Welcome! The Center holds over one million items related to American vernacular music traditions,
encompassing the full range of styles in popular music, folk and traditional music,
sacred music, and community band music. The materials are wide-ranging and include,
in part, early American sheet music, songsters, and broadsides; sound recordings in
all formats; published scholarly books and periodicals; unique archival collections;
multi-media digital collections; and databases that offer the latest marketing statistics.
The Center also strives to stimulate learning and the exchange of ideas through grant-supported
projects, conferences, classes, guest lectures, concerts, the Spring Fed record label, interviews,
discussion blogs, social media engagement, digitization activities, and staff research
projects. You can explore many of our digital collections, activities, and holdings
on this website. Free and open to everyone, the Center has a staff eager to help
you better understand our country's vast musical heritage.
Charles Hughes at the Center for Popular Music
CPM Items on Display
The Center currently has several different exhibits and displays located on campus
for your viewing pleasure. Each display features items from our collection in many
different formats so that you can get an idea of the variety and scope of items found
within the stacks.
In the CPM reading room, we have an exhibit curated by Katie Rainge-Briggs. "Communities through time and place tellin' their stories" captures local music that was made by ordinary people expressing their life experiences.
Thus, these diverse music communities gifted a larger audience with an extraordinary
sonic experience through a process of commercialization.
Also in the reading room, we have two exhibits curated by graduate assistant, Sam
"High Water Everywhere: Floods and Hurricanes in Popular Song" uses materials from the Center for Popular Music's archives to showcase records,
reproductions of advertisements, lyric sheets and CDs relating to songs about the
human aftermath of hurricanes and floods in American history. Songs reacting to these
events from over 100 years of American popular music are featured, from the Johnstown
Flood of 1889 to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
"'They Paved Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot': Environmentalism and Popular Music" tracks music made out of concern for America's natural environment from the 1830s
through the 1980s. Using examples of sheet music, poet Carl Sandburg's popular "American
Songbag," and several records from CPM's archives, songs representing a variety of
contexts are represented, including deforestation in the 19th century, mass farming
issues of the early 20th century, and the modern environmental movement that coalesced
in the 1960s.
Over in the James E. Walker Library, items from our collection are on exhibit along with items from the collection of
the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. The display cases housing archival items from the Center for Popular Music were
curated by our assistant archivist, Olivia Beaudry. This joint exhibit can be seen
through the end of the Fall semester on the first floor. Read more about the exhibit
Not pictured here, staff from the Center for Popular Music have gotten into the Homecoming
spirit and created a fun 90's themed display in our front windows. MTSU's 2017 Homecoming
theme is "Fresh Raiders of the 'Boro", and as such, several 90's throwback music items
can be seen until after MTSU's Homecoming Game on Saturday, October 7th. Stop by and
take a picture!
The MTSU Center for Popular Music announces the completion of the Marvin Hedrick Audio Collection website, a digitization and cataloging project funded by the GRAMMY Foundation (now part of the GRAMMY Museum). The collection includes historically significant recordings of bluegrass and country
music made by influential documentarian Marvin Hedrick in Brown County, Indiana between
1954 and 1973. The Hedrick Collection was donated to the Center for Popular Music
by Marvin’s sons, Gary Hedrick and David Hedrick in 2015.
Each item in the collection was evaluated, preserved, and digitized in the Center’s
state-of-the-art audio preservation lab, then catalogued with essential data such
as song titles, performers, and dates, using CONTENTdm archival management software.
A Finding Aid was also created, giving an overview of the collection and its contents.
The Marvin Hedrick Audio Collection is searchable through its dedicated website. One audio sample from each tape is provided
as streaming audio for educational purposes. The entirety of the collection’s digitized
contents is available to researchers on-site at the Center for Popular Music.
Center for Popular Music Annual Report
The CPM's 2015-2016 Annual Report is now available for your reading pleasure! This
report includes information about past events, note-worthy acquisitions, collections
statistics, and staff news. You can download it (or any of our previous annual reports)
by following the link here. You can also access them by clicking About CPM in the left side-bar and choosing Annual Reports.
$19K Grammy grant will help MTSU digitize new bluegrass collection
April 7, 2016 by
MTSU’s Center for Popular Music is the recipient of another national grant from the
Grammy Foundation, this time to digitize an extensive, “historically and culturally
significant” live bluegrass audio collection from Indiana music lover Marvin Hedrick.
This rare 45 rpm single by “The Weedpatch Boys,” released in 1963, is part of a large
“historically and culturally significant” bluegrass audio collection recently donated
to MTSU’s Center for Popular Music by the family of Indiana music lover Marvin Hedrick.
Hedrick was a member of the band, as were his two sons. The center received a $19,537
grant from the Grammy Foundation April 6 to preserve and digitize the collection.
The $19,537 grant will make the center an even greater research resource for MTSU
students and faculty as well as scholars from across the world, director Greg Reish
“Mr. Hedrick was, among other things, a fixture at the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival,”
Reish explained. “He lived in Brown County, where the festival’s held, and befriended
Bill Monroe and all the other pioneers of bluegrass. He also was very helpful to younger
folklorists who took a serious interest in bluegrass.” Continue reading
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