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"Open Source Bach" Project Completed; Score and Recording Now Online

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the refined-free-software-zealots dept.

Music 110

rDouglass writes "MuseScore, the open source music notation editor, and pianist Kimiko Ishizaka have released a new recording and digital edition of Bach's Goldberg Variations. The works are released under the Creative Commons Zero license to promote the broadest possible free use of the works. The score underwent two rounds of public peer review, drawing on processes normally applied to open source software. Furthermore, the demands of Bach's notational style drove significant advancements in the MuseScore open source project. The recording was made on a Bösendorfer 290 Imperial piano in the Teldex Studio of Berlin. Anne-Marie Sylvestre, a Canadian record producer, was inspired by the project and volunteered her time to edit and produce the recording. The project was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign that was featured on Slashdot in March 2011."

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lol worthy summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40140921)

The score underwent two rounds of public peer review, drawing on processes normally applied to open source software.

Other than high profile projects. 99.99% of open source projects have no such thing.

Re:lol worthy summary (1)

socceroos (1374367) | more than 2 years ago | (#40149735)

The statement isn't as inaccurate as you might think.

"Public peer review" is something that is naturally inherent in an open source project due to the source code being available for all to see, contribute, review, whatever.

Miss Amiga? Try DragonFly! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40140937)

AmigaOS vets can find an upgrade path in DragonFly BSD [trollaxor.com] .

Wait (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40140939)

Bash is open source... oh.

Re:Wait (5, Funny)

cpghost (719344) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141393)

No, that's Bach: Bash running on top of Mach.

Re:Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40141533)

No, that's Bach: Bash running on top of Mach

That lazy Bash tard is a war criminal.

Re:Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40152187)

"Bach" is the German word for "brook", an open source.

free != easy (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 2 years ago | (#40140959)

Hopefully these improvements to MuseScore will make it easier to use, because so far I have not been able to get much done with it just out of the difficulty of using it. The interface is really unintuitive. I don't think I've ever found a music scoring program that is easy to use.

Re:free != easy (5, Informative)

thomasbonte (2021346) | more than 2 years ago | (#40140983)

Here is a good article by Alexander Prodoukine in which it's explained how MuseScore improved while typesetting the Goldberg Variations: http://libregraphicsworld.org/blog/entry/open-goldberg-variations-mission-accomplished [libregraphicsworld.org]

Re:free != easy (4, Insightful)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141049)

It seems a little backwards, though. Lilypond may be hard to use, but it's very powerful and produces gorgeous scores - and all the variations are on Mutopia already [mutopiaproject.org] .

Re:free != easy (1)

thomasbonte (2021346) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141265)

Lilypond does not have MusicXML export, so anything you make in Lilypond is not exportable via the sheet music exchange standard. This is different for this project: you get the Goldberg Variations in MuseScore source format and MusicXML, and many other formats (pdf, midi, ...) So whatever notation software you use (MuseScore, Sibelius, Finale, ...), you'll be able to import the Goldberg score and adapt it to your needs.

Re:free != easy (1)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141289)

That seems incredibly short sited. Lilypond is OSS, and ly files are plain text. I'd much rather have something in one format that produces excellent output, than crappy output from 10 different progs.

Re:free != easy (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141707)

It's open source. Create the lilypond files yourself.

Re:free != easy (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 2 years ago | (#40142973)

I can't say I've used MuseScore (though I will check it out), but it has Lilypond export.

I'm not quite sure what that means though; whether you lose a lot in translation, or MuseScore pushes its defaults so that they're hard to remove, and such.

Re:free != easy (1)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 2 years ago | (#40145337)

It might be a start. Getting the best out of lilypond will require manual tweaking though. It certainly is a pretty idiosyncratic program, but if you half-way know what you're doing it'll produce output better than commercial packages costing hundreds of dollars. Maybe when I get home I'll typeset 8 bars or so from one of the variations in Lilypond, and also Notion 3 - Notion is commercial software (~$300) but it's much more useful than lilypond for _writing_ music, since it can do live play and enables quick experimentation. It's typesetting is OK but not superb.

Re:free != easy (1)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141365)

So, what you get is the ability to import it to non-free notation software? And... inferior ones at that? (Or so I hear. I haven't used Finale since its pre-OSX days, but I've heard no one claim it made prettier scores than Lilypond).

Lilypond does of course give PDF and midi exports as well.

Re:free != easy (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141519)

I'm more interested in knowing how the rendering of the music as a score has changed how an automaton (or a human unfamiliar with the piece) would interpret that score and play the music back. If that's unchanged - has there actually been any progress?

I also wonder if they have sanity-checking - Just in the first few minutes of listening whilst reading along I noticed a natural modifier to a note which was not sharp (nor flat) according to the key signature, nor which had been modified previously, and therefore did not need the natural sign (e.g. var. 6, bar 16, the middle C). I've not read any music for *many* decades - someone else should have spotted this!

(Yeah, yeah, if it's open, I should just submit a patch...)

