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Open-Source Bach; Copyright-Free Goldbergs

timothy posted about 3 years ago | from the good-brain-music dept.

Music 106

rDouglass writes "An open source music notation software (MuseScore) and an award winning pianist (Kimiko Ishizaka) are raising money to create a new score and a new recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations. They will release both works to the public domain (copyright-free) using the Creative Commons Zero tool. This bypasses usual copyright protections that are given to each published edition of the score and each individual recording of the piece, and addresses a gap in the availability of free (gratis/libre) versions of the work. MuseScore scores are XML based and are thus like the source code for music. They can also be embedded into websites and linked with YouTube videos, creating rich multimedia experiences. The Kickstarter project has begun recently and $4,000 has been raised."

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106 comments

Innovate! (-1, Offtopic)

ggramm (2021034) | about 3 years ago | (#35544136)

This is the same thing as usually with open source projects. I really don't get why open source programmers don't innovate and create something new. I mean, the most popular open source games are bad clones of commercial products. FreeCiv is a perfect example. On top of that the shooter games are all based on ID's engines that are many years old.

All this while open source projects would be the perfect place to really shine with innovation and with something new. Why just copy, why not create something new?

Re:Innovate! (4, Informative)

chemicaldave (1776600) | about 3 years ago | (#35544144)

Are you saying it's not innovating? Classical sheet music is very, very expensive.

Re:Innovate! (2, Informative)

ggramm (2021034) | about 3 years ago | (#35544168)

It's not innovating and creating new if you take existing sheet music...

Re:Innovate! (4, Interesting)

Hooya (518216) | about 3 years ago | (#35544264)

> It's not innovating and creating new if you take existing sheet music...

I agree with you. Unfortunately, the copyright laws don't really see it that way. It's a weird situation where even a 200 year old music is under some protection (performances are protected, the written sheet music is protected). If you wanted to set your home video to some (100+ year old) classical music, where would you get the soundtrack? Even my digital piano (Roland) disables the MIDI out when playing the built-in classical pieces. I look forward to putting it into Rosegarden, piping it through a softsynth and the digital piano and enjoy a truly "surround sound" experience.

Re:Innovate! (3, Interesting)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 3 years ago | (#35544306)

Actually, performances are a new work (they add something not found in the scores, as can be checked by listening to performances by different artists).

Re:Innovate! (3, Informative)

Hooya (518216) | about 3 years ago | (#35545394)

I'm not denying that performances are a new work. What I was trying to get at is that the music that was free can only be had via listening to copyrighted performances, or copyrighted transcriptions. So now you have a situation where music that didn't even have copyright protection at the time it was created (and if they did at that time, they certainly would have entered public domain by now) are only available via copyright.

Material that was in public domain effectively entered copyright. The exact opposite of what the copyright system is meant to facilitate.

Re:Innovate! (2)

Technician (215283) | about 3 years ago | (#35545488)

Fortunately there are plenty of people with the love of the music that has played or sequenced the pieces and placed the resulting MIDI files online. They are a simple Google search away.

I have been known to take a few and re-voice them, change the tempo, add a track, remove a track, etc to make my own arrangement of them that sounds great on an XG synth.

Re:Innovate! (0)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 3 years ago | (#35550394)

Get real. Bach's music is not about some mechanical music-box reproduction of a sequence of notes. It is about a living, vibrant piece of music that engenders different reactions every time it is played or heard.

Re:Innovate! (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 3 years ago | (#35551430)

Bach's music is not about some mechanical music-box reproduction of a sequence of notes. It is about a living, vibrant piece of music that engenders different reactions every time it is played or heard.

... through a valve amp and speakers that weigh more than most people's cars and cost more than their houses. Connected by crystal-free copper monoxide cables, obviously.

Performance equipment for Bach (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 3 years ago | (#35551908)

You're thinking way too small there - no matter how snobby you get about your audiophileness, your equipment can't really reproduce a pipe organ or good seats at an orchestra performance. And you can't begin to reproduce taiko, because your speakers simply can't move enough air - it takes rock&roll band concert hardware, not audiophile hardware.

But for classical music, the quality of your sound system isn't the critical issue - it's the performers. I had a housemate in college who had a medium-quality stereo system (by pre-CDROM definitions of medium quality, which meant much better than mine but not as good as some people around), and he'd found that it was good enough that he could hear what the orchestra was playing well enough that he should spend his money on records from better orchestras with better conductors. If you're listening to Beethoven, you should go for the Berlin Philharmonic with Furtwangler conducting, even though it's pre-war recordings, or maybe the New York Philharmonic with Toscanini or Bernstein. You certainly don't want the 101 Strings El-Cheapo Classical Music Collection.

