A 21st century container for music scores

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 31 Oct 2015 | Tagged as: Keyboard Philharmonic, culture, music

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.

“Building Localization Capacity Through Non-specialist Developers”, at IUC 39

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 30 Sep 2015 | Tagged as: Unicode, meetings and conferences, software engineering

I’m delighted to be presenting, once again, to the 39th Internationalization and Unicode Conference (IUC39).  The conference is the gathering of my “tribe”, people who are as enthusiastic about language, text, and software as I am. If you like this stuff, it’s the best place in the world to be for those three days, so please register and join us there.

My presentation is, Building Localization Capacity Through Non-specialist Developers. Here’s the abstract: Continue Reading »

Why I won’t buy Chums anytime soon

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 31 Aug 2015 | Tagged as: personal

I won’t be buying Chums eyewear retainers anytime soon.

1000m above the ground in my paraglider is no place for my dark glasses to fall off. My prescription dark glasses, you see, without which I can barely make out anything. So, I relied on my Chums eyewear retainer on my dark glasses. Imagine my dismay when I pulled them out of my helmet bag recently, and saw this: Continue Reading »

Why revisable formats matter for our digital scores

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 13 Aug 2015 | Tagged as: Keyboard Philharmonic, culture, music

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 »

More on Vancouver Opera’s business situation

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 31 Jul 2015 | Tagged as: British Columbia, Vancouver, culture, music

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 »

‘’tain’t right’, says he: storm in apostrophe

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 14 Jun 2015 | Tagged as: Unicode, culture, language

A friend pointed me to a interesting blog post, Which Unicode character should represent the English apostrophe? (And why the Unicode committee is very wrong.) by Ted Clancy, 3. June 2015. The argument: “The Unicode committee is very clear that U+2019 (RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK) should represent the English apostrophe…. This is very, very wrong. The character you should use to represent the English apostrophe is U+02BC (MODIFIER LETTER APOSTROPHE). I’m here to tell you why why….” [Emphasis in the original.]

I understand that there might be many people on this planet who actually don’t care about English language orthography concerning the apostrophe, contractions, and Unicode plain text representations thereof. Go ahead, skip this post and go on with your day. I am completely captivated by such questions. I started writing a quick reply, which grew to the point where it seemed better to host it on my blog than on Clancy’s comments page. Continue Reading »

Things the docs never told me about SQLalchemy

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 31 May 2015 | Tagged as: Python, software engineering

In recent weeks, I have been working intensively with SQLalchemy for a consulting client. SQLalchemy is a Python-language toolkit for using SQL databases in applications. I’ve used Python, and SQL databases, and SQL queries, and a different Python-language toolkit for using SQL databases in applications, this was my first in-depth encounter with SQLalchemy. I had to do a lot of learning. SQLalchemy, despite its scads of documentation, and good tutorials, didn’t tell me some important concepts. Here’s a brief list, in an attempt to gather my thoughts and insights.

This list doesn’t include the important concepts the documentation does include, just what it (to my reading) left out. And I haven’t attempted to flesh out these points. That might be a good future blog.  It is concepts that I wish I had learned earlier and more easily.

Continue Reading »

Music score pain points for the chorus

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 12 Apr 2015 | Tagged as: Keyboard Philharmonic, culture, music

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.

Continue Reading »

About the Keyboard Philharmonic

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 31 Mar 2015 | Tagged as: Keyboard Philharmonic, culture, music

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.

Continue Reading »

A Technology Globalization meetup for the Vancouver Area: (3) Where, When, and How

Posted by Jim DeLaHunt on 28 Feb 2015 | Tagged as: Unicode, Vancouver, culture, i18n, language, meetings and conferences, multilingual, software engineering

Our little meetup now has a name: Vancouver Globalization and Localization Users Group, or VanGLUG for short. Follow us as @VanGLUG on Twitter.  We had an outreach meeting in late January. So it’s long past time to conclude this series of thoughts about VanGLUG. Part 3 discusses “Where, When, and How”. Earlier in the series were A Technology Globalization meetup for the Vancouver Area: (1) What, Who (Oct 31, 2014), and A Technology Globalization meetup for the Vancouver Area: (2) Why, Naming (Dec 31, 2014).


One challenge of an in-person meeting is where to hold it. The usual habit for such events is to meet in downtown Vancouver. This can be inconvenient, not to mention tedious, for those of us in Surrey or Burnaby. But I expect this is how we will start.

I would, however, be delighted if there was enough interest in other parts of the Lower Mainland to start up satellite groups in other locations as well.

Could we meet virtually?  In this day and age, it should be cheap and practical to do a simple webcast of meetings. Some may want to participate remotely. An IRC channel or Twitter “second screen” may emerge. But in my experience, the networking which I suspect will be our biggest contribution will come from in-person attendance.


In an era of busy schedules, finding a time to meet is likely an overconstrained problem. Our technology industry tends to hold meetings like this on weekday evenings, sometimes over beer, and I suspect that is how we will start. But it is interesting to consider breakfast or lunch meetings.

When to get started?  The arrival of Localization World 2014 in Vancouver got a dozen local localization people to attend, and provided the impetus to turn interest into concrete plans. After Localization world, we started communicating and planning. The net result was a first meeting in mid-day of Monday, December 8, 2014. Despite the holiday distraction, we were able to land a spot guest-presenting to VanDev on 6 essentials every developer should know about international. Our next opportunity to meet will likely be April 2015, perhaps March.


The Twitter feed @VanGLUG was our first communications channel. I encourage any Twitter user interested in monitoring this effort to follow @VanGLUG. We have 37 followers at the moment. We were using the twitter handle @IMLIG1604 before, and changed that name while keeping our followers. The present @IMLIG1604 handle is a mop-up account, to point stragglers to @VanGLUG.We created a group on LinkedIn to use as a discussion forum. This has the snappy and memorable URL https://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=6805530. If you use LinkedIn, are in the Lower Mainland or nearby, and are interested in localization and related disciplines, we welcome you joining the LinkedIn Group. We are also accepting members from out of area (for instance, Washington and Oregon) in the interests of cross-group coordination. But for location-independent localization or globalization discussion, there are more appropriate groups already on LinkedIn.

Subsequent communications channels might perhaps include a Meetup group (if we want to put up the money), an email list, an outpost on a Facebook page, and other channels as there is interest.

GALA (the Globalization and Language Association) is one of our industry organisations. It has a membership and affiliate list that includes people from the Vancouver region. I spoke with one of their staff at Localization World. They are interested in encouraging local community groups. I believe this initiative is directly in line with their interest: we can be the local GALA community for here.  They have included us in a list of regional Localization User Groups. We are also on IMUG’s list of “IMUG-style” groups.
Do you want to see this meetup grow? If so, I welcome your input and participation. You can tweet to @VanGLUG, post comments on this blog, or send me email at jdlh “at” jdlh.com. Call me at +1-604-376-8953.

See you at the meetings!

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