Monthly Archives: May 2011

IMSLP & the MPA – Thank You

During the recent take-down of IMSLP by the UK Music Publishers Association something heartening happened.

People went to download a score from IMSLP and found the site unavailable. News of the take-down spread on Twitter and elsewhere.

A substantial cross-section of the international classical music community pianists, conductors, viol consorts, composers, music students, music librarians, makers of ornate wooden music stands, music journalists, opera singers, music academics – went on the internet and expressed their unhappiness at the MPA’s behaviour.

The MPA, rather unwisely, then tried to persuade IMSLP Journal to censor the take-down notice. We declined and publicised the demand – the attempted take-down of the take-down notice (I know, I’ve read Kafka too). Cue: a further trumpet voluntary of incredulity rang out across cyberspace.

A few hours later the MPA used Twitter – interestingly – to raise the white flag.

Why heartening?

  • the speed with which the MPA was persuaded to see reason. When Universal Edition attacked IMSLP, the take-down went on for months. Okay, circumstances differ in this case, but the fact remains that IMSLP was back online within 24 hours;
  • the solidarity shown by musicians from across the globe in support of IMSLP. It was a genuine international coalition. Classical musicians can be fractious and egotistical but, in the end, they’re trained to play together. It’s their job. Give them a good score and they make a terrific noise;
  • the skill and confidence with which the new media – Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums etc – was used to place pressure on the MPA. Classical musicians should be proud.

IMSLP – non-profit, staffed by volunteers – is an organisation which musicians have shown themselves willing to defend. It’s an essential part of the world music scene; an iconic cultural treasure trove for everyone concerned with music heritage.

IMSLP is also a jewel in Canada’s artistic crown, as a recent CBC News report illustrates. To attack IMSLP is to attack Canadian high culture. Music publishers beware. Do you really want the Mounties after you?!

This article is to thank musicians and music-lovers everywhere for defending IMSLP. It’s fair to say that without your support last month IMSLP would still be offline.

Download Jeremiah Clarke’s Prince of Denmark’s March from IMSLP

Introducing an IMSLP Intern

It is my pleasure to introduce Cory Myers, who will be interning for IMSLP this summer.  Cory is currently a student at Deep Springs College, and his internship will focus on several major site redesign projects.  Specifically, the projects include a new tabbing system to alleviate overcrowding on work pages, an embedded audio/video streaming system, and possibly other smaller improvements around the site.

Please welcome Cory to the IMSLP community!  If you have any comments or suggestions, please post them below.

A New Genre Search

I would like to notify IMSLP users about the otherwise unannounced new genre search function, which can be found at the top of the genre page.  With this new feature you can search all of the genre/instrumentation categories for certain keywords.

For example, searching “voice clarinet” would find all the different available instrumentations that include at least one voice and one clarinet.  This also works for genres: searching “symphonies” would find all work types that contain the word “symphonies”.  Note that all work types are plural; searching “symphony” will not work.

The “Depth” column simply shows the level (depth) at which the category is found in the genre tree; normal users can safely ignore it.

While this feature might not be ground breaking, it may prove a useful tool.  All comments and suggestions welcome.

Current Perspectives on Porgy and Bess

With the 75th anniversary of the premiere of the opera Porgy and Bess – music by George Gershwin, libretto by DuBose Heyward, lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward – Randye Jones has researched the changing opinions of singers, teachers and opera directors, to the opera’s controversial subject matter.

The article published by the IMSLP Journal focuses on interviews with singers George Shirley, Angela Simpson, Stephen Swanson, Adrienne Webster, and Simon Estes.

Current Perspectives on Porgy and Bess

Porgy and Bess deals with African-American life in the fictitious Catfish Row, based on the area of Cabbage Row in Charleston, South Carolina, in the early 1920s.

Introducing IMSLP Music Search

IMSLP is happy to announce the launch of IMSLP Music Search, the perfect way to find where that melody stuck in your head came from (among other more mundane things like actually doing music research).  You can access IMSLP Music Search via this page.

IMSLP Music Search was programmed by mathematician-musician Vladimir Viro, and is based on his Music NGram algorithm.  Vladimir will also be writing a more detailed blog post about the Music Search in the upcoming days, so stay tuned!

Projects Milhaud and Dupré

A message from Daphnis on the forums:

I’d like to briefly announce to everyone the availability of a couple new collections now hosted on the US server.

First, as of today, I’ve now finished adding all the US public domain works by Darius Milhaud (1892?1974). This project encompasses some 39 compositions, 72 scores, and 1,733 pages and roughly represents the opus numbers through 75 (with those higher numbers not having been renewed, expired, faulty, etc.). Of this nice (but small) chunk of Milhaud’s œuvre we have his famous surrealist ballet, Le bœuf sur le toit from 1920 (although unfortunately not the full score, which is still protected), several of his early piano works including the two sets from Printemps(1915?20), the first piano sonata (1916), 8 of his 18 string quartets (score and full set of parts), 5 chamber symphonies, and two violin sonatas. Although he won’t be public domain in the rest of the world for several years to come, the recent establishment of our own US server makes hosting these works possible. Milhaud, a member of (in)famous group Les six, was a pivotal figure in twentieth century France. Often remembered for his Brazilian influences, use of jazz and polytonality, he was an incredibly prolific composer with opera well into the 400s. So if you’re unfamiliar with his work, now is a good time to fix that with the availability of this modest collection. Go grab a recording with one of our scores here and start enjoying this music.

Second, the complete US-PD works by French organist Marcel Dupré (1886?1971) have also been added (14 compositions, 21 scores, and 525 pages). Many of these works are quite rare and long out of print, several never having been recorded. Dupré, a famous performer and pedagogue, studied with three of the biggest names in the organ during his student days: Alexandre Guilmant, Louis Vierne, and Charles-Marie Widor (all 3 of whom have large collections at IMSLP). Although well-known to other organists, Dupré wrote primarily for his instrument but also contributed works for piano, chamber, and orchestra with choir, some of which have been made available in this collection.

I’d like to personally thank and recognize Jonathan DePeri for his administration of the US server and for providing helpful advice and support in creating the necessary code generation for integration with the IMSLP wiki. Without this server and Jonathan’s time, IMSLP would be a much more barren place for musicians.

Happy listening, studying, and playing!