Re:free != easy (2)

pnot (96038) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141941)

I also wonder if they have sanity-checking - Just in the first few minutes of listening whilst reading along I noticed a natural modifier to a note which was not sharp (nor flat) according to the key signature, nor which had been modified previously, and therefore did not need the natural sign (e.g. var. 6, bar 16, the middle C). I've not read any music for *many* decades - someone else should have spotted this!

If you've not read any music in decades, I suppose you can be forgiven for not knowing about courtesy accidentals.

But also, if you've not read any music in decades, perhaps you shouldn't be so quick to condemn others' painstaking work purely on the basis on your personal judgement.

Re:free != easy (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40142657)

Well, thank you for the forgiveness. I indeed think that I've *never* encountered courtesy accidentals not in brackets. I suspect I wouldn't have flinched if the brackets had been there.

I ran off to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accidental_(music) which expresses what I think should be the ideal: "Cautionary accidentals or naturals (in parentheses) may be used to clarify ambiguities, but should be held to a minimum." Looking back at the document, it seems it also likes to cancel accidentals in different octaves from where they were applied in different bars, which seems even more redundant. Worse than that - they're cancelling accidentals in different octaves in different bars in different staves from where they were applied (var. 14, bar 17) - that's just excessive.

So this document has no brackets, and has not minimised the use of them in any way at all, in fact, it seems to have maximised the use of them. And this is not my unique personal judgement, a bevvy of wikipedia contributors who care about music notation seem to agree.

However, it does at least appear to be consistent, which is the most important thing, so its preferences could be considered a publisher's house style and just something you have to get used to.

Re:free != easy (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 2 years ago | (#40143145)

It's funny, I was just playing around with a different music editor (Denemo) transcribing some written music. And that piece had a bunch of accidentals that were unnecessary and unbracketed. But it seemed to be somewhat arbitrary; some advisory accidentals were normal accidentals, some were in brackets, and some places I would have expected them based on other uses were missing.

There were advisory accidentals that crossed both barlines and octaves. Dunno if I saw cancels of cross-bar, cross-octave accidentals. :-)

I don't know if this was just sloppy editing or someone actually preferred it.

(Actually to be honest, I played cello in school orchestra for 9 years (basically stopping about a decade ago actually), I actually didn't know that accidentals didn't cross octaves until looking into related issues.)

Re:free != easy (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 2 years ago | (#40143203)

However, it does at least appear to be consistent, which is the most important thing, so its preferences could be considered a publisher's house style and just something you have to get used to.

Actually one other possibility strikes my mind, which is that the style of accidentals in that copy were actually what was used in Bach's time, and the current norm arose later (and was typically retroactively applied to earlier works). If that's true, then this effort could be an attempt to be "true to the original", so to speak.

Of course, this is complete and utter speculation, as I haven't read TFA or anything. :-)

Re:free != easy (1)

pnot (96038) | more than 2 years ago | (#40145031)

Well, thank you for the forgiveness. I indeed think that I've *never* encountered courtesy accidentals not in brackets. I suspect I wouldn't have flinched if the brackets had been there.

Strange, I think I've seen them more often without brackets than with. Grabbing the first score I could find (Beethoven, Piano sonata no. 8, ed. D. F. Tovey, published by ABRSM) I see that none of the accidentals are bracketed. But doubtless it varies between countries, genres, publishers, and so forth.

I ran off to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accidental_(music) [wikipedia.org] which expresses what I think should be the ideal: "Cautionary accidentals or naturals (in parentheses) may be used to clarify ambiguities, but should be held to a minimum."

But do note that Wikipedia presents this as an "alternate system" contrasted with the "tradition [which] is still in use particularly in tonal music".

Worse than that - they're cancelling accidentals in different octaves in different bars in different staves from where they were applied (var. 14, bar 17) - that's just excessive.

I admit that that one seems pretty bizarre to me too. For what it's worth, I've never really liked courtesy accidentals (my mathematical brain disdains such illogical redundancy), but I've always accepted them as a time-hallowed convention.

Re:free != easy (1)

mako1138 (837520) | more than 2 years ago | (#40145329)

I don't think usage is as consistent as WP would imply. In pieces with key signatures with lots of flats or sharps, you tend to get naturals without parentheses because it would be too cluttered to put them in.

Re:free != easy (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40160047)

> In pieces with key signatures with lots of flats or sharps, you tend to get naturals without parentheses because it would be too cluttered to put them in.

You misunderstand the nub of my point - the ones I'm complaining about one could completely do without as they are redundant.

Re:free != easy (1)

pnot (96038) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141145)

Hopefully these improvements to MuseScore will make it easier to use, because so far I have not been able to get much done with it just out of the difficulty of using it. The interface is really unintuitive. I don't think I've ever found a music scoring program that is easy to use.

Have you tried Sibelius?

Now Seeding (5, Informative)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 2 years ago | (#40140961)

The MP3 files, along with 45 others or so - http://download.opengoldbergvariations.org/open_goldberg_variations_mp3_24_44.zip?torrent [opengoldbe...ations.org]

Re:Now Seeding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40141251)

The MP3 files, along with 45 others or so - http://download.opengoldbergvariations.org/open_goldberg_variations_mp3_24_44.zip?torrent [opengoldbe...ations.org]

Mp3s ? No no no, it's FLAC all the way baby.
FLAC at 24bit/96khz goodness.

