In the field of Hebrew song, prominent items in the Sound Archives include recordings made by Israel Radio since its establishment. The department’s archives include approximately 10,000 records of Hebrew songs made for the purpose of broadcasting – particularly from the 1950s – which were donated to the Library in the 1970s. The work of digitalizing these recordings in order to ensure their preservation began two years ago and will be completed in another two years. After completion of this work, it will be possible to listen to all the excerpts of melodies and songs at the Bella and Harry Wexner Libraries of Sound and Song and on the Library’s website. Several years ago, an additional collection of approximately 10,000 tapes of Hebrew songs recorded by Israel Radio in the 1960s and 1970s was presented to the department. This material has already been copied onto some 280 CDs, which are stored in the collection and may be listened to in the Library and on the website.
Most of the recordings and research material held in the department concentrate on Hebrew music from before and after the establishment of the State of Israel. However, mention should also be made of recordings documenting the musical traditions of other ethnic communities. These include the archive of Edith Gerson-Kiwi, a researcher active in the early twentieth century who investigated all types of local music in the Land of Israel, including Bedouin music. A further example is the archive of Robert Lachman.
These archives are of documentary and historical importance and are used by librarians, researchers and performers who seek information from the department. Examples of the information available include the comprehensive index of Hebrew songs prepared by the researcher Meir Noy, and the index of Hebrew songs prepared by Daria Yisraeli, which was created from the department’s computerized database and complements Noy’s index.