Series 1: Music Manuscripts, ca. 1930-1981 (ca. 166.6 cu. ft; 472 Flt B, 19 F/O) is the largest series in the Collection and includes original manuscripts (parts and scores), copy scores, lead, lyric and copyright sheets, published music and arrangements of compositions by Duke Ellington and his main collaborator, Billy Strayhorn. This series also contains arrangements by Ellington, Strayhorn, Tom Whaley and others for songs encompassing African-American spirituals and traditional songs from the nineteenth century, pre-World War II standards, Broadway tunes, film themes and pop songs from the 1950's to 1970's. Original manuscripts of compositions and arrangements created for Duke Ellington And His Orchestra by Mary Lou Williams and Don Redman among others can be found in this series. Of particular interest are original manuscripts of twentieth-century notable composers including Eubie Blake and William Grant Still that were not created for or used by Duke Ellington And His Orchestra. Scattered throughout the Collection are early works by contemporary jazz artists including Quincy Jones and Steve Lacy. Scores and parts for a 1982 posthumous Broadway musical tribute, Sophisticated Ladies, based on Ellington/Strayhorn compositions is also included in this series.
The music manuscripts were the ephemera of Ellington and the band's life on the road and reflect their peripatetic existence. Frequently there are phone numbers, personal notes and shopping lists jotted on the original manuscripts. The music manuscripts were not deliberately collected for posterity but maintained by band members or assembled by a "band boy" for distribution to band members for performances. Individual arrangements are not necessarily complete. Each title has been separated by arrangement and key when possible but for most titles additional research is necessary to complete the arrangement or to document a specific performance or recording.
The manuscripts provide documentation that Ellington wrote his arrangements for his individual band members. Directions on the scores and most of the parts indicate the soloist's name or nickname rather than the instrument he played (for example; Johnny Hodges' parts are usually indicated by "Johnny" or "Rab" for his nickname "Rabbit" instead of Alto Saxophone).
The bulk of the scores and parts are hand-written by Ellington, Strayhorn or Tom Whaley (Ellington's chief copyist, ca. 1942-1969); in many instances identifications are attached to the music or listed on the folder. A reference notebook available to researchers identifies the handwriting of composers, arrangers and copyists found in the Collection.
The titles range from short songs to large-scale, multi-movement works and are arranged alphabetically. The title list is not a definitive research document. However, alternate titles provided by reference publications and research by Ellington scholars or Archives Center staff suggest a relationship between certain titles. Titles in italics indicate that there is additional music, in a separate location, which might be of interest to the researcher.
There are four reference abbreviations used in the title list: see, sa (see also), aka (also known as), and verso. Title fragments, abbreviations, working titles or nicknames which are written on the music are cross-referenced to the proper title. They are distinguished by the use of "see" followed by the proper title to indicate the location of the music (for example; Mon-Sat see Never On A Sunday). Some songs are known by more than one title and the different titles denote a change significant enough to warrant its listing under two separate titles (for example; Concerto For Cootie was an instrumental arrangement which became Do Nothing Til You Hear From Me when words were added). In this and similar cases, the music is located under both titles and the reference "sa" with the alternate title in italics designates an alternate location (for example; Do Nothing Til You Hear From Me sa Concerto For Cootie). Some identical songs were recorded and performed under two different titles. In this instance, the music will be found under one title with reference to the alternate title (for example; Altitude see Main Stem, Main Stem aka Altitude). Some titles have akas (also known as) and in this document "aka" is used to indicate that there is no music under the other known title (for example; Merry-Go-Round aka Ace Of Spades). Some music is located on the reverse side of a score or part with a different title. In this instance "verso" indicates that there is additional music with this title located elsewhere (for example; Eggo verso Kick).
Sixty-seven extended works by Ellington and other collaborators, composers, arrangers and lyricists---most notably Billy Strayhorn---have been identified and filed alphabetically. The extended works are distinguished in the finding aid by capital letters and bold text (for example; FAR EAST SUITE). The individual titles which are elements of an extended work have been relocated to their respective suites (for example: Agra see FAR EAST SUITE). Series 1 also contains ten non-Ellington extended works. These are distinguished by lower-case bold lettering (for example: Mikado Swing).
One box of songbooks containing published sheet music of Ellington and Strayhorn compositions is physically located at the end of Subseries 1A. Oversize scores are physically located at the end of this series but are listed alphabetically and indicated in the title list by the abbreviation OS (for example; I Fell And Broke My Heart sa OS).