Re:Now Seeding (2)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141333)

Amen! Boost my download speed by participating in the FLAC torrent!

http://bit.ly/KLGnUX [bit.ly]

Re:Now Seeding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40143803)

Are the trackers working for others? I'm getting errors.

Re:Now Seeding (2)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#40144913)

Why the shortened URL? I know you're not a spammer or a troll, but I'm really uncomfortable going to any shortener from slashdot. What's the full address?

Re:Now Seeding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40149923)

http://bit.ly/KLGnUX+ [bit.ly]
Happy now?

Re:Now Seeding (1)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#40151631)

Sorry. That was what was posted on the source site.

Re:Now Seeding (4, Funny)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141331)

The content is f*in great.
Thanks a lot to everyone involved!

PS : I want to punch someone in the face each time I see those __MACOSX folders in .zip files.

Re:Now Seeding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40144343)

PS : I want to punch someone in the face each time I see those __MACOSX folders in .zip files.

  1. They are not visible to the user who produced the file.
  2. There's a good technical reason those files exist.

So what's your real complaint? Zip archives should have some other form of metadata storage? The Mac system archiver should not include metadata by default? Or is some sort of mac jealousy -- these files aren't useful to you, so they aren't useful? Or are you just stupid and angry?

p.s. slashdot allows <ol> but doesn't number the <li>s? Wtf?

Re:Now Seeding (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#40144683)

It shouldn't include them.

You're archiving a directory with the assumption that you are archiving those files and their data, unmodified, and not including anything else the format doesn't support. Like everyone else. Mac is operating on the assumption that it knows better than you, and deviates from this pattern.

How would you like it if a tar archive came along with a __UBUNTU filled with unnecessary crap related to Canonical's (non existing but just imagine it exists for the benefit of this point) proprietary indexing system? You bet your ass the rest of us Linux users would be driven up the wall.

Re:Now Seeding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40148375)

Long-time Mac user here and the invisible files Mac OS X drops around the place are very annoying in a cross-platform environment. There should be a way of stopping them appearing on, for example, FAT-formatted USB drives and sticks. And when I say "there should be a way" that means a check box in a control panel. It's a Mac after all...

Re:Now Seeding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40150651)

As a Linux user I'm happy with things as they are. It amuses me when I open a zip file and find all kinds of extra gunk for other platforms, particularly when that extra gunk is invisible to users of those platforms. There was also a ".DS_store" file (or something like that) in the main directory and something else I've now forgotten. Also, the flac files had trivial permission settings (I guess Windows doesn't have access permissions for files).

However, just copying the flacs (and pdf) is very simple and changing the permissions is easy too.

The important things are there though:
- Storing in flac rather than mp3. This is worth a great deal to me!
- Long filenames! Manually naming 8.3 filenames is not fun.

If the extra metadata files help people on other OSs then I'm all for it.

Re:Now Seeding (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40146841)

Thanks.

Bit of a noob question... fairly often in the pieces, there's this noise-- like someone trying to snort a breath through a blocked nose. Example Variatio 24 a 1 Clav. Canone all'Ottava at 2:00

Is that actually someone who couldn't be bothered to find a kleenex, even though there was a recording going on, or is it some other audio artifact I'm unaware of? The sound of an automatic page turner?

Re:Now Seeding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40151477)

It sounds very similar to the sound that is produced when you press the sustain pedal without pressing any keys. Some of the high end digital grand pianos even replicate that sound.

Re:Now Seeding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40152199)

Just another consequence of the fact that Glenn Gould was seminal for playing the Goldberg variations on a piano rather than the harpsichord. Get the original Gould recording for lots of humming and hawing and snorting.

This is the kind of story that belongs on /. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40140969)

Help restore /. to its former nerd news glory, tag stories like this with realslash to tell the editors that we want our favorite site back.

If you don't think that /. has anything resembling a glorious past, consider this an effort to improve things for the future.

Thank you for making /. a better place for nerds everywhere!

Re:This is the kind of story that belongs on /. (4, Funny)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#40140995)

Fuck that, I want more slashvertisements and blog posts passed off as news.

Re:This is the kind of story that belongs on /. (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#40153029)

Fuck that, I want more slashvertisements and blog posts passed off as news.

Why not try visiting this site? [slashdot.org]

Re:This is the kind of story that belongs on /. UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40141095)

MODDER UP!

How do you review this sort of thing (1)

feepcreature (623518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40140993)

TFA is a bit light. I'm wondering how you review a score? Was it "muse score software didn't display this note properly", or "the music would sound better if you went up instead of down here, or repeated a theme differently"?

Open source music, now there's an idea. Could be like composing by committee...

Re:How do you review this sort of thing (1)

pnot (96038) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141129)

TFA is a bit light. I'm wondering how you review a score? Was it "muse score software didn't display this note properly", or "the music would sound better if you went up instead of down here, or repeated a theme differently"?

