Music Representation in a Digital Music Library
Donald Byrd Eric Isaacson
Sr. Scholar/Developer Assoc. Prof./Music Theory
Indiana University School of Music
JCDL 2003

Indiana University School of Music
1600 majors (ca. half undergraduate)
Primary curricular/performance emphasis is Western art (“classical”) music
Additional support for non-major courses with ca. 4000 enrollments per year (especially rock history)

Variations2: IU Digital Music Library
Digital Audio/Video
Scanned score images
Symbolically encoded score files
Software for
Enhanced search for music
Player/viewers for (synchronized) playback
Notation display, editing
Library cataloging
Learning, study, teaching

Why Include Encoded Scores?
Enhanced library functions
Content-based search, query by humming
Support automated synchronization between music formats
User interactivity
Selective display of parts
Recomposition learning tasks
Model composition exercises
Score-based analysis

Defining Requirements (1)
Requirements, not design specification
Interested in producing only serviceable renderings of notation from representation
Should work for existing and newly created scores
Should support structural/analytic information

Defining Requirements (2)
Levels of importance
Required, Very Desirable, Desirable
Based on what is needed for typical use, then for any use
Schema necessary (e.g., XML DTD; provides for automatic validation of data, forward compatibility)
Requirements are independent of notation editor specs

Representational Domains
Four independent (but overlapping) domains (from Mockingbird editor, SMDL)
“note pitch is E3,” “note duration is quarter note”
Performance (Gestural)
“note sounds for 456/480 of a quarter,” “note is to be played with MIDI patch 41”
“note has a diamond note head,” “note has a downward stem”
“this is an Em7 chord,” “this is the start of the Development section”

Areas Covered (ca. 230 items)
0. Global information
1. Voices, staves, and parts
2. MIDI channels, cables, and patches
3. Musical symbols in general
4. Notes and chords
5. Grace notes and grace chords
6. Rests
7. Barlines, measure numbers, and rehearsal marks
8. Clefs
9. Key signatures
10. Time signatures
11-13. Groups: Tuplets; Beams; Octave signs
14. Tempo markings
15. Text strings and lyrics
16. Dynamics
17. Slurs, ties, and horizontal brackets
18. Staves and staff brackets
19. Notation for chords
20. Endings
21-23. Miscellaneous graphic, performance, analytic elements

Sample Requirements

Current Status
Current spec posted on Variations2 web site
Full document to be published at year’s end
Sent version 1.0 to representation developers (mid-2002) for feedback
Selection of a representation for Variations2 to be made soon