About Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries

A virtual encyclopedia of the world’s musical and aural traditions including spoken word, and natural and human-made sounds.

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Key features

Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries, produced in partnership with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings contains more than than 40,000 individual tracks containing the sound of:

  • animals;
  • beer-drinking at an African homestead;
  • calypso;
  • classical violin instruction;
  • performances of drama and poetry;
  • the deep ocean, the office, and the ionosphere;
  • a frog being eaten by a snake;
  • traditional music from around the world.

More information

This resource includes the published recordings owned by the non profit Smithsonian Folkways Recordings label and the archival audio collections of the legendary Folkways Records, Dyer-Bennet, Fast Folk, Paredon and others. It also includes music recorded around the African continent as well as material from South Asian and Oceania.

Specially developed, controlled vocabularies enable users to browse by musical instrument, geographic area, cultural group, genre and language. The search can be as simple such as showing every song by Lead Belly or more complex. For example, you can search for all examples of Appalachian folk music featuring the washboard as an instrument! Once you identify the tracks you want you can stream your selection or add it to a playlist. Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries is part of Music Online: Listening Plus

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