Skip to main content

Digital Musicology: Getting Started

What is Digital Musicology?

Digital musicology can be understood as a branch of digital humanities focusing on musical topics. Examples take on a variety of forms and styles, not limited to digital editions, sound archives, computational analysis, etc. This guide is intended to demonstrate extant resources and cultivate the potential for new projects. It is divided into three main categories: tools, projects, and open access aggregators+resources.

Tools

Aruspix

“With its optical recognition feature, Aruspix acts as a unique music scanning software for early music prints. With its superimposition and collation features, Aruspix acts as a tool for music editors in order to compare early music editions and re-editions when compiling comprehensive critical modern editions.”

 

Augmented Notes

“Augmented Notes integrates scores and audio files to produce interactive multimedia websites in which measures of the score are highlighted in time with music.”

 

Lilypond

"LilyPond is a music engraving program, devoted to producing the highest-quality sheet music possible. It brings the aesthetics of traditionally engraved music to computer printouts.”

 

Music Encoding Initiative

The Music Encoding Initiative (MEI) is a community-driven effort to define a system for encoding musical documents in a machine-readable structure.”

 

Music 21

Music21 builds on preexisting frameworks and technologies such as Humdrum, MusicXML, MuseData, MIDI, and Lilypond but music21 uses an object-oriented skeleton that makes it easier to handle complex data.”

 

Music XML

“The standard open format for exchanging digital sheet music.”

Open Access Aggregators+Resources

Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music

“DIAMM (the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music) is a leading resource for the study of medieval manuscripts. We present images and metadata for thousands of manuscripts on this website. We also provide a home for scholarly resources and editions, undertake digital restoration of damaged manuscripts and documents, publish high-quality facsimiles, and offer our expertise as consultants.”

 

Digital Resources for Musicology

“This website provides links to substantial open-access projects of use to musicians and musicologists.”

 

Frontiers in Digital Humanities (Digital Musicology)

“Digital Musicology focuses on musicology research involving digital technology. We welcome submissions describing methods, tools or infrastructures tackling issues in musicological digital data acquisition, representation, and standardization.”

 

Open Music Library

“The Open Music Library is an initiative from Alexander Street to build the world’s

largest free index of digital resources for the study of music.”

 

Opera and Ballet Primary Sources

“A Guide to Digital Scores, Libretti, and Documents”

Projects

Beethovens Werkstatt

Digital edition of Beethoven’s oeuvre using MEI.

 

Burns Antiphoner

“The manuscript viewer enables you to view a digitized image of each folio in the Franciscan antiphoner (left side) with the corresponding incipit text (right side).”

 

Chopin’s First Editions Online

“The project’s chief aim was to create an online resource uniting all of the first impressions of Chopin’s first editions in an unprecedented virtual collection, thereby providing direct access to musicians and musicologists to some of the most important primary source materials relevant to the composer’s music.”

 

Documenting Teresa Carreño

“Documenting Teresa Carreño is an open-access project, which will bring together select primary source materials, such as advertisements, announcements, and reviews from newspapers, with descriptions or annotations in order to document Carreño's career from 1862 - 1917.”

Doing Reusable Music Data

“Initiated in late 2014, DOREMUS is a research project based on the semantic web technologies, aiming to develop tools and methods to describe, publish, connect and contextualize music catalogues on the web of data. Its primary objective is to provide common knowledge models and shared multilingual controlled vocabularies.”

 

English Broadside Ballad Project

“EBBA has made broadside ballads from many different holdings easily and fully accessible: gathered together on one site as ballad sheet facsimiles, facsimile transcriptions, text transcriptions, and recordings, and extensively catalogued. All ballads can be viewed via basic and advanced search functions.”

 

Freischütz Digital

“Weber’s Freischütz, as an exemplary pilot project following the draft of a concept derived from Frans Wiering’s Multidimensional Model of authentically digital music editions, was to provide a proof of concept to demonstrate the potential of an innovative editorial technology and to deal with new issues associated with it.”

 

The Josquin Research Project

“The Josquin Research Project (JRP) changes what it means to engage with Renaissance music. Our open-access website not only hosts an ever-growing collection of complete scores, but for the first time makes the music fully searchable.”

 

Linked Jazz

“The project draws on jazz history materials in digital format to expose relationships between musicians and reveal their community network.”

 

The Lost Voices Project

“Companion resource to Les livres de Chansons Nouvelles de Nicolas Du Chemin (1549–1568), hosted by the Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance in Tours, France.”

Musical Festivals Database

"The Musical Festivals Database (MFD) is a fully-searchable index of programs, personnel, ensembles and venues of musical festivals held between 1695 and 1940." 

 

Online Chopin Variorum Edition

“It provides digital images of the manuscripts and first editions of select works by the Polish composer Fryderyk Chopin. Its principal aim is to facilitate and enhance comparative analysis of these primary sources, attaining a degree of flexibility beyond that of extant printed editions of Chopin’s music and indeed of any composer to date.”

 

Opening the Geese Book

“A team of experts headed by Volker Schier and Corine Schleif opens the Geese Book to scholars and provides a window for broader audiences. Completed in 1510 for the parish of St. Lorenz in Nuremberg, this large-format gradual preserves the mass liturgy that was sung by choir boys until the Reformation was introduced in 1525.”

 

Schenker Documents Online

“Schenker Documents Online offers a scholarly edition of this material based not on facsimiles but on near-diplomatic transcriptions of the original texts, together with English translations, explanatory footnotes, summaries, and contextual material relating the texts to Schenker's personal development and that of his correspondents.”

 

The Séamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music

“This digital collection features traditional tunes and songs collected by master fiddle player Séamus Connolly, Sullivan Artist in Residence in Irish Music at Boston College (2004 to 2015) and National Heritage Fellow (2013). Freely available, the collection offers over 330 audio recordings featuring more than 130 musicians via SoundCloud, with accompanying stories, transcriptions, and introductory essays.”

 

Single Interface for Music Score Searching and Analysis

“The Single Interface for Music Score Searching and Analysis project (SIMSSA) is teaching computers to recognize the musical symbols in digital images of musical scores, linking materials from the shelves of libraries and museums from around the world in a single digital forum.”

 

Songs of Victorians

“Welcome to Songs of the Victorians, an archive of parlor and art song settings of Victorian poems, and also a scholarly tool to facilitate interdisciplinary music and poetry scholarship.”

 

Sonic Dictionary

“The Sonic Dictionary is a growing collection of more than 800 sound recordings created by university students. Our goal is to enhance the vocabulary of sonic experience.”

 

Johannes Tinctoris Complete Theoretical Works

“This project, currently in its initial stages of development, presents a complete new edition of Tinctoris's treatises, along with full English translations and multiple layers of commentary material, covering a wide range of technical, historical and critical issues arising from both the texts themselves and the wider context of Tinctoris’s life and the musical environment of early Renaissance Europe.”

PhD Candidate in Musicology