For Bach's Goldberg Variations, there's Glenn Gould, and then there's, well, probably nobody else, but there are lots of people who can play them and interpret them interestingly. For other Bach pieces, you'll find huge differences between a random good orchestra and Walter Carlos's Switched-On Bach, or between those and later Wendy Carlos work, or even between the orchestra and somebody playing a pipe organ, which was after all the 17th century's version of the Moog synthesizer.

Re:Innovate! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35544488)

I suggest you look into Glenn Gould's [wikipedia.org] work with the Goldberg Variations if you really think that.

Re:Innovate! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35544568)

I suggest you look into Glenn Gould's [wikipedia.org] work with the Goldberg Variations if you really think that.

He is the closest thing to God that's ever played them...

Re:Innovate! (3, Funny)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 3 years ago | (#35545012)

I suggest you look into Glenn Gould's [wikipedia.org] work with the Goldberg Variations if you really think that.

He is the closest thing to God that's ever played them...

A concert violinist dies and goes to heaven. St. Peter shows him around, telling him they're delighted that he's here to play in the heavenly symphony orchestra. They look in on a rehearsal and there's a tyrannical bearded white-haired conductor. "Who's that?" asks the violinist. "Oh that's God," says Peter, "he thinks he's Von Karajan."

Re:Innovate! (1)

sirrunsalot (1575073) | about 3 years ago | (#35547202)

I'm only commenting to undo my accidental 'redundant' mod, but I couldn't agree with you more. I try to resist idolizing anyone, but Glenn Gould... is an exception.

Re:Innovate! (1)

Pseudonym (62607) | about 3 years ago | (#35547296)

You need to be clear on what you mean by "existing sheet music".

High-quality editions of classical music are ultimately based on research into early editions and, if possible, the autographs of the composer. These results are usually compiled into critical editions, which represent our state of knowledge about what the composer intended for this piece.

But that's not what you buy at the sheet music store. That is a version that has been further edited to produce a version which represents the closest to the composer's intent that's playable on the chosen instrumentation (e.g. if old instruments are no longer available), and is also well-designed.

The reality is that producing high-quality playable editions of classical music is a lot of hard work, and involves considerable creativity and good judgment. And, of course, to the old-school publishing industry, this means "we have a monopoly".

Not a monopoly, but certainly copyright protection (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 3 years ago | (#35552070)

It doesn't give you a monopoly - some other music publishing house can just as well do their own version of the same pieces. But it certainly does give you a copyrightable product, because you've put actual creative work into it, not just typesetting. And even if you hadn't done significant creative work, just taken some late-1800s sheet music on which the copyright had expired, but re-typeset it yourself, that's protected enough that somebody can't buy one copy of your sheet music and Xerox off a hundred copies for their high school choir, though they could have done that with the late-1800s version.

Typesetting music used to take actual work - it's still non-trivial with computers, and there are competing notations and formatting programs out there. A program that's good for guitar tab may not be able to do orchestral scores and vice versa, and classical music in particular tends to have all kinds of random notations on it about tempo and voicing that not all of the programs can express cleanly. So there's still value added.

Re:Innovate! (1)

westlake (615356) | about 3 years ago | (#35545508)

Are you saying it's not innovating? Classical sheet music is very, very expensive.

Goldberg Variations: BWV 988 [doverpublications.com] $7.95

Upon its 1742 publication, Bach entitled it "Keyboard Practice, consisting of an Aria with Diverse Variations, for the Harpsichord with 2 Manuals. Composed for Music Lovers, to Refresh their Spirits." As Glenn Gould remarked, the title offers a very down-to-earth description of a monumental work. Long regarded as the Baroque era's most important set of variations, the Goldbergs were relatively unknown when he chose them for his recording debut in [1955.] The sensation created by his still-popular recordings revivified the piece in concert performances, in which spectators delight in its virtuosic hand-crossings.

Reprint of the Gesellschaft, Leipzig, 1853 edition.

Bach: Goldberg Variations [Gould, 1955], [amazon.com]Bach: The Goldberg Variations [Gould. 1981] [amazon.com] MP3 samples for both.

Two very different approaches to the same work.

In presenting the "Variations" to a modern audience, do you use an arrangement from 1742 or the 1853 Leipzig edition?

Glenn Gould from 1955? Glenn Gould from 1981? Or should you be rolling your own?

The choices are never so simple as mechanically playing a "piano roll" score in the public domain.

Re:Innovate! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35544180)

Because that would be more difficult.

Re:Innovate! (2)

Shikaku (1129753) | about 3 years ago | (#35544222)

They are innovating. Just not in games. See: latest commits to Linux kernel, Apache, LZMA(2), Android, Firefox and Chromium outpacing IE, the website you're posting on...

