Skip to main content

Erroll Garner Exhibit @ Pitt: Erroll's Music

An exhibit dedicated to Erroll Garner and the opening of his archive. Exhibit unveiled at the University's William Pitt Union; a combined effort of the Archives Service Center and the Pitt Department of Music, particularly Jazz Studies faculty and student

A Musical Hit Worldwide!

erroll garner, misty  


           The original English version of "Misty" was a musical hit in the United States and its success extended onto the international stage. The samples of "Misty" on display represent copies that were translated into five different languages.They demonstrate the reach of Garner's influence on jazz and the music industry as a whole. 

Erroll Garner's Records

Garner’s fame skyrocketed primarily due his records, which appeared on over a dozen majorlabels. To avoid exploitation, the pianist and his manager maintained close control over therecording process. This not only meant obtaining their own equipment (seen here), but alsoretaining ownership over the master tapes, hundreds of which now reside in the Pitt Archive.

erroll garner, martha glaser

Garner’s fame skyrocketed primarily due to his records, which appeared on over a dozen major labels. To avoid exploitation, the pianist and his manager maintained close control over the recording process. This not only meant obtaining their own equipment (seen here), but also retaining ownership over the master tapes, hundreds of which now reside in the University of Pittsburgh's Archives.  

erroll garner, martha glaser

Recording Equipment on Display

erroll garner's music

Featured in the exhibit is a vintage condenser microphone and related equipment used by Erroll Garner. In a condenser microphone, the charged diaphragm (which is usually thin) is placed in front of a plate. A microphone's diaphragm has a similar function to the human eardrum. When sound waves hit the diaphragm, it begins to vibrate and the vibrations are then converted into electrical signals. Condenser microphones are a popular choice in the recording studio due to the high quality of the sound output.

Sheet Music for Erroll Garner's Song 'Misty'

Sheet Music On Display

erroll garner, martha glaser

On display in the exhibit are several versions of Erroll Garner's most popular song, "Misty." Because Garner was a self-taught musician and could not read music, he learned and played music entirely by ear. As such, all of his compositions were initially recorded via audio equipment and later transcribed into sheet music. 

erroll garner's music