Music Collection

The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, a department of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS), recognizes the indispensable role that music has played in Arkansas's history and culture. In 2012, we began celebrating this musical heritage with the annual Arkansas Sounds music festival. Now the project of preserving Arkansas's unique musical legacy continues with the ongoing development of the Arkansas Sounds Music Collection.

This collection includes albums, singles, unpublished studio recordings, radio broadcasts, and live recordings of professional and non-professional musicians and singers who have important ties to Arkansas history and culture. The collection is searchable from anywhere on the web. However, the music files may be played only using the wireless network at the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies or the CALS Main Library, both located in downtown Little Rock (no passwords or library cards are needed).

The Butler Center also has a vast collection of music-related letters and other documents, including an extraordinary set of sheet music donated by Ron Robinson. Processed collections of Arkansas music documents can be used in the research room of the Arkansas Studies Institute building on the CALS Main Library campus in Little Rock's River Market District. The contents of the collection can be searched at www.arstudies.org.

Database Collections

Published Audio Music Recordings

The Butler Center is collecting an eclectic mix of recordings, created here and by Arkansans, in all genres, from country and folk to blues, jazz, and rock. These recordings may be requested in the Arkansas Studies Institute Research Room with prior notice to facilitate listening.
View collection »

Sheet Music

Published and unpublished sheet music on paper is preserved and accessible in these Butler Center manuscript collections.
View collection »

Arkansas Music Manuscript Collections

These archival collections include meeting minutes, correspondences, performance materials, scrapbooks, and other records covering much of the history of organizations related to Arkansas music.
View collection »

Arkansas Music Oral History

These recordings preserve stories and interviews with Arkansans speaking about music and musicians in Arkansas.
View collection »

Concert Archive

Dave Rosen Big Band

An Arkansas Sounds Concert – 7/26/14

The Smittle Band

2013 Arkansas Sounds Music Festival – 9/27/13

Tyrannosaurus Chicken

2012 Arkansas Sounds Music Festival – 9/28/12