Re:Innovate! (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 3 years ago | (#35544348)

That's because open-source (for whatever reason) is best suited to programs and hardware - science-type things. While I will not deny that code can be artfully crafted, most code is utilitarian and spartan. Games, like music, are art, which is rarely created well by the conventional open-source system.

I have not yet determined the cause of this divide, but it certainly exists. Once I figure out the reason for it, though, devising a way to make open-source art work should be simple.

Re:Innovate! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35544378)

games take teamwork and management skills, something most independent programmers are not equipped to do. getting them to work together with non-programmers is damned near impossible.

Re:Innovate! (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about 3 years ago | (#35546912)

I don't think that's quite it. After all, the Linux kernel team is pretty well-managed and well-directed.

If anything, I think it's because there's no good way to collaborate on art. SVN and other source-control is too heavily-focused on text - you can't do a diff on a texture, for instance. So you end up with only one or two art passes, instead of the repeated cycles you need. This lends itself to cloning a game rather well, but not for creating a highly original game.

Re:Innovate! (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 3 years ago | (#35552168)

One of the best computer programming courses I took in college was mainly focused on learning how to program in teams. Officially it was about doing computer simulations, but we were working in groups of 4-5 so we could learn how to do that, and we were pretty much free to divide the labor however we wanted, but we did have to learn some basic human communication skills in the process. For bright nerds with egos, which was most of the class, this was a tough course :-)

I'm not much of a gamer, and tend to think of the originality as more about story and characterization than visuals. So Nethack, for instance, grew into a highly original game, even though the graphical aspects were quite simplified.

Re:Innovate! (1)

eugene2k (1213062) | about 3 years ago | (#35544462)

Hint: There is no money in making free art.

No money in making free art (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 3 years ago | (#35547064)

There is, however, art in making free art.

Mod Parent Up, Please (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 3 years ago | (#35552178)

That was a great comment - thanks!

Also, they are making a little money here (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 3 years ago | (#35552308)

They're trying to raise $15K here at Kickstarter, plus whatever they can get from CD sales. They're not going to make a lot of money, compared to the amount of work they're going to need to do, but they're making some money.

And they're going to make the Goldberg Variations a lot more accessible to the public, making it easier for kids (and adults) to learn that level of music skills. Maybe that just brings the world more art, but by putting Free editable versions of the scores out there, it gives people more ability to see what's going on inside the music and build their own variations of the Goldberg Variations. And while there's not much market for playing classical music at bars and nightclubs, there is a market for playing jazz, and there's a huge amount of overlap between jazz and classical.

Re:Innovate! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35544328)

Of course... there's nothing unusual about a Microsoft employee belittling 'innovation' in open source projects. Especially one who thinks bribing elected officials should be legal.

Re:Innovate! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35544758)

This is the same thing as usually with open source projects. I really don't get why open source programmers don't innovate and create something new. I mean, the most popular open source games are bad clones of commercial products. FreeCiv is a perfect example. On top of that the shooter games are all based on ID's engines that are many years old.

All this while open source projects would be the perfect place to really shine with innovation and with something new. Why just copy, why not create something new?

You are missing the point here!
It is not about innovation (go to Micro$oft for that hehe).
It's about making available culture to everyone.

How did you manage to be rated "Insightful"

Re:Innovate! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35544880)

The free software movement was founded to create a free clone of UNIX. There's lots of innovative open source software out there, but it tends to be niche stuff that appeals to a very small audience. Everything popular are basically free clones of popular close-source stuff.

Re:Innovate! (1)

Troll-Under-D'Bridge (1782952) | about 3 years ago | (#35545168)

All this while open source projects would be the perfect place to really shine with innovation and with something new. Why just copy, why not create something new?

First of all, I don't think few things are really new in terms of technological development. Most technology, if not all, is built upon a layer of old technology. The wheel was probably an evolution of the rolling log, a technology that nature invented. Famous computing technology examples: the Macintosh, which "innovated" on top of technologies developed at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center, and Windows, which ... (you get the point).

But if by "new", you mean fairly new, then it's easy to trace the apparent lack of innovation to the shortage or more often absence of designers in open source projects. (This is something Canonical has been trying to address with projects like Unity with I'm not sure what level of success.) Designers are a necessity when dealing with graphical programs which are spatial, as against the more sequential nature of programming.

You can find lots of innovation on the console, which includes software like emacs (an innovation against the line editors of the time), the object-oriented scripting language Python, and even Unix itself. These are "old" examples of innovation, which I mention only because they are pretty well known.

On top of that the shooter games are all based on ID's engines that are many years old.

Not all open-source games are based on the ID engine. Here's one that isn't [sauerbraten.org].

Why not MIDI? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | about 3 years ago | (#35544188)

I'm not suggesting that MIDI would be better, and I'm guessing there are, in fact, some limitations of MIDI that make it inappropriate here, but I'm very curious what those limitations are, and why XML was chosen instead?