I think it would be along the lines of "this acciacatura is too close" or "this slur is too high", with the occasional "wrong note". As to suggesting improvements to the music itself, you might be about 270 years late for that -- at least if you want JSB to sign off on them :-). Still, nothing to stop you forking the score, I guess.

Re:How do you review this sort of thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40141165)

A couple things:
      1) There are a lot of issues around layout, honestly. Typesetting would be the corresponding field in text. How do you group sets of either/sixteenth notes: should they be in groups of two to notate the beat? four because that's how they're phrased? Is that accidental in a place that makes it easy to read and unambiguous about which note it applies to (especially if more than one note in a close chord has an accidental)? How many bars should there be per line? Is this page break in a reasonable place to turn a page, or are both hands busy at that point, leaving you no good place to reach up to the music?
      2) Despite having literally centuries of time to review it, there are typos that seem to creep in. Every classical score I've ever worked with had at least one typo.

Re:How do you review this sort of thing (1)

wrook (134116) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141187)

I hope a musician will respond. I don't really know, but my understanding is that old scores are not completely precise. They leave a lot implied based on the way everyone did things during period that they were composed. Since we don't have recordings, we don't know exactly how they were done at that time.

The problem has been that musical historians do research and make a modern score from the original. The modern score is easy to understand for modern practices. But this new score comes with a new copyright. Even though the original score has long been out of copyright, we never get a modern score that is out of copyright. One could argue that a score from the early 20th century should be good enough, but my impression is that a lot of things have been cleared up since then, which is why we want scores with current information.

The peer review is necessary to make sure that the interpretations that were made with this score match the current thinking. Or, that's my completely naive impression based on things I've read elsewhere.

In any case, I really welcome this development. I gave a quick listen to it and it sounds pretty good. I'm torrenting the FLAC now. I'll have to find a way to send some money their way. It would be great if we could get more of this.

Re:How do you review this sort of thing (4, Insightful)

Suferick (2438038) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141319)

Not a musician but married to a composer and pianist.

Old scores are not precise in the way that modern ones are. A lot depends on little things that were never written down, particularly if the composer performed the work himself; ornaments (trills and the like) would be put in at the performer's discretion, and in the 18th century at any rate, performers were expected to supply a good deal of ornamentation themselves. There is a definite trend over the years of specifying more and more exactly how the composer wants the music to be played.

Another aspect with something like the Goldbergs is that many players will now play it on the piano, for which Bach wrote nothing. The mechanics of the harpsichord or clavichord are very different, so that the modern score editor has the option, if not the obligation, to insert dynamics or pedalling that are only appropriate to the modern instrument.

Re:How do you review this sort of thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40142273)

Old scores are not precise in the way that modern ones are. A lot depends on little things that were never written down, particularly if the composer performed the work himself; ornaments (trills and the like) would be put in at the performer's discretion, and in the 18th century at any rate, performers were expected to supply a good deal of ornamentation themselves. There is a definite trend over the years of specifying more and more exactly how the composer wants the music to be played.

This is a very interesting statement to me. From what little I know, my impression was that the trend was in the other direction, based on indeterminacy [wikipedia.org] composers like John Cage and Terry Riley (notably, In C [wikipedia.org] ).

Re:How do you review this sort of thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40144789)

As anecdotal evidence, I have a notebook with music that are facsimiles from 17:th century sheet music. If it was Beatles the music would basically read the chords CFG. Ornamentation and even improvisation is a huge part of playing that music.

Re:How do you review this sort of thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40147637)

I play tin whistle and Highland bagpipe.

Whistle music tends to be "bare," with the melody only. Ornamentation/embellishments is not notated, and is up to the individual performer. When performing in a group the end result is heterophonic, with different performers using different embellishments at the same time, in the same melody.

  Bagpipes have two different kinds of music, the light music and the piobaireachd. Light music notates all embellishments, etc. There is very little room for an individual to add expression, because it is almost always played in large bands. Piobaireachd also notates the embellishments, but the durations of the notes can vary. Piobaireachd is non-mensural, it has no barlines or time signature. It's traditionally passed along via canntaireachd, a form of singing that has different phrases for each note and embellishment. Piobaireachd is normally played solo.

It's interesting how the notation styles differ. Tunes for both instruments are traditionally learned by ear, and modern notation is just an aid.

Re:How do you review this sort of thing (0)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#40153077)

I play tin whistle and Highland bagpipe.

Why?

Re:How do you review this sort of thing (5, Informative)

Lancey (2650259) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141747)

Ah... the Goldberg Variations. There is something in it of divinity which the ear cannot distinguish...

Music notation is not really precise anyway. Interpretation is required for tempo indications, dynamic marks, phrasing, various inflection marks (e.g., exactly how long is "staccato"?), ornamentation and all sorts of other stuff.

