British Library sound archive

The Guardian reports that the British Library revealed it has made its vast archive of world and traditional music available to everyone, free of charge, online.

That amounts to roughly 28,000 recordings and, although no one has yet sat down and formally timed it, about 2,000 hours of singing, speaking, yelling, chanting, blowing, banging, tinkling and many other verbs associated with what is a uniquely rich sound archive.

The recordings go back more than 100 years, with the earliest recordings being the wax cylinders on which British anthropologist Alfred Cort Haddon recorded Aboriginal singing on his trip to the Torres Strait islands off Australia in 1898.

What an extraordinary record and resource for current and future generations. Amazingly, much of the British archive was obtained by the library in 2000-01 in a lottery-funded project!!