Re:Why not MIDI? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35544216)

MIDI is a pita to read.

Re:Why not MIDI? (5, Informative)

Rabbidous (1844966) | about 3 years ago | (#35544226)

Why not midi? As a musician, I'll ask you a parallel question: Why not write all documents in flat text? Who needs bold, underline, different fonts, pagination etc?? Midi doesn't make pretty sheet music. It only notates "note on" or "note off" or "patch change." It doesn't even notate which score a note should be on. This means, for example, that piano music would be just about impossible to play from a raw midi dump. An XML based markup, or the TeX based Lilypond allow for pretty, easy to read, scores. On the other hand, Lilypond has a midi import feature, so MIDI IS useful. It just requires some editing to make it human playable.

Re:Why not MIDI? (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 3 years ago | (#35544460)

That's untrue. There are many other midi events. Maybe you only have a bottom-of-the-line Casio keyboard, that doesn't send out aftertouch signals, but you just need to upgrade your equipment in that case.

Re:Why not MIDI? (3, Informative)

Rabbidous (1844966) | about 3 years ago | (#35544484)

Real sheet music doesn't indicate aftertouch, and a real piano can't even play aftertouch either. I realize there are more events to midi than the ones above, but I was focusing mostly on what you need to know to play a piece of music on an instrument. These are things like phrasing, dynamics, fingerings. It also involves placing notes on the score in a conventional manner so that they are quickly understandable- Whether the stem of a note points up or down, for example, depends on many things, none of which MIDI notates.

Re:Why not MIDI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35544782)

Even so, there is software that can do a fairly good job of (reverse-)engineering a score from MIDI input, such as Sibelius: http://www.sibelius.com/

I have been told that the open source program MuseScore can do this too , but I haven't checked this myself.

Re:Why not MIDI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35549374)

I am glad that it works for you, but I have invariably found Sibelius to produce atrociously poor quality scores from MIDI files. The perennial problem of the notes going out of synch with the beat by a hemidemisemiquaver after a few bars, with non-existent triplets starting to appear shortly after. Same thing with other score editing programmes. It's a problem that never seems to go away.

I have found the latest version of Sibelius to be reasonably competent at creating scores from PDF files, though.

Re:Why not MIDI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35546774)

Why not write all documents in flat text? Who needs bold, underline, different fonts, pagination etc??

Yup, the RTC's from the IETF set the standard. If you don't feel entirely at home reading those, then maybe you're not a real engineer and should go into program management.

Re:Why not MIDI? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 3 years ago | (#35547698)

t doesn't even notate which score a note should be on. This means, for example, that piano music would be just about impossible to play from a raw midi dump.

I've run a few .mid's through Lilypond where no music was available for purchase. It does get the staffs right (MIDI has 'instruments' or channels), but it is ridiculously hard to play. It's best to use the score to get the music into your head, base the dynamics on your memory of the song, then just play it from memory.

Re:Why not MIDI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35548114)

> Why not write all documents in flat text? Who needs bold, underline, different fonts, pagination etc

I agree 100%. That would be awesome. No more need for heavy word processing and problems opening documentation.

Re:Why not MIDI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35548354)

Midi is more like a phonetic rendition (IPA) rather than flat text. Or a tape recording of a reading. Nice to have, but certainly not the preferred form for seaching, indexing, modification and what else.

Re:Why not MIDI? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35549618)

As someone who has learned piano pieces by looking at piano roll representations of MIDI files in a sequencer, i would have to disagree.

The arbitrary usage of a heptatonic scale makes little sense when it all comes down to 12 tones in the end. Traditional notation is not necessarily easier to read at all, it is just far more common among musicians.

Re:Why not MIDI? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 3 years ago | (#35544248)

I guess it's that MIDI doesn't support notational details which don't add to the music, but add to the readability and/or playability of the music (e.g. which notes should be played with the left or right hand; synthesizers tend to not have any hands, after all).

Re:Why not MIDI? (3, Informative)

Cornelius the Great (555189) | about 3 years ago | (#35544258)

MIDI is very limited. MIDI was set up 30 years ago as a communication interface, and by today's standards it's a poor one- you're limited to one note per millisecond. IIRC, you are also limited to 16 channels, so composing scores for an entire orchestra is out of the question.

To top it all off, it wasn't meant for music notation. Symbols like Accelerandos, Ritardandos are notably absent- changes to tempos are hardcoded. Many other symbols are absent as well. Sometimes notes need to be formatted in a special way (ie- for readability, or left/right hand on piano).

Anyone who has ever composed in Finale, Sibelius, etc and tried to export to midi will notice the limitations right away. Why, what's your beef with XML anyway?