Bach was more precise than his contemporaries in writing ornaments that he required - the aria of the Goldberg Variations is full of ornamentation - and he lamented the common practice of performers chucking in ornaments ad libitum. Even so, it's not always easy to see exactly what ornament is written (I have seen the E minor arpegiando in the first section of the aria notated as both descending and ascending in different editions because the handwritten copy is note easy to read). But he frequently didn't give any indication of tempo (and often when he did, the meaning has changed over time, e.g. a Baroque "presto" was different from a romantic one, and in any case Italian tempo indications are often also not just about tempo but also about affect. He certainly didn't give metronome markings, because the metronome was not invented until later.

Also, there is a lot assumed in music notation that is cultural.

Finally, the Goldberg Variations was written for harpsichord or clavichord, not for the piano. Both the harpsichord and clavichord afford the player less fine control over dynamics than the piano but the harpsichord allows a greater range of timbre because they often have various stops. So playing this music on the piano should rightly be considered as a transcription (which is not to criticise it in any way).

Re:How do you review this sort of thing (1)

eddy the lip (20794) | more than 2 years ago | (#40142863)

I'm curious - have you listened to this recording? The Goldberg Variations have been on my must-listen list for a long time, but it looks like this is going to be my first exposure to it. (It's just waiting until I have time to properly listen.) I don't have the finest ear for classical, but I have heard the same piece by different performers, and was surprised at how much of a difference it can make. How is this one?

At any rate, I'm pretty excited about this project. As someone with only a passing knowledge of classical, this is a great learning experience.

Re:How do you review this sort of thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40147679)

Technically this is Baroque, and is thus pre-classical. It's a very different style from classical music.

Re:How do you review this sort of thing (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141245)

Was she just trilling the A, or playing A-G-A-G-A-G as demi-semi-quavers?
That E briefly before the minim D - was it just a passing note?
(see the first 2 bars of the PDF score)

Re:How do you review this sort of thing (1)

Internal Modem (1281796) | more than 2 years ago | (#40142317)

The "passing notes" you describe appear to be grace notes. [wikipedia.org]

Some of the markings indicate a turn [wikipedia.org] rather than a trill.

Re:How do you review this sort of thing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40142525)

Well, there's human error like the d-flat in variation 26. Notice that this error requires a subsequent natural sign that ends up scrunching the rest of the notes in the measure together.

Then there's what I'd assume are automated notation errors originating from the software itself, like:
* small details-- the disparate time signatures in variation 26 should be center-aligned, not left-aligned
* distractions-- the spacing in the last measure of the first system on pg. 42, in the first staff-- the grace-note is too close to the main note, and there is uneven spacing between the sixteenth-notes for no good reason.
* generally poor beams-- sixteenth-notes and above often have stems that are too high, and little attention is given to beam angles on any level other than the the notes contained within those groups. For example, look at the left-hand of measure 4 in variation 23 on page 40: you have a simple scale from middle c down to d, so why are the first two 32nd-notes given a steeper slope than the ones that follow? Serious editions like Henle give a LOT of attention to these issues and the result is a beautiful, highly-readable score that guides the eye along the horizontal path of the music.
* That same variation in this edition has arbitrary (and too much) space between the staves of each system, which when taken together with noteheads spaced too tightly and stems too high makes each system look unnecessarily tall. What's worse is that it makes it more difficult to distinguish the whitespace between right and left hand from the whitespace separating each system from the next (i.e., each line of music from the one below it). Again, serious editions take care to make the whitespace between systems very obvious so that the musician's eye can move seamlessly from one system to the next; any ambiguity requires more concentration, which takes away from concentration on the actual music being performed.

Of course there are more complicated issues, like whether one should add fingerings/dynamics/footnotes and all kinds of other guides for the performer, as well as whether the edition is meant to be pedagogical in nature (and there whether it's for kids, amateurs, professionals, etc.) or for scholarly work, what languages are used, etc. But before you even get to those details you have to get the notes and the basics of editing right. That this open source project doesn't get these things right on the first try isn't necessarily a big deal (and I just scanned through the score and picked a specific spot to nitpick-- I haven't looked in depth at everything). The advantage an edition like this has over a more traditional route is the incredibly low cost to the editors and community of fixing such mistakes. If the problems I outlined vanish in the next few weeks the edition will be a great example of the power of free/open collaborative processes. If not, well... I guess at that point I'll just fork the project, import into Lilypond, fix all the problems and publicly taunt the editors for a long, long time.

Stay tuned...

Re:How do you review this sort of thing (1)

rDouglass (1068738) | more than 2 years ago | (#40142573)

There are many things to consider, including the accuracy of the notes and articulations. But the aesthetic of the placement is also something to be considered. Bach wrote the original by hand (and it's beautiful to look at). So it is very much in line with typesetting and print media. As for how it was actually reviewed, MuseScore.com has a feature that lets you annotate the score in the browser, leaving your comment directly on the place in the music that you're talking about.

GPL, Creative Commons, GNU, Public Domain, WTF? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40141005)

What is the point of all this open source licensing crap? If you're fine with people using your stuff without compensation (or stealing if you prefer), why don't you just use the TPB License (tm) and be done wuith it?

Re:GPL, Creative Commons, GNU, Public Domain, WTF? (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141069)

There is no TPB license, or at least I can't find one. Surprised they don't have one.

