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.
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.
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.
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.