• AMC-DB: Previous abbreviation for the American Music Center Database. Now the New Music USA Online Library (NMUSA-DB).
  • B&H: Abbreviation for the Boosey and Hawkes, longtime publishers of many of Virgil Thomson’s works.
  • Cardell: Shorthand for the catalogue of Victor Cardell, a former student of Virgil Thomson’s who became his personal assistant in 1974 and was responsible for assembling his extensive archives of compositions, personal, and professional papers.
  • CC: Abbreviation for Virgil Thomson: Centennial Catalogue (G. Schirmer, 1996)
  • EAMDLLC: Abbreviation for European American Music Distributors Company.
  • Exquisite Corpse: A collective method of composing a written text, illustration, or musical work whereby each participant contributes in sequence either in accordance with a set of pre-determined rules, or by taking inspiration from a limited part of the previous contribution without ever seeing its entirety. The end collage is seen only after the final contribution has been added.
  • Gamelan: A traditional musical ensemble from Java and Bali including assorted percussion and wind instruments. Virgil Thomson’s encounters with gamelan music also took place to a large extent under the influence of California composer Lou Harrison, who after extensive training with gamelan masters invented his own “American gamelan” out of tuned percussion instruments with his partner, William Colvig.
  • Gending: A term used to describe the cyclical structures of rhythmic and metrical patterns, or colotomic structures, used in Javanese gamelan music.
  • Koto: A traditional Japanese stringed musical instrument with movable bridges, typically numbering thirteen or seventeen strings, and plucked with plectra.
  • Meckna: Shorthand for Michael Meckna, Virgil Thomson: A Bio-Bibliography (Greenwood Press, 1986). Michael Meckna is currently Professor of Music History at Texas Christian University.
  • MUSA: Abbreviation for Music of the United States of America.
  • NMUSA-DB: Abbreviation for the New Music USA Online Library.
  • Portrait, musical: Virgil Thomson’s term for the musical analogue to a visual portrait. Thomson completed almost two hundred portraits over a sixty year period, ranging widely in instrumentation and style. Many portraits were drawn “from life” with the sitter present (cf. Dora Maar, or the Presence of Pablo Picasso). More detail information on Virgil Thomson’s portraits can be found in Anthony Tommasini’s catalogue, Virgil Thomson’s Musical Portraits (Pendragon Press, 1986).
  • Olio: a miscellaneous collection.
  • Octavo: a small-format edition (7x10.75 in) used primarily in choral music.
  • Tommasini: Shorthand for Anthony Tommasini’s catalogue, Virgil Thomson’s Musical Portraits (Pendragon Press, 1986). Anthony Tommasini is now chief music critic for the New York Times.
  • Worldcat: A searchable database compiling the collections of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide.
  • VT: Abbreviation for Virgil Thomson.
  • Yale Finding Aid (or Finding Aid): The online guide to the Virgil Thomson Papers held at the archives of the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library in Yale University, deposited by Virgil Thomson and his estate in two stages: 1978-1984 (MSS 29) and 1990 (MSS 29A).

Notes:

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