The Library has a small but significant collection of Indigenous music. This includes music both written by Indigenous people and interpreted by Europeans from interactions with Indigenous people.
Significant items in the collection by Indigenous artists include:
My Thoughts and I'm Happy To-day by Tom Foster
Foster was an Indigenous Australian composer and vocalist active during 1930s and 1940s.
Song book to learn the Arrernte language (Alice Springs) and culture with lyrics in Arrente and English.
Aboriginal hymn with words in Nungkubuyu language (Northern Territory) and English translation.
Pecan summer by Deborah Cheetham
Opera by Indigenous Australian composer and soprano.
Indigenous music interpreted by Europeans:
The earliest indigenous music held at the Library. Transcribed and interpreted from an original Aboriginal Australian melody by Isaac Nathan (1790-1864) who was an Australian Jewish musician.
Loose transcriptions of songs recorded by Norman Tindale in 1932 on wax cylinders. They were sung by Milerum (Clarence Long) of the Ngarrindjeri people, Coorong, South Australia.
Searching for Indigenous music
Type your keywords into the basic search text box, select Title from the “All Fields” dropdown menu and select Music from the “Add Limits” dropdown menu.
For example: results for Aboriginal Australian.
Indigenous music recordings
The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) has a large collection of sound recordings which cover languages, ceremonies, music and oral histories. Around 45% of the collection are musicology recordings.