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Denes Agay Papers

Accession Numbers


Type of Material

Manuscript Papers, Manuscript Sheet Music, Sheet Music


Physical Description

.5 linear feet


circa 1938-1988

Abstract (Descriptive Summary)

These papers consist primarily of manuscript materials used by Denes Agay in the preparation of his published piano teaching anthologies and musical compositions.


The collection is open for research use.


Provenance and Acquisition Information

These papers were given by Denes Agay, May 1993, along with a collection of scores and sheet music.


Subject/Index Terms

Agay, Denes

Piano music

Piano instruction and study

Agency History/Biographical Sketch

Denes Agay was born in Hungary 10 June 1911, and studied at the Liszt Academy in Budapest and received his doctorate from the University of Budapest. He began his career as a composer and educator in his native country, but in 1939 immigrated to the United States where he continued to work as an arranger for music publishers, conductor for radio shows, and a teacher.

Agay has written compositions for piano, band, orchestra, chorus, and keyboard, but is best-known for his teaching collections, anthologies, and texts for piano studies. He has been honored by Piano Quarterly with several "Best of the Year Citations" and has been designated one of the top American composers of piano music by the National Guild of Piano Teachers. Among these compositions are more than 100 published works, perhaps the most widely recognized is Best-Loved Songs of the American People.

For additional biographical information see ASCAP Biographical Dictionary, fourth edition, page 4 and pamphlet, distributed by Agay's publisher, Music Sales Corporation, which is filed in the first folder of the papers.


Scope and Content

These papers, which were received with a collection of scores and sheet music, consist primarily of materials used by Mr. Agay in the preparation of his anthologies, including notes, title lists, and lyric sheets; manuscript arrangements; sheet music with holograph arrangements and annotations; photocopies of sheet music; a notebook of song sheets; and a folder containing six printed pieces of music composed by Agay, as well as a copy of "Wish You Were Here" from the play of the same name autographed by Leland Hayward, Arthur Kober, Joshua Logan, Harold Rome, Jo Mielziner, and Jay Blackton. They are arranged in eight folders in the order listed.


Collection Contents (Folder/Box List)

Box 1

Folder 1 Manuscript materials for published anthologies

Folder 2 Manuscript arrangements

Folder 3 Sheet music with holograph arrangements and annotations (1)

Folder 4 Sheet music with holograph arrangements and annotations (2)

Folder 5 Copies of sheet music

Folder 6 Photocopies of sheet music

Folder 7 Notebook of song sheets

Folder 8 Printed sheet music composed by Agay


Materials Cataloged Separately

The sheet music received from Mr. Agay has been filed with appropriate Center collections; a title list will be made available when the sheets are entered in the sheet music database.

All but four of the scores received from Mr. Agay have been transferred to the Center's collection of scores; a title list will be made available when the scores are cataloged. Three issues of the Army-Navy Hit Kit (July and November 1943, March 1957) and Al G. Field Minstrels Song Book were transferred to special collection scores.

For information on the location of circa 25 ephemeral items which were received and transferred to other Center collections, consult staff.



Unless otherwise noted in the folder and box list, the arrangement scheme for the collection was imposed during processing in the absence of a usable original order.



These papers are filed by accession number with other manuscript groups.




Center for Popular Music, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN


Composers, Popular music, Musicians - personal papers, Holographic music, Piano music


Agay, Denes

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American Vernacular Music Manuscripts

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MTSU Box 41
1301 E. Main Street
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Room 140
Bragg Media & Entertainment Bldg.

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