Licenses don't have to suck.. They can actually be good in rare occasions. I wrote this post and I license you to do anything you want with it, republish it, remix it, put it into a new media format, redistribute it, just so long as you make at least a minimally pitiful attempt at avoiding plagiarism and libel by quoting and/or citing properly as appropriate to your use of my post. Also I grant you no guarantee of correctness or right of return or pretty much any obligation on to me.

Now you can perfectly legally include this post in an advertising campaign, or sell tee shirts with it written on it, or quote it in a book, or include it in a movie, and no one can claim they wrote it instead of me and force you to take it down or just sue you. Also I disclaim all obligation toward me, so if you were stupid enough to think I'm providing real legal advice that is your own fault.

There recently were people trying to sell Goldberg Variations audio CDs and charge for rights to use as a movie soundtrack, etc. I suspect that will end pretty soon.

Real licenses are much better written that mine.

Re:GPL, Creative Commons, GNU, Public Domain, WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40141175)

There is no TPB license, or at least I can't find one.

Maybe they thought it would be redundant with the WTFPL [wikipedia.org] .

Re:GPL, Creative Commons, GNU, Public Domain, WTF? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141227)

...and they can still charge for a CD of Goldberg Variations and charge for it's use in a movie soundtrack ... Just not this one

There is also copyright on a performance, the score might be opensource and free to use but any particular performance is still copyright until someone declares otherwise ...

Re:GPL, Creative Commons, GNU, Public Domain, WTF? (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141619)

This one's CC0 (i.e. placed in the public domain) - I can burn it to CD and charge for it if I like!

Re:GPL, Creative Commons, GNU, Public Domain, WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40141075)

What is the point of all this open source licensing crap? If you're fine with people using your stuff without compensation (or stealing if you prefer), why don't you just use the TPB License (tm) and be done wuith it?

One is legal the other is not. And the legal option has payed for the artist's performance.
The MPAA, RIAA and other baron robber entertainment industries will never see another cent from me.
So I'm glad for these legal projects.

Re:GPL, Creative Commons, GNU, Public Domain, WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40153111)

The MPAA, RIAA and other baron robber entertainment industries will never see another cent from me.

Not if you're downloading stuff from The Pirate Bay, no.

You go stick it to The Man baby.

waiver != license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40141159)

This stuff isn't licensed. Creative Commons licenses assert copyright while providing general permission to copy and adapt the copyrighted materials under certain circumstances. This is released under a CC0 waiver, which is a legal means to try to negate copyright to the maximum extent possible in a world where in many countries it's not possible to disclaim copyright easily.

Re:waiver != license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40141389)

CC0 includes a waiver and a license for cases where the waiver is deemed invalid or ineffective.

Re:GPL, Creative Commons, GNU, Public Domain, WTF? (5, Insightful)

wrook (134116) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141343)

Even if this post is kind of inflamatory, I think it's a question many people wonder about. If I had mod points I'd mod it up. It's asking, what is the point of open source licenses? Why not just say, "Do what ever you like"? It's a valid question.

vim answered below, but I would like to add one or two points. Licenses are necessary because copyright does not allow anyone to make a copy without permission form the copyright holder. In some countries, copyright infringement can actually be a crime in some situations. Even if the original copyright holder doesn't care if you make a copy, the state can still charge you with a crime.

For this reason, especially for something indented to be distributed around the world, you need to have a license indicating what someone is allowed to do. Copyright reserves certain rights to the copyright holder. You can relax these rights, add conditions, etc, etc. The point of an "open source" (as a generic term, not OSI term) is to give the user more rights than they would normally have with copyright. Depending on the country, you may be able to relax all the rights, but in some countries you may not.

In the case of this musical piece, it is being distributed under a Creative Commons 0 license. This license relaxes all the rights possible given the country that you are in. It is roughly equivalent to saying "Do what you want", except that some countries don't allow to you say that. CC0 is intended to be the most permissive license allowed by law.

One common question is why there is more than one license. Why doesn't everyone use CC0, for instance? The reason is that some people would like to continue to reserve some rights for themselves. This can be done to encourage a specific set of behaviors (e.g., GPL), to make sure credit is given to the original author (e.g., BSD), to ensure that it isn't used for commercial purposes (e.g., CCNC), etc. For whatever reason, whether everyone agrees that it is a good idea or not, some people would like to reserve different rights. But since licenses are hard to write well (you usually need a lawyer to help you), most people settle on a few core licenses that achieve specific goals.

YouTube background music? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40141053)

What's the betting that YouTube immediately starts tagging this work as belonging to a big record label when people use this as background music to their videos?

When the inevitable story breaks that WMG (Warner Music Group) have taken down some videos that use this work, feel free to link back to this post.

Videos reinstated on a case-by-case basis (meaning that 95% stay down). I hope I'm wrong.

Same AC .... just tried uploading one to YouTube (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40141379)

Well, I uploaded a copy of the first mp3 out of curiosity, and ..... surprise!

