The International Guitar Research Archive received a $30,000 grant from the Augustine Foundation this semester. The grant will allow IGRA to preserve the 291 boxes of music scores it currently has in storage.
The IGRA is the largest guitar research archive in the United States, said Ronald Purcell, a former music professor at CSUN and the creator of IGRA.
Parcell said he created IGRA after his professor and classic guitar player, Vahdah Olcott-Bickford, donated her entire collection to the Oviatt Library.
“She wanted all her music to be available to other guitarists and students,” Purcell said.
The grant in part will preserve not only Olcott-Bickford’s collection but also music from other artists such as guitar legend, Andr’eacute;s Segovia.
Magazines that contained music scores and music sheets themselves will be placed in plastic covers, said Bill Worrell, student supervisor for IGRA.
The music sheet paper is made out of sulfur and after 30 to 50 years, the paper starts to blacken, allowing the sulfur to burn the paper, Purcell said.
Ninety boxes filled with music sheets are being stored in a small room in the Oviatt Library on the second floor. The tips of the music sheets can be easily seen, as they pop out from the decaying boxes they are in.
The grant will allow for the purchase of new boxes that will be the right size to file all the folders of music sheets, said Tony Gardner, curator of special collections and archives.
Anything that is used to preserve items nowadays has to be reversible to conserve the actual form, Gardner said.
Some of the collections the IGRA have dates back to the 19th century. For example, a magazine containing music scores dates back to 1884, said Worrell.
Not only does the IGRA have music scores but they also have records that date back to the 1900s such as an Edison record by Fred Van Eps and a famous banjo player in the early 20th century, said Purcell.
IGRA contains an estimate of 2,000 to 3,000 records in its archives, Worrell said.
One of the more unusual collections in the IGRA classic guitar archives is the collection of Randy Rhoads, the rock guitar player for Ozzy Osbourne.
Delores Rhoads, mother of the guitar player, donated his music and records to IGRA after his death in a plane accident in 1982, Parcell said.
At this point, Rhoads is the only rock guitar player of which the IGRA has a collection, but any guitar related collections are welcome, said Worrel.
Currently, student employees Worrell, Justin Smolian and Gordon Turrisi, are cataloguing information into the website to make it more readily available to scholars and researchers.
Before the 1920s, cataloguing was easier since most were not copyrighted, but copyright laws have prevented from downloading works after that date on the website, said Smolian.
At this point, the Easely collection has been the only one in its entirety that has been downloaded online with 2,500 pieces, said Worrell. But about 10,000 more still need to be downloaded.
The collections not only serve CSUN students but also researchers around the world, said Purcell.
Students who have used the archives, have used them for their dissertations and projects, he said.
If students or researchers need to access the IGRA, they would have to go through special collections in the library to be able to look at the original copies, Gardner said. Otherwise, they are able to call or e-mail the IGRA office for copies of the archives, Purcell said.