Re:Why not MIDI? (1)

dieth (951868) | about 3 years ago | (#35548896)

Most XML I've ever seen is excessive data packaging. My view of XML is pretty much the same as of these bananas [friendseat.com].

Lilypond? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35544260)

Better yet, why not Lilypond (which is just nearing its 2.14 release)? It arguably produces the most beautiful musical scores (since that's specifically what it was designed to do), and it's Free software.

Re:Lilypond? (3, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | about 3 years ago | (#35544310)

While Lilypond produces beautiful scores, the syntax of its files is not very stable and changes from version to version. If you want to release a free edition of a score, then better to distribute it in a fairly established and unchanging XML format, which might then be automatically converted to the latest Lilypond instructions for engraving.

Re:Why not MIDI? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35544316)

Music notation is fairly complex. Good notation is easy to read, and what makes it easy to read involves a lot of creativity on the part of the publisher, which is why good scores for music composed in the 18th century are still expensive today.

MIDI can express the notes being played, and any notation software can render that information in a printable form, but it won't be clearly readable by a human being, even though it is technically accurate. What's being produced here is everything on the printed page that MIDI cannot express.

What MIDI can be used for is recording the performance. MIDI can express a piano performance perfectly (although it does a lousy job with most other instruments). However, while it's nice for the performance to be released to the public domain, that's not particularly interesting.

Re:Why not MIDI? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35545210)

What the FUCK? MIDI can render piano "perfectly"? Are you mad? 128 levels of velocity is absolutely woeful when it comes to phrasing and articulation.

Re:Why not MIDI? (1)

npsimons (32752) | about 3 years ago | (#35544702)

I'm not suggesting that MIDI would be better, and I'm guessing there are, in fact, some limitations of MIDI that make it inappropriate here, but I'm very curious what those limitations are, and why XML was chosen instead?

From what little experience I've had composing on the computer, I can say that MIDI doesn't create scores very well. Just importing random MIDIs to notation in RoseGarden usually ends up unreadable/unplayable by human beings. Usually it's best to keep the source format in something more exact and portable, which can then be rendered to MIDI (sort of like ripping all your samples or tracks to FLAC, and mixing to OGG for release). Last I checked, there are many pieces of software that can use MusicXML [wikipedia.org]

Some links:

Re:Why not MIDI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35545778)

because no one named 'MIDI' offered to pitch-in

For The Uninitiated (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35544196)

The Goldberg Variations [wikipedia.org] were made a pop classic (oxymoron?) by Glenn Gould in 1955, becoming a million seller. If you're new to Bach try The Well-Tempered Clavier [wikipedia.org]. A. Hewitt's recordings of both of the above are more recent and very good in my opinion.

Re:For The Uninitiated (3, Informative)

e9th (652576) | about 3 years ago | (#35544692)

Just before he pulps Lt. Boyle & Sgt. Pembry in The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal Lecter is listening to the Goldberg Variations. The aria, if memory serves.

Re:For The Uninitiated (2)

rDouglass (1068738) | about 3 years ago | (#35544774)

Correct! And in Hannibal Rising, and in Slaughterhouse Five, and in The Day the Earth Stood Still, and a dozen others. This music is epic.

Re:For The Uninitiated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35548128)

Yes, it is a well known fact that people who appreciate classical music are psycho's.
But did you know that Clockwork Orange, the ultra evil protagonist listens to Beethoven?
I would not let my children experiment with the classics.

Re:For The Uninitiated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35548422)

So are people who like Genesis or Huey Lewis and the News. What's your point?

Copyright free scores already exist... (3, Informative)

gnud (934243) | about 3 years ago | (#35544238)

While I'm certainly not opposed to the idea, both scores and recordings exists that are out of copyright. Bach is probably one of the easier composers to get hold of both scores and recordings.

There are several copyright-free scores at IMLSP (direct link) [imslp.org].

Re:Copyright free scores already exist... (3, Informative)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about 3 years ago | (#35544360)

While I'm certainly not opposed to the idea, both scores and recordings exists that are out of copyright. Bach is probably one of the easier composers to get hold of both scores and recordings.

There are several copyright-free scores at IMLSP (direct link) [imslp.org].

There are a few PD or CC versions there (among many which must be purchased). One problem is that the PD ones are mostly just bitmap scans of ancient prints, and the CC ones are PDFs. The PDFs are neater and cleaner than the scans, but neither of them is a "source" code - you cannot easily modify the score to make your own variations in tempo through a piece, for example, or add an extra instrument to augment the piece. That is probably the greatest benefit of releasing scores in XML or TeX format - the ability to easily adapt or modify them.

Re:Copyright free scores already exist... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35546412)

you cannot easily modify the score

Unless you have a printer and a pencil. White-out is optional.