Kimiko Ishizaka Bach Open Goldberg Variations 01 - Aria
Your video may include the following copyrighted content:

        "Ragna Schirmer-Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Aria", sound recording administered by:
        Kontor New Media

        "Audun Kayser-Aria Da Capo E Fine", sound recording administered by:
        [Merlin] Phonofile

        "Remi Masunaga-Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Aria", sound recording administered by:
        IDOL (Independent Distribution On Line)

What does this mean?

Your video is still available worldwide. In some cases ads may appear next to your video. Please note that the video's status can change, if the policies chosen by the content owners change. Learn more about copyright on YouTube.
This claim does not affect your account status.

Try it yourself and see.

Re:Same AC .... just tried uploading one to YouTub (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40150005)

You can contest it too. Which means the ads displayed would pay you instead of the record companies.

Bad news... (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141135)

...for Zenph [zenph.com] .

Re:Bad news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40141193)

US$35 for a CD? it would have to be audio of working incantations to destroy my enemies

Re:Bad news... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#40142085)

nah... Glenn Gould's versions are often the first that people hear. Afterwards, everyone else plays it "wrong". (I happen to dislike some of his work for the same reason). People don't buy gold-coated power cords so they can listen to free music.

FLAC and MP3 format? (1)

Clarious (1177725) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141239)

Why don't they use ogg vorbis instead? We don't have software patent here so MP3 is as free as Ogg Vorbis, but if they decided to be as free as possible (CC licensed) then the latter would be better.

Re:FLAC and MP3 format? (3, Insightful)

fbjon (692006) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141459)

FLAC is already open and Free, no need to make things inconvenient.

Re:FLAC and MP3 format? (4, Informative)

Vintermann (400722) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141483)

FLAC is lossless, so go ahead and encode it yourself. You've got one format of quality, and one format that plays on even the dumbest of devices - makes sense to me.

Re:FLAC and MP3 format? (2)

rDouglass (1068738) | more than 2 years ago | (#40142603)

OGG is coming. This stuff is all actually a lot of work =)

Re:FLAC and MP3 format? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40150823)

Firstly, Musopen is a perfect example of an organisation that would care about free audio formats. I'm certain key people at Musopen know more about this than you or I.

Secondly, The most important format here is FLAC. It is completely open and lossless and anyone is free to transcode the files as they wish.

MP3 is done /in addition/ presumably because it is by far and away the most common audio format today and many people will appreciate the smaller download.

What about the Recording? (2)

aqmxv (1469151) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141247)

Does anybody have any review/comment on the quality of performance and recording? I know that it cost me nothing (as I didn't know about the Kickstarter project) but I hope for the future of this kind of project that it's topnotch. I'm enthused about the idea of funding a recording session in advance if the result is released under a nonrestrictive license like CC0 and there's a reasonable expectation of good outcome.

Re:What about the Recording? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40141407)

She's no Glenn Gould, but this is a really great recording.

I am very impressed and hope that this will inspire similar projects.

Re:What about the Recording? (1)

nicomede (1228020) | more than 2 years ago | (#40146933)

+1. The flac version makes you really believe that the piano is right in your living room. She is no Glenn Gould (we have to wait for a few more centuries) but her play makes me think that she has been listening a lot to the 1981 version by the master.

Re:What about the Recording? (0)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#40153175)

She's no Glenn Gould

So why would I not just stick to a recording by Glenn Gould, if I have no particular philosophical interest in music being open source?

"It's OK but not great" is not making me want to rush out and download it.

Now, I am no professional musician or critic, and haven't heard these recordings, so if this is just a hyper-critical way of saying "it's not absolutely perfect, but it's as good as versions X, Y and Z made by other pianists recently" then fair enough.

s'wonderful (4, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141277)

MuseScore and MusicXML (or mXML) are fantastic projects and wonderfully useful products. I use both all the time and donate cash on a regular basis. I've used them for professional, high-end projects and for little personal projects that will never go beyond my four walls. mXML is yet another open source project that was just so smart, so good that all the the big proprietary music editor developers had to incorporate it into their own products, because none of them had been able to come up with a flexible, portable, rich music language or format of their own.

If anyone who has contributed to either of these is around here, you need to stand up and get a little round of applause.

I learned about mXML and MuseScore when I was searching online for lead sheets to some jazz standards to learn on my chromatic harmonica, and stumbled upon wikifonia (also a very worthy project). It is a shame that wikifonia is having such trouble staying up lately. I'm sure they're getting the full scorched-earth treatment from music publishers, who have so badly failed at making any good use of new technologies.

Re:s'wonderful (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40141419)

Wikifonia is an older project by Thomas Bonte :) He's one of MuseScore developers :)

Re:s'wonderful (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40147867)

Wikifonia is an older project by Thomas Bonte :) He's one of MuseScore developers :)

I had no idea. Thank you for sharing that bit of information.

I'm going to try to thank Thomas Bonte personally.

