U.Va. Library Grant Announcement
For Immediate Release
April 29, 2009
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University of Virginia Library Receives DFG/NEH Grant for Digitizing Music Notation
Scholars around the world enjoy speedy desktop research thanks to searchable digital books. Music scholars, however, have had no such luck—finding a score by musical genre, rhythm, or progression of notes requires countless hours of analog research.
Thanks to a partnership between Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) in Germany and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in the United States, music scholars now have something to sing about. The University of Virginia and the University of Paderborn in Germany have received a $77,065 DFG/NEH grant supporting two international workshops to develop and standardize a method for representing music notation digitally by July 31, 2010.
Digitized sheet music will be searchable not only by title, date, and publisher, but also by song lyrics, specific note progression, genre, composer notes, and even publisher advertisements. Scholars wishing to examine multiple interpretations of a score—such as a medieval piece written in modern style—may do so with a mouse click, bypassing hours of research or notation transferring.
The innovative program will have far-reaching benefits to all in the music discipline, resulting in guidelines for use by libraries, museums, and individual scholars in online research, teaching, and preservation of music. This project is supported jointly by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) is the central, self-governing research funding organization that promotes research at universities and other publicly financed research institutions in Germany. The DFG serves all branches of science and the humanities by funding research projects and facilitating cooperation among researchers.
The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.
Any views, finding, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.
The University of Paderborn has a special focus on Computer Science, exemplified by its Heinz-Nixdorf Institute. Together with the Hochschule für Musik in Detmold, the University conducts the Seminar for Musicology where, in 2004 and in cooperation with the Carl Maria von Weber Complete-Edition project, preliminary work was performed regarding digital critical editions of music. Its "Edirom" project (also DFG-funded) has been developing platform-independent solutions for musical editions since 2006.
With 14 physical locations as well as the original Rotunda, the U.Va. Library contains more than 5 million books, 17 million manuscripts, rare books and archives, and rapidly growing digital collections. The Library is a leader in developing collections, tools, and collaborations that foster scholarship at the University and worldwide. It is known in particular for its strength in American history and literature and its innovation in digital technologies.
University of Virginia Library
National Endowment for the Humanities
Digitizing Music Notation:
How It Works
Multiple versions of a work (here a clarinet concerto by Carl Maria von Weber) can be encoded in a single Music Encoding Initiative (MEI) file. Users can extract a single version or a combination of versions.
MEI can be used to encode the neume notation (note or notes to be sung to a single syllable) found in a medieval manuscript as well as data about the physical object.