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COLLECTION Identifier: AWM Spec Coll 101

Lowell H. Lybarger Collection of Pakistani Music Materials


This collection represents original field recordings and other collected materials (including television dubs and commercial videos) by Lowell Lybarger. Most of the materials were recorded or collected in Pakistan and to a lesser extent in India, the United States, and Canada.


  • 1965 - 2008

Language of Materials

Materials in the collection are in English, Persian, and Urdu.

Conditions Governing Access



1 collection (Video: 66 VHS Tapes, 2 VHS-C tapes, 20 8mm video tapes, 35 Hi-8mm video tapes, 31 Mini-DV tapes, 6 VCD discs, 4 DVD-Rs discs, 3 Data-CD discs, 1 Data-DVD disc; Audio: 49 Audio Cassette tapes, 31 DAT tapes, 1 ¼ Reel-to-Reel tape, 55 CDs; Books: 49 Books; Folders: 35 Folders, Theses: 18 theses. )

This collection represents ethnomusicology fieldwork conducted in Pakistan, India, the United States and Canada by Lowell Lybarger from 1994-2007. The bulk of the collection consists of field recordings of Pakistani music made on various video formats. The collection also contains a fair amount of commercially produced videos, audio recordings, books, newspaper clippings and other paper materials related to the fieldwork. The overall content found on these materials roughly spans the years of 1965-2007 and mostly focuses on classical Pakistani tabla music from the Panjab region. The collection also contains materials documenting various other types of classical and folk music traditions from Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and other nearby countries. Much of the recordings and fieldwork in this collection were used as the basis for Dr. Lybarger’s 2003 PhD thesis titled “The Tabla Solo Repertoire of Pakistani Panjab: An Ethnomusicological Perspective”.

The collection contains 137 unique video recordings, 26 commercially produced videos, 81 audio tapes, 55 commercially produced CDs, 35 folders of paper materials, 17 thesis and 49 books. The media formats include VHS, VHS-C, 8mm video, Hi-8mm video, Mini-DV, VCD, DVD-R, Data-CD, Data DVD, Audio Cassette, DAT and ¼ Reel-to-Reel tape.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Lowell Lybarger is a music librarian, ethnomusicologist, and tabla player based in Arkansas. He serves as the Music/Multimedia Librarian at Arkansas Tech University and is Director of their Music Lab. He holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Toronto, an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Washington, a Master in Library Science from Kent State University and a B.A. in Anthropology from Rutgers University.

Dr. Lybarger was born in Lahore, Pakistan and grew up in the United States. He developed an interest in Hindustani music and the tabla while studying anthropology at Rutgers University. After graduating with his B.A., he went on to do a Masters in Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. There he met the well-known Pakistani Sufi musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who suggested that he study the tabla in Pakistan. Supported by the Fulbright program, Dr. Lybarger lived in Pakistan from 1994-1996 while conducting ethnomusicological fieldwork and studying with the renowned tabla master Ustad Shaukat Hussain Khan. During this time, he produced a considerable amount of video field recordings which documented Pakistani Panjab tabla music and collected various related print materials. After graduating with his M.A., he went onto do a PhD in Musicology at the University of Toronto. In 1999, while working on his PhD, he returned to Pakistan to continue his fieldwork on tabla music. His 2003 thesis, titled “The Tabla Solo Repertoire of Pakistani Panjab: an Ethnomusicological Perspective,” utilized the extensive archive of fieldwork that he had collected in Pakistan from 1994-1996 and 1999. After obtaining his PhD, he returned to Pakistan in 2004 and 2007 to work as a UNESCO consultant and professor in musicology for the National College of Arts and Sanjan Nagar Institute of Philosophy and Arts. In 2006, he completed a MLIS degree from Kent State University and soon after worked as a technical consultant and archivist for a preservation project at Radio-Television Afghanistan, a project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2007, he accepted a position as the Music/Multimedia Librarian at Arkansas Tech University where he works today.

System of Arrangement

Series 1: Unpublished A/V Recordings: Contains video documentation of Lowell Lybarger’s fieldwork from roughly 1994-2007. in Formats include 8mm, Hi-8, VHS, Mini-DV, DVD-R.

Sub-Series 1: Video Field Recordings Sub-Series 2: Video Dubs Sub-Series 3: Audio Recordings

Series 2: Paper-based materials: Contains newspaper clippings and misc. published paper materials compiled by Lowell Lybarger for his fieldwork/research

Series 3: Theses: contains Lowell Lybarger’s finished thesis and accompanying Data CDs, along with the 16 thesis from 2006-2009

Separated Material: Commercial Recordings: Contains commercially produced video and audio recordings related to Lowell Lybarger’s fieldwork in Pakistan. The VHS tapes… The CDs…. The Audio Cassettes… Books: Contains published books, mostly in Urdu and English.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was given by Lowell Lybarger to the Harvard Music Library, Archive of World Music in July 2008.

Related Materials


Processing Information

Processed by: Adam Schutzman, Peter Laurence, and Joe Kinzer in consultation with Lowell Lybarger.

Lowell H. Lybarger Collection of Pakistani Music Materials,1965-2008. A Finding Aid.
Archive of World Music, Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library Repository

The Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library is the primary repository of musical materials at Harvard. The Music Library’s collecting mission is to serve music teaching and research programs in the Music Department and throughout the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In addition, it supports the musical needs of the broader Harvard community as well as an international scholarly constituency. We collect books, musical scores, serial titles, sound recordings and video formats, microforms, and rare and archival materials that support research in a wide variety of musical disciplines including historical musicology, music theory, ethnomusicology, composition, and historically informed performance practice, as well as interdisciplinary areas related to music. The special collections include archival collections from the 19th, 20th and 21st century.

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