The music manuscripts in Series 1 have been organized into eight subseries. Each subseries has its own container list but titles in Subseries 1B, 1C, and 1E are referenced in the Subseries 1A title list (for example: Caravan sa 1B). The bulk of the material is located in Subseries 1A: Music Manuscripts consisting of scores and parts composed and arranged by Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and others for performance by Duke Ellington And His Orchestra. Scattered throughout this series are arrangements by Tom Whaley for bands that performed during his tenure as musical director of various Harlem Theatres including the Apollo Theatre, ca. 1930-1942. Eubie Blake manuscripts of his original compositions contained in this series also were not created for performance by Duke Ellington And His Orchestra. Contained within this series are complete unpublished and unrecorded scores and parts by composers, most notably Mary Lou Williams, submitted to Ellington for possible performance or recording. Subseries 1B: Manuscript Sketchbooks consists of three cubic feet of bound manuscript notebooks including ones by Ellington, Strayhorn, Jimmy Hamilton and Tom Whaley. These "sketchbooks" are particularly valuable and fragile and may not be photocopied. The notebooks are available to researchers with special instructions for handling. Subseries 1C: Sidemen's Books consists of ten cubic feet of parts for individual soloists, including Lawrence Brown and Harry Carney, or for a specific instrument. Subseries 1D: Unidentified Music consists of five cubic feet of untitled and unidentified parts and scores including original Ellington and Strayhorn manuscripts. Subseries 1E: Willard Robison Arrangements consists of nine cubic feet of scores and parts that were arranged for Robison's Deep River Orchestra and in particular for the Deep River Hour, a weekly radio show broadcast from New York City that aired from 1929 to 1932. Most of these arrangements are original manuscripts of William Grant Still (1895-1978) who is considered one of the most significant African-American classical composers of the twentieth century. Subseries 1F: Published Sheet Music consists of nine cubic feet of published sheet music unrelated to the titles in Subseries 1A including one-half cubic feet of published songs in Spanish and Portuguese that were most likely presented to Ellington during his 1967 Latin-American tour.
The bulk of the material in Subseries 1B: Music Manuscript Sketchbooks consists of spiral-bound notebooks or "sketchbooks" containing original scores, incomplete scores, sketches and lyrics by Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Tom Whaley and Ellington band members Jimmy Hamilton and John Sanders. There is one notebook created by Ann Michlau. The material is very fragile and valuable.
Titles or title fragments are listed in the order they appear. In some notebooks, researchers' notes identifying the material is included and special care is necessary to maintain this order. Each folder contains one notebook or loose pages grouped for creation or copyright. The creator of each notebook is identified by name and underlined at the beginning of the folder; change of creator within each folder is also designated. Most of the folders contain untitled works.
Subseries 1C: Sidemen's Books consists of parts for Ellington Orchestra soloists including Johnny Hodges, Barney Bigard, Harry Carney and Lawrence Brown. In the early years, Duke Ellington's band members maintained their own "books" for performances; later the "books" were distributed by a band manager. A new band member inherited the "book" of the sideman he replaced therefore each "book" frequently contains parts originally written for a former band member (for example, Barney Bigard clarinet parts can be found in Jimmy Hamilton's "book"). The material is in fair to poor condition.
The folders are arranged alphabetically by band members' last name followed by folders with parts for specific instruments. The titles in each folder are filed alphabetically. To reduce handling of the material a title guide directs the researcher to a specific soloist. The title guide identifies the set number and copyist-when known-for researchers to determine if the material in this subseries corresponds with their search in Subseries 1A. The container list marks the location of the material.
Subseries 1D: Untitled Scores and Parts consists of untitled complete and incomplete scores and parts. The material is arranged by type of material (for example Duke Ellington scores, alto sax parts). There is no container list available for this subseries.
Subseries 1E: Scores and Parts for Willard Robison's Deep River Orchestra, ca. 1929-1931 consists of scores and parts arranged for Willard Robison's Deep River Orchestra. The bulk of these scores were created for Robison's radio show Deep River Hour. Many of the scores are the seminal arrangements of William Grant Still who was later crowned the "Dean Of Afro-American Classical Composers". The material is arranged alphabetically. Oversize scores are interfiled alphabetically but are physically located in Subseries 1A oversize boxes.
Subseries 1F: Arrangements for Della Reese consists of music parts arranged by instrument.
Subseries 1G: Non-Ellington Published Music consists of published sheet music never performed by Duke Ellington and his Orchestra. The individual titles are arranged alphabetically followed by published songbooks. This subseries contains foreign language material; of particular interest is the material in Spanish which was most likely presented to Duke Ellington on his 1967 Latin-American tour.
Subseries 1H: Ephemera contains Duke Ellington's discography, Mercer Ellington's discography, and assorted lyrics and set lists.
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