Re:Copyright free scores already exist... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35549306)

I beg to differ. It doesn't take much effort to find Lilypond versions: http://www.google.com/search?q=goldberg%20variations%20filetype%3Aly [google.com] leads quickly to this set of scores [mutopiaproject.org] with copies here [ibiblio.org] and here [uwaterloo.ca], all of which provide the score as Lilypond files, as well as PDFs and MIDI.

So it seems worth asking again: what is the new thing that this project is bringing to the table?

Re:Copyright free scores already exist... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35544368)

IMSLP is great, but all their scores are scans of old editions. To use the same analogy of the submitter, these scans are like a binary distribution of a piece of software, whereas the MuseScore version is the source code.

At the absolute minimum, it will allow you to control the way the score is laid out on the page. However, TFA suggests that the new score will actually have a lot more benefits than that -- it will include modern editorial suggestions, for example. (When it comes to Bach, that's very important.)

Re:Copyright free scores already exist... (5, Informative)

jewelises (739285) | about 3 years ago | (#35544392)

Also check out Musopen [musopen.org], a large collection of public-domain classical music recordings and sheet music. They take donations and use those donations to hire professional artists to make new recordings of the pieces and then put them into the public domain.

Re:Copyright free scores already exist... (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | about 3 years ago | (#35544408)

I am totally opposed to this! What incentive is there for Bach to write more music if it's just going to be given away?

Re:Copyright free scores already exist... (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | about 3 years ago | (#35544654)

Indeed! And how are his heirs and lawyers for his estate to survive? Harumph! Harumph!

Re:Copyright free scores already exist... (2)

rDouglass (1068738) | about 3 years ago | (#35544668)

IMSLP is a partner of the Open Goldberg Project and would be the first to say that we're contributing something new and unique. There are no "source code" versions of the Goldbergs that are machine readable and in public domain. There are also no modern recordings by esteemed artists that will have no usage limitations. Beyond that I can personally vouch for the exciting fact that Ishizaka is going to add something new and special to the corpus of Goldberg recordings.

Re:Copyright free scores already exist... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35545136)

Mutopia has CC machine-readable source-available LilyPond versions: http://www.mutopiaproject.org/cgibin/make-table.cgi?Composer=BachJS . Not sure how good MuseScore is at reading .ly files, but starting there could save you a lot of work.

Mutopia (1)

Troll-Under-D'Bridge (1782952) | about 3 years ago | (#35545872)

Also try the Mutopia Project [mutopiaproject.org], which has user-contributed sheet music in Lilypond format. Ready-to-print PDF output, as well as computer-generated MIDI format previews of the music, are also available on the site. (The last time I tried to mirror its music files resulted in a 1.4 GB file dump. It had some Bach, although I'm not sure if the Goldberg Variations was among them.)

$1000 concert (3, Interesting)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | about 3 years ago | (#35544340)

I just sent that website to our local Economic Development Office. How often do you get an offer from a world-famous pianist to play a concert for only $1000 plus travel costs (from Germany, where she is.) The whole production would end up costing under $10,000 which seems like a steal to me.

alternative to lilypond (4, Interesting)

bcrowell (177657) | about 3 years ago | (#35544380)

Apparently MuseScore has been around for a long time in some form, but only recently has it started to become a real contender in same music notation space as Finale and Lilypond -- I had barely played with it until today.

Previously I've used Lilypond, which is very feature rich and produced beautiful output, but there were some things I didn't like about it. It's a non-GUI program, which is fine with me, but they kept changing the syntax of the language. Every time I installed a new version of Lilypond, I'd have to convert all my old files to the new version, and that was a big hassle. Also, for many musicians who are not programmers, the non-GUI nature of Lilypond meant that they weren't going to use it. Although there were GUI front-ends such as Denemo and Rosegarden, progress seemed extremely slow. I would check back every few years and find that they weren't really that much more capable than the last time I'd checked.

Re:alternative to lilypond (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35544818)

Although there were GUI front-ends such as Denemo and Rosegarden, progress seemed extremely slow. I would check back every few years and find that they weren't really that much more capable than the last time I'd checked.

Nobody ever promised you a Rosegarden.

Re:alternative to lilypond (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35545894)

I'd have to convert all my old files to the new version, and that was a big hassle.

Really? convert-ly *.ly is a big hassle? :P

Re:alternative to lilypond (1)

bcrowell (177657) | about 3 years ago | (#35547262)

Yes, for a variety of reasons. (a) Convert-ly doesn't always work. (b) I have to relearn the relevant parts of the language myself. (c) I have other software that generates lilypond code as output and takes it as input.

There are lots of good reasons why we don't redefine the syntax of Java or HTML every year and just tell everyone to run their code through a converter. All of those reasons apply to Lilypond.

Better way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35544466)

Wouldn't renting a Eastern European or South Asian orchestra for relatively cheap and recording bunch of stuff to be released on public domain be better use for the money? Of course some people will have issue with exploiting underpaid people like that.

