Duke Ellington Collection Music Manuscripts (Series 1), ca. 1930-1981
Ellington, Duke 1899-1974
Robison, Willard orchestra conductor
Musical History, Division of (NMAH, SI)
Whaley, Thomas L
Strayhorn, Billy (William Thomas) 1915-1967
Still, William Grant 1895-1978
Blake, Eubie 1883-1983
Williams, Mary Lou 1910-
Ellington, Mercer Kennedy (musician) 1919-1996
Duke Ellington Orchestra
Approx. 212 cu. ft.: 530+ boxes
Piano vocal scores
The music provides documentation that Ellington wrote his arrangements for his individual band members. Directions on the scores and most of the parts indicate the soloist's name or nickname rather than the instrument he played.
The largest series in the Duke Ellington Collection, this series includes: original manuscripts (parts and scores), copy scores, lead, lyric and copyright sheets, published music and arrangements of compositions by Ellington and his main collaborator, Billy Strayhorn; arrangements by Ellington, Strayhorn, Tom Whaley, and others for African-American spirituals and traditional songs from the 19th century, pre-World War II standards, Broadway tunes, film themes, and popular songs, 1950s-1970s; original manuscripts of compositions and arrangments created for Ellington and his orchestra by Mary Lou Williams, Don Redman, and others; original manuscripts by twentieth-century composers, such as Eubie Blake and William Grant Still, not created for or used by Ellington and his orchestra; early works by contemporary jazz artists Quincy Jones, Steve Lacy, etc.; and scores and parts for a 1982 posthumous Broadway musical tribute, "Sophisticated Ladies," based on Ellington/Strayhorn compositions.
Individual arrangements are not necessarily complete. Each title has been separated by arrangement and key when possible. Many titles require additional research to complete the arrangement or to document a specific performance or recording. Most scores and parts are hand-written by Ellington, Strayhorn, or Tom Whaley (Ellington's chief copyist, ca. 1942-1969); in many instances identifications are attached to the music or listed on the folder. Titles range from short songs to large-scale, multi-movement works. 67 extended works by Ellington and other collaborators--most notably Strayhorn--have been identified. 10 non-Ellington extended works identified. Also includes songbooks containing published sheet music of Ellington and Strayhorn compositions and oversize scores.
Duke Ellington Collection, 1920's-1975, Archives Center, National Museum of American History