Mary K. Oyer African Music Archive
The Mary K. Oyer African Music Archive is a collection of 150 tape recordings that Goshen College Professor Emerita of Music Mary K. Oyer collected in 22 countries in Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. These field recordings are being digitized and catalogued to be used as research tools in the future.
Topics included in these recordings:
- African instruments
- African vocal technique
- Lessons on various African instruments
- Music in African churches & service structure
- African sociological and cultural traditions
Lisa Horst, Student Researcher
Debra Brubaker, Goshen College, Professor of Music & Faculty Advisor
During the summer of 2006, a Goshen College student, Solomon Fenton-Miller began the process of digitizing and cataloguing Dr. Mary K. Oyer’s field recordings. This project was a part of the Goshen College summer research program, Maple Scholars. Solomon began the digitization process for the 150 tapes that Dr. Oyer recorded in Africa in the 1970′s and 80′s and created a database to catalogue these recordings. He completed the digitization and cataloguing process for 30 tapes during the summer or 2006.
In 2009, another Goshen College student, Rehanna Kheshgi, continued working with the project and created an excel spread sheet for students to be able to more easily access these recordings on the Goshen College campus.
During the summer of 2012, Goshen College student Lisa Horst began working on this project. Along with continuing Solomon and Rehanna’s work, Lisa has added another component to this large archival project: recording an oral history of Mary K. Oyer’s comments about the recordings. These include stories about what was occurring at the time of the recording, instrument descriptions, and Mary K. Oyer’s observations about culture, the church, ethnomusicology and traveling abroad.
Each tape, of the collection of 150, is transferred to a digital file using an audiobox. Each digital file is then separated into individual tracks in order to facilitate easier access to individual music examples. Each track is entered into a database that lists specifics about each track, including but not limited to information about: recording date, country and distinct characteristics about instruments, voices and dialogue. Each session of recorded commentary by Mary K. Oyer is also edited and catalogued with the corresponding field recording track.
We are working on finishing the digitization and editing process for the 150 tapes that Mary K. Oyer recorded. After the digitization process is complete, we will begin entering the information for the remaining tapes into the database.
For more information, please contact faculty advisor Dr. Debra Brubaker.