazine features popular songs, including pop hits, jazz and classics from the Great American Songbook.  Guitar World, on the the other hand, has about 30 pages of sheet music for guitars and the rest of the 150 page magazine is typical of magazine fare with three lengthy “cover stories” about famous guitarists and bands, several shorter articles, interviews with guitarists and reviews of guitars and equipment.  Don’t expect to find acoustic or classical guitar addressed here as the emphasis is on rock and metal.

A few related notes:  The library keeps one year of back issues for each of these magazines, with the exception of Rolling Stone, which we keep for the past six months, and they are stored behind the shelf.  You may have up to six magazines checked out on your card at one time.  If you are looking for sheet music, in addition to the magazines we have a handy music index in the reference room and a large number of books that can be checked out.  Just let a reference librarian know what you need. 

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