The National Sound Archive, a space dedicated to memory

The establishment of the Tunisian National Sound Archives (TNSA) dates back to the end of 1994 (Decree No. 94-2137 of 10 October 1994). Unlike other experiences around the world, where sound archives are attached to national libraries, the TNSA was created as a sub-department of the Center for Arab and Mediterranean Music. It is located in the building known as the Belvedere, formerly al-Qubba al-Bīḍā (the white cupola) , one of the ancilary buildings of the Ennejma Ezzahra palace. The TNSA provides the CAMM with an essential dimension which is the protection of the phonographic heritage. Indeed, this department pursues several missions aimed at preserving this heritage: collection, cataloguing and restoration of audio recordings and above all, protection and conservation by means of the phonographic legal deposit.

With the TNSA, devoted to memory, the Centre for Arab and Mediterranean Music fulfils one of its fundamental objectives and acts as a polyvalent institution working through a multidisciplinary approach for the promotion of music


As defined in the statutes of the CAMM, the TNSA's mission is to collect, process, conserve, restore, enhance and disseminate the entire Tunisian phonographic heritage. Its holdings are constituted through various means: legal deposit of phonograms, field collecting , transfer of external holdings , exchange and purchase.

Field collecting

The objective sought by the field collecting campaigns undertaking by the TNSA and affiliated field collectors, is the setting up of a of recordings collection of the Tunisian musical traditions, for safeguarding and research purposes. Collecting also concerns musical instruments

The TNSA also seeks to recover, as far as possible, the phonographic holdings held by national institutions (Tunisian Radio Television Corporation) or foreign phonographic preservation facilities. The same approach is adopted with private collectors.

The exchange of original documents or simple copies helps fill any gaps in our collections. The policy of exchange thus complements the range of instruments and means feeding the phonographic collection of the TNSA.

The sound collections

The TNSA collections feature more than 30,000 audio and audiovisual documents, the oldest of which dates back to the year 1900, classified according to the nature of the medium .

The collection includes commercial discs, tapes, and rare or unpublished recordings.

In order to make reading of these documents easier, the TNSA has a set up a collection of phonographs and other reading devices intended both for reading records (78 rpms) dating back to the first half of the twentieth century. The NT also holds a considerable amount of printed material relating to the Center's recordings and musical events (pamphlets, booklets, pictures, posters). A large part of these paper documents has been digitized and is accessible on the electronic interface

  • The TNSA encourages collectors and the general public to help enrich its holdings through donations .

Digitization of holdings

Since 2009, the TNSA has launched a campaign aimed at digitizing its recordings collections as well as documents related to the recordings (Photo, brochure, pamphlet and poster).

Through donations, exchange agreements, collaborative fieldwork projects and purchase, the collection of published and unpublished recordings and books continues to grow. It provides a rich resource, unique in Britain, for scholars, musicians, media producers and general music enthusiasts. - See more at:

The collection was for a good ten years managed by a DBMS( developped by Minisis, Canada; in 2015 a major project was launched for the development of a web interface on Telemeta to allow public access to the holdings (Access the online database)

Consultation and access conditions

Inaugurated in December 2016, a new listening room meeting the most demanding technical requirements is now available to scholars, musicians, media producers and general music enthusiasts.

The consultation (listening or viewing) is subject to a request form to be filled in on site or online specifying the object of the research and its objective (Master's dissertation, Ph.D. dissertation etc. Any use of document is subject to prior approval by the Center s' management

Given the limited number of available workplaces, please make the necessary reservation on-site or online.

A partial or complete copy of any recording may be obtained by means of a request accompanied by an undertaking stipulating the limits of use.

Address: National Sound Archive - Center for Arab and Mediterranean Music «Ennejma Ezzahra» 8, rue du 2 Mars 1934 _ 2026 Sidi Bou Said - Tunisia

For further information please contact:

Manoubia Hermi: conservator of the TNSA

Phone: 71740102/71746051


Opening Hours:

From Monday to Friday: 8 am to 3 pm except holidays.