Kelly On-line Database

A searchable database of recordings made by the Gramophone Company, and its successor corporations during the 78 RPM era.

This database is derived from lists assembled by the late Dr. Alan Kelly and may be of use to researchers and scholars interested in the details of historical recordings, both published and unpublished. It contains details of well over 420,000 recordings made in the period beginning in 1898 and ending in the mid-1950’s.

September 6, 2020

Many entries for recordings by Sir John Barbirolli were improved based on input from Malcolm Walker.

August 23, 2020

John Milmo provided revised versions of the -g/-h/-i files, and several new documents listing recordings from 1934, with prefixes starting with 0A. As a result, the database has approximately 2,000 additional recordings. The latest tally is 425,193.

August 16, 2020

A replacement for the 0BA/2BA file has been incorporated, with many corrections made by John Milmo and John Bolig.
A sort of search results by Matrix Number now also orders by take numbers within a matrix.

August 1, 2020

A replacement for the old Suf-G file has been incorporated. Based on scans that were made of the 7” recordings at the EMI Archive, data has been added to many of the recording entries in this file, and suffixes appended to the matrix numbers, faithfully transcribed from the actual recordings. Many of the matrix numbers have extended suffixes, the precise meaning of which can now only be guessed at. Whatever these extended suffixes meant, the practice was probably discontinued once the matrix numbering was standardised in 1904 (see the first article by John Milmo under the Resources tab in this website).

July 19, 2020

Several items have been corrected in the Suf-a, Suf-d and Suf-e files and, based on extensive work by John Milmo and Peter Adamson, a completely revised version of the Suf- A(D) file has been incorporated; all of this is related to some of the earliest recordings in the database.

To see a log of all changes, click here.

Using the Site

Use the navigation bar above to:

  1. go to the Basic Search screen
  2. go to the Advanced Search screen
  3. read about the database and its development
  4. access links to other resources
  5. give us feedback by sending a message that asks a question, makes a comment, points out any error, asks us to add information about a known recording that is not included in the database, or expresses an interest in being involved in the process of improving the database

A Few Notes

Because the Kelly files were originally unstructured Word documents, it was difficult to extract all the information in them into discrete fields and impossible to arrive at consistent and standardised forms for names of performers and titles. Every effort has been made to design searches so that they retrieve the recordings sought.

The database contains the following searchable fields:

  1. Performer(s): names of one or more performers in various forms
  2. Title: names of works or titles of individual pieces as entered by Kelly
  3. Matrix No.: The Matrix No. without any prefix, suffix, take number or fractional take number
  4. Prefix to the Matrix No.: alpha or alpha-numeric prefix
  5. Suffix to the Matrix No.: alpha suffix
  6. Issue Number: the record company’s assigned catalogue number(s)
  7. Recording Date: in numeric form, in the order: dd-mm-yy
  8. Location: a city, country or recording venue
  9. File: Kelly file name
  10. Other: any data that could not be associated with a particular field by the scanning program
  11. Notes: when data elements seem to have been mis-situated, they are sometimes explicitly removed and placed in this field.