Other Instruments? (1)

CptSpatula (614965) | about 3 years ago | (#35544482)

Cool. I'd like to see them performed on a harpsichord too, for historical reasons. Or perhaps a performance of the seminal organ works.

Re:Other Instruments? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35544714)

I love historical accuracy as much as the next guy... but dear sweet baby jesus, please let them do it on piano. Or both. But not just harpsichord.

This is great! (5, Insightful)

npsimons (32752) | about 3 years ago | (#35544838)

In case you've never heard of the Goldberg Variations, I suggest having a listen to either of the versions by Glenn Gould (1955 or 1981). Both are incredible, and the technicality of the piece is staggering; there is one movement with differing time signatures (18/16 and 3/4) on each hand, that exchange hands, repeatedly . There are some who consider it good thinking music.

It's funny, but I had never noticed until now that there aren't public domain versions of this piece; it's really quite eye-opening that people can recognize probably half a dozen classical pieces because they've been used so much (because they are public domain), but one of the greatest pieces by one of the greatest composers hasn't entered into the public awareness simply because of the tyranny known as copyright.

Re:This is great! (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | about 3 years ago | (#35545526)

hasn't entered into the public awareness simply because of the tyranny known as copyright.

Copyright has long since expired on many editions of the scores, there are piles of PDF scans available. No one apparently has taken the time to enter it into a computer readable format, mainly becuase it's huge.

And free recordings are hard to come by, because the people who can play it already have contracts so they can't release a free version.

So to correct your statement, no one with the skills needed has taken the time to make a free version. Copyright has nearly nothing to do with it.

I stand corrected (1)

npsimons (32752) | about 3 years ago | (#35551156)

Copyright has long since expired on many editions of the scores, there are piles of PDF scans available. No one apparently has taken the time to enter it into a computer readable format, mainly becuase it's huge.

I find this surprising. People have created open source projects in their spare time that rival the largest corporate or government software projects. Why not transcription projects of this scale?

And free recordings are hard to come by, because the people who can play it already have contracts so they can't release a free version.

This makes sense. Still, I'm surprised that even some of the easier movements (say, the first or the last) don't have PD recordings yet.

Re:I stand corrected (1)

TheoMurpse (729043) | about 3 years ago | (#35551666)

Why not transcription projects of this scale?

Because it is unnecessary to transcribe a piece of music in order to perform it freely.

On the other hand, it is sometimes necessary to code your own program to accomplish a task freely.

And the open source projects that rival huge commercial projects tend to have corporate backers who use it to sell services and such. I'm not sure the same type of economic strategy would work for music transcription.

Re:This is great! (2)

Threni (635302) | about 3 years ago | (#35545758)

Ironically, the Gould recordings are now out of copyright in the UK.

http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.111247 [naxos.com]
"Not available in the United States, Australia and Singapore due to possible copyright restrictions"

Re:This is great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35551478)

Ironically, the Gould recordings are now out of copyright in the UK.

http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.111247 [naxos.com]
"Not available in the United States, Australia and Singapore due to possible copyright restrictions"

Out of copyright in Canada, too. (Fifty years' term).

-Gareth

Re:This is great! (2)

krsmav (1410223) | about 3 years ago | (#35549786)

The Goldberg Variations is of course PD. The International Music Scores Project/Petrucci Music Library has half a dozen versions freely available at http://imslp.org/wiki/Goldberg-Variationen,_BWV_988_(Bach,_Johann_Sebastian) [imslp.org]

Why piano when Bach required a 2-keyboard instm't? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35545322)

Some of the variations in the Goldberg Variations specify that they are to be performed using two keyboards, so that a note that is currently sounding on one keyboard can be restruck on the second keyboard. Why in the world would someone choose an instrument that was physically incapable of meeting the composer's explicitly written (in the score) requirements?

Re:Why piano when Bach required a 2-keyboard instm (1)

ailnlv (1291644) | about 3 years ago | (#35547732)

you know that pianos have a sustain pedal for a reason, right? you can achieve that exact effect with a single piano

Glen Gould's rendition is still the standard... (1)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | about 3 years ago | (#35546766)

by which others are judged.

Both the 1955 and 1981 ("purists prefer the former") recordings are pure genius if you can ignore Gould humming in the background while he plays. It's unfortunate that Gould is no longer around to play yet another rendition to publicize a freely available score.

For those who care:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenn_Gould [wikipedia.org]

Re:Glen Gould's rendition is still the standard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35547176)

"Purists" prefer harpsichord. Gustav Leonhardt comes to mind before Gould. That being said, the more quality copyright-free classical music "we" have, the better.

