Center for Popular Music

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Address and Contact Info

Address: P.O. Box 41, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 37037

Telephone & fax: Tel: 615-898-2449 Fax: 615-898-5829


Principal contacts for the collection: Lucinda Poole Cockrell,

Hours and Usage Restrictions

Reading Room hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Business hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Center is open to all researchers. Because the materials in the Center are reference works or special collection materials that are rare or fragile, certain rules are required. Patrons must sign a register upon each visit. Backpacks, purses, coats and other items must be left at the front desk. Center materials may not be checked out, but must be used in the reading room.

Online Catalogs and Finding Aids

Search the Center for Popular Music's Archives database for online Finding Aids:

The Kenneth S. Goldstein Collection of American Song Broadsides has been digitized and may be searched at

Collection Summary

The Center’s extensive Special Collections are cataloged and may be searched from the website. These include older sheet music, scores, song books and hymnals from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries; a collection of performance documents including posters, playbills and programs; historic photographs; and music industry trade catalogs. Research in vernacular religious music is supported through a collection of southern gospel songbooks, 19th century oblong songbooks, New England hymnody, shape note music, Sunday school songs, Negro spirituals, African-American gospel and denominational hymnals. Manuscript collections of personal papers and other unique materials are available with staff assistance.

In addition, the Center holds 170,000 sound recordings in all formats. The collection covers all aspects of American vernacular music, both secular and sacred, from early 78 rpm recordings to current compact discs. A small percentage of the collection is cataloged, but most items must be located by referring to discographies. Staff assistance is provided.

Usage Discussion

Suggestions for approaching the material:

Housing and getting by for less in the area:

Fellowships and Funding Opportunities

Major Topic Areas

The Center's collection documents the diversity of American music and our national vernacular culture. From the 18th to early 20th century music was disseminated largely in printed form: sheet music, songsters, broadsides, instrumental instruction books and song anthologies. After 1920 recorded sound gained dominance. The Center's collection reflects this change in the commodification of music.

The Center recognizes the interplay between musical styles in American culture by providing study-level collections in all genres. Rather than duplicating the collection depth in specialized archives, the Center strives to support local research needs in all genres while providing research-level collections in specific areas: rock & roll and its roots, the various forms of vernacular religious music, and music of Tennessee and the Southeast.

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