Archived Posts from this Category
Archived Posts from this Category
Back in May, as part of the Music Encoding 2016 conference in Montreal, we had a discussion about comparing digital scores. Just as you can compare text files, and get a concise statement of differences, we brainstormed about requirements for comparing music scores at the notation level. This blog post is a record of that discussion.
A couple of weeks ago the Music Encoding Conference 2016 was held at McGill University, Montréal, Canada. I attended on behalf of the Keyboard Philharmonic project. I was like a kid in a candy store: so many people with so much experience in representing music notation digitally, so many interesting talks, so much friendliness. I also had the temerity to hold, despite my first-time status, a workshop on the first day of the conference: “Encoding Music at Music Encoding”, where we would follow the Keyboard Philharmonic process to encode a short score. The goal was to release it to the public domain by the end of the conference. Here is how we did.
A music score is an information product. The printed book is a proven, well-understood container for information products. It is also a 16th-century technology approach. In the 21st century, we have a new container for music scores: the symbolically encoded, software-accessible digital file. The exciting task of our time is to explore how to move the music score into this new container, preserving the connection to our cultural heritage and our artistic tradition of music creativity, while transcending the limitations of the 500-year-old container technology.
I see the Keyboard Philharmonic project as providing an important bridge, to move the fine musical works of the classical music and opera tradition into their new home in the 21st century.
The Keyboard Philharmonic overview mentions “revisable, symbolic digital notation formats” for music scores. Sometimes people ask if projects like the Internet Music Score Library/Petrucci Project aren’t already putting music scores into “digital” form. Perhaps a clarification will help. Yes, the IMSLP and many other worthy projects are offering music scores in “digital” formats — but not in “revisable digital notation” formats. The difference matters. Continue Reading »
Last month, the Vancouver Opera announced that it was going to have one more year of a regular season, then switch to a “festival” structure. That is, instead of four productions spaced throughout the year, it was going to have a concentrated three-week burst of opera once a year. Or at least that’s how the story seemed to run. Yesterday, I went to a town hall for subscribers. General Director Jim Wright spent 30 minutes laying out the Opera’s business situation, and an hour in a lively question and answer session. It was informative, and placed the Opera’s strategy in a much better light. Continue Reading »
A chorus that uses, for rehearsal and performance, the 5-century-old technology of printed music scores, will encounter pain points. Printed scores are expensive and difficult to stock and manage. Singers can find it hard to understand where in a score a director is, especially when members use different editions. Scores have mistakes to correct, details to tailor for a specific for performance, which are hard to communicate to each singer. And more. The coming public-domain digital music scores offer help for some of these pain points. Yet the printed scores have strengths, built by 5 centuries of music practice, which digital music scores will be hard put to match.
The newly-founded Keyboard Philharmonic is a music charity which aims to enlist music lovers to transcribe opera and classical music scores into a revisable, shareable, digital format, and then give those digital scores away for free. One way to think of it is as a way to bring Mozart and Beethoven’s scores into the digital age. I’m passionate about it, and I’m working hard to get it started.