Re:Glen Gould's rendition is still the standard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35547964)

"purists prefer the former"

Posting AC I'm not about to try to press home my point, but, in my readings, the main reason the '55 recording is so loved is because Gould played impertinently, refusing to play legato, i.e., smoothly. btw the '55 recording is far and away my favourite.

Re:Glen Gould's rendition is still the standard... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35551868)

I have heard both. Yes, both are pure genius, but sonically, I prefer the 1981. I don't ignore the humming because the way that it is in the recording, IMHO, adds a bit of personal character without being flamboyant and it lends a bit of insight into his mood at the time. My two best places to listen to the recordings are at home, when no one is around and the dog is in my lap, and when driving on a long trip.

Interesting, but... (4, Informative)

bleh_fu (870974) | about 3 years ago | (#35547622)

Contrary to TFA, there are CC licensed scores in Lilypond format available through Mutopia [mutopiaproject.org]. As far as PDF scans and such, as other posters have mentioned, there are innumerable resources [mcgill.ca].

The big questions for me (disclaimer: I'm a professional classical pianist) is that of scholarly review. The go-to publisher for Bach today is Bärenreiter/Neue Bach Ausgabe [baerenreiter.com], and by and large, any edition of Bach that I use that isn't Bärenreiter should ideally be cross referenced with it. Of course, it is very expensive to purchase, but it is one item that any university with a music program simply must have in its library. What concerns me is that TFA simply is vague who or what they mean by scholarly review, and this alone would prevent me from considering it over current alternatives.

IMHO the value in the project will be a (hopefully) excellent recording that is CC licensed, as there doesn't appear to be any decent recordings of the sort (through a cursory search), unless you include Wanda Landowska's eccentric harpsichord recordings [archive.org] from 1945. Genius is already easily available in recordings on piano by Gould [amazon.com] (both 1955 and 1981), Schiff [amazon.com], Hewitt [amazon.com], Barenboim [amazon.com], Perahia [amazon.com], and Leonhardt [amazon.com] on harpsichord.

Open music is starting to go somewhere (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#35549268)

And it's not just in composition software or performances like in the article.

There's some nice synth/digital audio workstation software too. These come fairly well packaged with their own sample kits, integrated synthesizers, LADSPA effects, and plugin support for other things like soundfonts and VST effects and instruments. I believe all of them also save music in XML as well. (Perhaps not the same exact format, but I'm sure they'd be easy enough to convert since labels appear to make sense.) XML is kind of cool, because it should be possible to integrate music into other things with scripting that can readily parse it for things like light-shows or 3D animation. (Easy to trigger events in different ways. So now its just a matter of imagination limiting how one would geek-out with music.) In a way the current FOSS music software scene it reminds me of where FOSS 3D software was about 10 years ago. Tons of potential, just needs people to get on the bandwagon so that it can further develop and match or exceed its commercial peers.

Ardour [ardour.org] for Linux and OSX. This one is supposed to be nice. (I haven't tried it yet. I'm waiting for somebody to roll out the Win32 binary.) From what I've seen, it's geared towards the professional. (Looks similar to Cubase?)

LMMS [sourceforge.net] for Linux and Windows. From my experience this one is very easy to use (similar to FL Studio, from what many have said), but has many rough edges. So as quick as it is to get going and doing some very complex things, doing some things with fine control or nuance is harder than it should be. But don't knock it, it's very powerful for what it is.

Unison Music Production Studio [sourceforge.net] for ???... They still haven't started much yet. I've heard comments that LMMS is supposed to merge with this. I'm taking the wait and see approach here.

Some examples? Sure. I think the music in these videos represents the software fairly well.
NIN remix in Ardour [youtube.com]
An original score made using LMMS. [youtube.com]

I'll also mention Audacity [sourceforge.net] even though it's not a DAW, it is a rather nice recording software and it works well for using alongside the other software here. But I'm sure everyone here already knows about this one.

So if you're a musician or perhaps just wanting to play around with music as a hobby, there's plenty of software to look into. No more excuses about not being able to afford it.

Encourage this, and prosper from it (1)

Gnaythan1 (214245) | about 3 years ago | (#35551098)

Once this goes into the public domain.... Once the music is available... Use it.

Make videos with it as the background, put it in your products, play it at your corporate events, use the hell out of it. FREE is FREE. Of course you can profit from it... as long as you add value to it. The only thing you can't do with it, is prevent other people from doing the same damn thing.

I don't understand the confusion here. Why aren't businesses doing this all the time, so they don't have to pay anyone for the rights to something that was written before my grandfathers father was born. Every new movie with a classical soundtrack should be doing this as a matter of course.

Thank you Slashdot! (1)

rDouglass (1068738) | about 3 years ago | (#35551798)

24 hours of being on the front page of Slashdot added $7,000 of value to the Open Goldberg Variations project. Thank you from the whole team!
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