Friday, May 30, 2008

Where Can One Find Sheet Music of R. Nathaniel Dett?

[The Collected Piano Works of R. Nathaniel Dett; Summy-Birchard (1973)]

Today received an E-mail inquiry from a visitor in Canada which may be of interest to a number of our readers: “Would you be able to inform where I could purchase the piano scores of Nathaniel Dett?” We replied: “I am delighted to learn of your interest in this composer's sheet music! Sheet music retailers for the piano works of R. Nathaniel Dett include websites such as

The Collected Piano Works of R. Nathaniel Dett is a 203-page paperback book of sheet music with foreword by Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma, Professor of Music, Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin. The book was published in 1973 by Summy-Birchard. The website offers a new copy with "slight shelf wear" for US$19.76. I have the book and I strongly recommend it. Only a few copies are left on the market. Please tell your acquaintances of the website” We should point out that used copies are also available on the Internet.

R. Nathaniel Dett (1882-1943) was an African American composer and pianist whose tenure as Choral Director at Hampton Institute was legendary. He was born in Drummondville, now part of Niagara Falls, Ontario. He died in Battle Creek, Michigan while touring with a Women's Army Corps chorus as a member of the U.S.O. One of his most popular piano works is In the Bottoms, which includes the lively Juba Dance, his best-selling recording. Five brief audio samples of the work can be heard at the R. Nathaniel Dett page of

1 comment:

Richard Greene said...

In addition to the information provided, we should not forget to consider the many fine music libraries and librarians throughout Canada and the U.S. Some may have actual copies of the sheet music.

Also, do not forget The Center for Black Music Research as an information resource.