Beethoven in the House: Digital Studies of Domestic Music Arrangements

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Engineering Science

Abstract

Beethoven in the House encompasses two novel and complementary studies into domestic music arrangements of the 19th Century, a digital research environment which will be co-developed alongside the studies, and the innovative application of digital musicology methods within this environment.

Performance of music in the home was the means by which most works were received before the advent of audio recordings and broadcasts, yet the notation sources that form our primary record of this culture have not been the subject of comprehensive or methodical study. Choices made by arrangers adapting music for domestic consumption-of instrumentation, abbreviation, or simplification-reflect the musical life of the 19th-century, and can inform our understanding alongside contemporary accounts such as newspapers, adverts, and diaries.

A study of Steiner editions of Beethoven's 7th and 8th Symphonies and Wellingtons Sieg will make a detailed comparison between arrangements, systematically identifying a core common to multiple versions, and asking if this reflects the stated values of the publisher. A second survey seeks patterns across a larger sample of lesser-known and poorly catalogued scores, collating emergent indicators of arrangers' motivations within a narrative of the domestic market - the music industry of its day. Both studies innovate digital methods which characterise arrangements as music encodings, including new 'sparse' approaches to notation and annotation. Optical Music Recognition and Linked Data will find and structure new knowledge. Results will be digitally represented using an ontology of musicological argument, providing reusable methods and research data for digital musicology, as well as informing the wider digital humanities.

Leading experts and institutions from Germany and the UK will work together with combined collections from both countries for the first time. Doing so, they will jointly transform methods and tools in their field of digital musicology.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Software Sustainability Instittute: Best practice for testing in DH software development 
Organisation Software Sustainability Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution As a project for the Software Sustainability Institute, team member Graham Klyne is assessing the most effective ways to implement software testing methodologies in the context of Digital Humanities projects. As a case study, Graham is implementing a test framework for the MELD software (Music Encoding and Linked Data, developed during the FAST project) as it has been deployed by the Unlocking Musicology project.
Collaborator Contribution The Software Sustainability Institute facilitates the advancement of software in research by cultivating better, more sustainable, research software to enable world-class research ("Better software, better research").
Impact Published code for software development testing (see repository link). Project report and recommendations.
Start Year 2020
 
Description Digital Musicology: An Interdisciplinary Perspective - talk at Digital Humanities at Oxford online 2021 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Kevin Page delivered the presentation 'Digital Musicology - An Interdisciplinary Perspective' to a plenary session of the 2021 Digital Humanities at Oxford online event (held as an alternative to the usual in-person Digital Humanities Summer School).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Expert workshop for US-based 'Measuring Polyphony' project 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Part of a panel of experts invited to participate in a workshop as part of the Measuring Polyphony project, which developed tools to support transcribing and editing medieval and renaissance musical sources.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://measuringpolyphony.org/
 
Description Gesellschaft für Musikwissenschaft conference, "Beethoven Arrangements: Can Digital Approaches Widen Our Investigative Reach?" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Conference presentation as part of a session on "New directions for Beethoven research" at annual conference of the German national musicological society (Gesellschaft für Musikwissenschaft). The paper was entitled "Beethoven Arrangements: Can Digital Approaches Widen Our Investigative Reach?"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://www.gfm2020.uni-bonn.de/
 
Description Guest lecture to Oxford Brookes University Faculty of Humanities doctoral training programme 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Kevin Page gave the talk 'An interdisciplinary perspective on Digital Humanities' to the humanities doctoral training programme at Oxford Brookes University.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description MEI Linked Data Interest Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The Interest Group considers applications of Linked Data to interconnect the rich music and music-related information resources available on the Web with MEI encodings. It focuses on establishing and documenting best practices through community discussion, work on the MEI guidelines for this topic, and proposing useful changes to the MEI schema to enhance or facilitate such connections to and from MEI encodings. The group seeks to provide reference points, both for newcomers, and those with more advanced experience in the topic. Finally, the group intends to work to raise awareness of Linked Data practices within the MEI community, and of music-specific approaches within the Semantic Web and Web science communities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021,2022
URL https://music-encoding.org/community/interest-groups
 
Description Member and co-chair of Special Interest Group on tablature notation for the Music Encoding Initiative 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Membership of a SIG for the standards body the Music Encoding Initiative aiming to develop and extend support for tablature notations (including guitar tabs and historical lute tablature). This includes adding this notation to music typesetting tools.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021,2022
URL https://music-encoding.org/community/interest-groups.html
 
Description Member of Special Interest Group on Linked Data for the Music Encoding Initiative 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Membership of a SIG for the standards body the Music Encoding Initiative, convened to look at ways to use Linked Open Data in conjunction with the MEI standard and to create guidance for good practice.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021,2022
URL https://music-encoding.org/community/interest-groups.html
 
Description Member of Special Interest Group on MerMEId for the Music Encoding Initiative 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Membership of a SIG for the standards body the Music Encoding Initiative. This SIG is for developers (and, to a lesser extent, users) of a musical works cataloguing tool, MerMEId, built with the standard, and focusses on planning, documentation and bug fixes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020,2021,2022
URL https://github.com/Edirom/MerMEId/
 
Description Member of Special Interest Group on mensural notation for the Music Encoding Initiative 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Membership of (and at times co-chairing) a SIG for the standards body the Music Encoding Initiative on pre-1600 music notation.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019,2020,2021,2022
URL https://music-encoding.org/
 
Description Participation in research network 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Regular 'seminars' for a UKRI-funded network (AH/V015095/1), gathering scholars and music editors to consider the future of collected music editions
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2022
 
Description RISM UK workshop: Crowdsourcing musical data 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Kevin Page attended and contributed to a workshop on the replacement for the RISM databasewith a tailored UK discovery layer for the worldwide RISM database. The workshop examined how users might engage with the RISM database and its data, and whether crowd-sourcing could be used as a technique, for instance to get users to add coded incipits to the current entries in the RISM database.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020