La Commedia è finita - can the music go on?
September 22, 2015 12:10 PM   Subscribe

So, dealing with the many ins and outs of caring for an ailing grandfather who's on his way out, I've come across one problem that the green might have an answer to. Said grandfather has been an audiophile all of his life and his front room is full of records and cds of opera, symphonies, concertos, cantatas, greatest hits of individual singers, etc. Is there anything we can do now so that his beloved music collection can go somewhere other than the trash when he dies?

Some of his children, especially my mother, may take a few things for sentimental value, but they're much more likely to take books than music. I've thought about donating to the local classic music station in Austin, or maybe calling up the university where he worked for 40+ years and seeing if they're interested, but I figure just dumping a bunch of unorganized music on anyone is not much better than throwing them in the trash. Half Price books might also take some things:: I know vinyl's back in fashion these days, but the kiddos are looking for 60s bossa nova hits and folk songs, not Hadyn and Schubert, right?

Asking now because I am in the home with him and have a lot of free time on my hands. I figure the radio station or university would be more likely to take any or part of the collection if they could flip through a catalog and see if there's anything they'd like. I have the time and patience to do it if it's worthwhile, but won't waste my time if it's not. I know book collectors have barcode scanners that make pricing and cataloging easier - is there something similar for music?

My question then is:
1. Brainstorm with me new homes for this music!
2. If cataloging would be helpful, what approach would be the fastest and easiest?

(I realize grief might be making this seem like a much bigger deal than it should be, so if just letting go and dumping them all at goodwill is the thing to do, feel free to let me know that too.)
posted by theweasel to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I might be interested in taking some off your hands. If you don't get any better suggestions, let me know and we can discuss.
posted by kevinbelt at 12:13 PM on September 22, 2015

There are indeed scanner apps for CDs and record collections!

My Discogs for Android seems well-reviewed, as does Discollector for iPhone. Looks like there are a lot of options that could help get you on your way.

Libraries often have music listening or lending programs that may be interested. I imagine the University library might appreciate a donation.
posted by erst at 12:21 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

There's also the Mefi Mall during the holidays...
posted by ApathyGirl at 12:28 PM on September 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Before you give it away could you inventory it for future generations? I wish I had inventoried my husband's music collection before I gave it away when I moved years after he died. My kids didn't want the records then but if they had a list they could just buy a CD of anything they are interested in. When they are 50 and they wonder what did dad listen to when he was young? Personally, I would keep that list in his genealogy information at someplace like (Where everyone who wants to can see it.)

This would be a really good Blurb book he could help you create in the next few months - with notes on why he liked a certain piece of music - if he every heard it performed IRL...
posted by cda at 1:28 PM on September 22, 2015 [6 favorites]

Typically an estate sale is the solution to this. You can always start now, and anything that doesn't go can be sent to Goodwill.
posted by Slinga at 1:39 PM on September 22, 2015

Once upon a time and long ago, I was the music librarian at a fairly large community college. The music department received a donation of somewhere in the neighborhood of 9k-10k vinyl records. No catalog. At all. Guess who spent weeks cataloging, organizing, and storing them? It was actually a fun project, and I got some great experience with MS Office. Just something to consider. If you go the university donation route, you could be giving a work-study student something to do in their 19.5 hours per week.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 9:16 PM on September 22, 2015

I think all your ideas sound good. Go for it.

I figure just dumping a bunch of unorganized music on anyone is not much better ... not Hadyn and Schubert, right?

Please, let them decide. Don't decide for them in advance.

Opera companies, orchestras and choral societies often have annual flea markets for fund-raising. I bet a lot of your records will be snapped up at such an event.
posted by JimN2TAW at 8:51 AM on September 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

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