Education
Inside TCE
The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada

The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada

I did not meet Pat until she began coming regularly to the Music Division at the then National Library of Canada (now Library and Archives Canada) in the late 1970s. After the first edition of the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada (EMC) had been put to bed, work on the second edition began almost immediately and Pat’s efficiency and enthusiasm, not to mention her “eagle eye” for typos or inconsistencies, were great assets to the existing team.

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History
Inside TCE

The book cover of the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada

I met Helmut many years ago when I was a novice encyclopedist and he was already busy at work on the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. I remember clearly sitting in his office in the National Archives soaking up his sage advice about how to go about making an encyclopedia (not all of it repeatable!). I really had no-one else to talk to and learned so much from the way he described his editorial process, his relations with his fellow editors, and the very high standards that he set for EMC. I went back several times to visit and each time he was as generous to me as the last. I felt therefore that he was a big part of The Canadian Encyclopedia and that his spirit was helping to sustain us through a difficult challenge. In addition, of course on the subject of music, Helmut helped shape our encyclopedia and he made major contributions to it as both a consultant and a writer.

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Inside TCE
Music

The Encyclopedia of Music in CanadaAs a librarian, I can attest that reference publications like The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada (EMC) are, if anything, all that much more important in the online era. The “born digital” generation, which has little experience with the traditional library, seems disinclined to spend time exploring print collections. But there is strong interest in the digital versions of such publications, which supply authoritative surveys of subjects as well as departure points for further investigation.

EMC has been provided with open access on the Web by the Historica Foundation (now Historica-Dominion Institute) since 2003, when it was incorporated into The Canadian Encyclopedia (TCE). The not-for-profit institute celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of the first edition of EMC as it maintains and builds on that original work.

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Français
Inside TCE
Music
Encyclopedia of Music in Canada
Encyclopedia of Music in Canada

L’Encyclopédie de la musique au Canada , 1982.

Quand Helmut Kallmann fit paraître A History of Music in Canada 1534-1914 en 1960, aucun ouvrage aussi complet ni aussi minutieusement documenté n’avait jamais été publié sur ce sujet, que ce soit en anglais ou en français. Quand je lui demandai ce qu’il comptait faire pour se surpasser, Helmut Kallmann me répondit que ses réflexions avaient abouti à deux possibilités : soit un dictionnaire qui respecterait l’ordre alphabétique et qui porterait sur la musique et la vie musicale au Canada, soit un ouvrage d’érudition, en plusieurs volumes fort probablement, qui préserverait la musique publiée la plus marquante dans l’histoire du Canada. Cette prédiction ne faisait que jeter un aperçu sur le travail qu’il allait consacrer à ce qui serait bientôt : L’Encyclopédie de la musique au Canada.

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Inside TCE
Music
Encyclopedia of Music in Canada 30
Encyclopedia of Music in Canada

The cover of the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada, first edition, third printing, 1982.

[Editor's Note: the following is an abridged excerpt from Unheard Of: Memoirs of a Canadian Composer by John Beckwith. (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2012.)]

When Helmut Kallmann’s A History of Music in Canada 1534-1914 appeared in 1960, nothing half as thorough or as finely documented had ever been produced, either in English or in French, on this topic. When I asked what he planned to do for an encore, he thought his findings suggested two directions – an alphabetically organized dictionary about music and musical life in Canada, or a scholarly edition, probably in several volumes, preserving the most significant published music of the country’s past. This prediction amounted to an outline of his work on the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada.

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Music
Glenn Gould

Glenn Gould
A handsome young man walks on stage and takes a furtive glance at his audience. He settles awkwardly into a rickety, cut-down chair, hunches over and reaches for the piano keyboard. With the first note he is transformed, now more angel than gargoyle. He sways rhythmically, humming, closing his eyes in ecstasy, a free hand molding a musical sculpture in the air. Chords and arpeggios fly effortlessly from his fingers, notes ripple like pearls and inner voices are revealed.

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Music
Gordon Lightfoot Autograph
Gordon Lightfoot Autograph

The autographed record from my meeting with Gordon Lightfoot.

I interviewed Canadian music legend Gordon Lightfoot over the phone for 20 minutes in April 2010. Jealous? You should be! It was as unforgettable encounter.

The Set-Up I had the chance to see Gordon Lightfoot in concert at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, April 2010. As a grad student at the University of Toronto, I had written a paper on his “Canadian Railroad Trilogy.” My fiancé Brandon and I were granted backstage access after the show and by chance stood beside Lightfoot’s cousin. As we struck up a conversation, I told her about my paper.

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Music
Sarah Harmer

[Editor's note: To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada, we've asked our EMC staff to tell us about their favourite Canadian musician.]

One of my favourite Canadian artists is Sarah Harmer. As a subject editor for the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada, I was asked to write an article about Harmer in summer 2010. To get myself started, I visited her playlist on CBC Radio 3’s website. I was immediately drawn to her playful songwriting, expansive vocal range and memorable lyrics.

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Inside TCE
Music
Encyclopedia of Music in Canada
Encyclopedia of Music in Canada

The Second Edition of the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of The Encyclopedia of Music in Canada, we present a collection of quotes on EMC from around the country.

John Beckwith in Music papers: articles and talks by a Canadian composer, 1961-94 (Ottawa: The Golden Dog, 1997):

“Concerning the EMC, a kind of legend evolved which credited my 1969 article [“About Canadian music: the PR failure,” Musicanada vol 21, Jul-Aug 1969] with instigating the whole project. In suggesting Canadian scholars and writers on music should undertake their own new-music P.R., I in fact never envisioned anything so thorough as EMC, which of course covers many more kinds of Canadian music than just the newly-composed kind. While I am happy if the philanthropist of EMC, Floyd S. Chalmers, was stimulated by reading my piece, I am quite certain that EMC was a glint in Helmut Kallmann’s eye before it was anything else.”

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Inside TCE
Music
Canadian Music

[Editor's note: To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada, we've asked our EMC staff to tell us about their favourite Canadian musician.]

I usually balk at choosing one favourite – musical or otherwise, however, on the 30th anniversary celebration of the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada, I am happy to provide a few suggestions that might pique your interest.

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