On Goldberg (2)

grewil (2108618) | more than 2 years ago | (#40141653)

This is on a side note. I've been sort of obsessed by the Goldberg variations for years, and of all performers I've heard, I really do recommend Tatiana Nikolayeva (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tatiana_Nikolayeva). To my ears, she's just outstanding compared to Glenn Gould and the others, when it comes to Goldberg. The Goldberg variations were meant to be played at night, easing the long nights of the insomniac Count Kaiserling, for whom Goldberg worked. I've always thought that the music was meant to be played lightly and sensitively, to be pleasant in the forementioned setting. If you listen to the aria when Tatiana plays it, you will hear an astonishingly soft touch where appropriate, and a really delicate flow. I always thought that this was a really good interpretation of the Goldberg variations. (Glenn Gould - in all his fantastic technical glory - renders it somewhat more forced and hard.)

Re:On Goldberg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40142451)

Carrying your argument of how music is historically 'meant to be played' further one might even suggest that nothing other than the domestic clavichord is appropriate. Tatiana's rendition would therefore be horrifically anachronistic and inappropriate.

No, the composer's intent can only go so far. To base an entire argument on it is to be unhelpfully pedantic. Even Bach himself would transcribe a fugue from one of his own violin sonatas into a full-fledged fugue on the organ with added notes merely implied in the 'violin original'. There is no end to the creativity in interpretations. The only barrier is the audience's taste.

Re:On Goldberg (1)

grewil (2108618) | more than 2 years ago | (#40143127)

I see your point, but I think you draw conclusions too far from what I wrote. I don't argue that the only quality of an interpretation is to what extent it is along the original intents and lines. Of course there are room for creativeness and vision. Changing from clavichord to pianoforte seems like a good improvement, partly because it makes the sound of this night music softer to the ear, which was one of the whole ideas with the composition. What I meant is that playing what is essentially doubling as a lullaby in a forced or unharmonic manner is just not interesting.

I also see that there is a wide range of ways of defining what is interesting or good in music, or fine arts as a whole. In one of the ends of this range, view with simliarities to yours can be found, that the audience's taste is the only thing that matters (perhaps you could call it "quality by description"). In the other end, there is the view that the audience's reception counts for nothing (perhaps "quality by norm"). I guess your more oriented to the first mentioned end than I am.

Re:On Goldberg (1)

HungWeiLo (250320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40143781)

I'll have to give the Tatiana Nikolayeva version a try. I consider the recently remastered 1981 Gould recording to be by far the one to beat.

Re:On Goldberg (1)

GlobalEcho (26240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40144793)

OK, I'll bite on the recording, but which one? 2008 or early 1990s?

Re:On Goldberg (1)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | more than 2 years ago | (#40145489)

I'll look for the Nikolayeva's interpretation, thanks for the tip. I too am a bit obsessed with the Goldberg. Gould's interpretation is impressive, apart for his habit of humming while he plays....
May I suggest you Bruno Canino [wikipedia.org] 's interpretation ? I find it really outstanding. I also had the opportunity to hear a live performance of the Goldberg by Andras Schiff, and it was simply mesmerizing, but the recording isn't as amazing as the live performance I had the joy to attend.

Re:On Goldberg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40158865)

she's just outstanding compared to Glenn Gould and the others

Her style is relaxed, but technically weak. Gould has substantially more skill at the piano and it shows when you listen to both of them side by side.

Lovely. (1, Insightful)

Demerara (256642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40142329)

Just the thing for this Tuesday morning. Thanks to MuseScore and Kimiko!

Harmony Assistant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40144007)

Myriad's Harmony Assistant is the obvious inspiration for MuseScore. At $85 it is a bargain. For $25 more it will sing!

I'm checking out the new MuseScore.... Still a toy. No depth. Seriously, Harmony Assistant is a mature product that's been polished.

Oh gawd - MuseScore's palettes are an unfunny joke - they compete with each other for space (I hate that). It needs JACK for MIDI on Windows? It won't drive my DAWs? Those are the time signatures and keys, that's it? Ouch. If I continue I'm going to start cussing and it will sound like I'm berating volunteers. It's an awfully high bar that Harmony Assistant sets, and I do not think it possible for MuseScore to "catch up."

If you're willing to pay, Myriad has the real deal for a steal! You can try it for free,

http://myriad-online.com

(I am not a paid spox for them, I just loooove their products)

Re:Harmony Assistant (1)

Bootsy Collins (549938) | more than 2 years ago | (#40145173)

If you're willing to pay, Myriad has the real deal for a steal! You can try it for free,

http://myriad-online.com

(I am not a paid spox for them, I just loooove their products)

How much does their Linux version cost?

How does it sound? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40147605)

Is it a good performance? If not, who cares how it was funded, etc.

Berlin? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40149157)

Amazing that something like this can come out of a city where most buildings are only held together by the graffiti on their walls, the trains aren't held together at all, and apparently a rather large part of the population consists of ultra-leftists (homeless punks) who get away with everything and are 100% oblivious to the self-irony they project in their actions.
There's also the new airport that was supposed to open (and immediately and permanently replace Berlin's two older airports) in a couple days, but won't for another year or so. When'd they figure out they wouldn't make it? An unprecedented four weeks before it was supposed to open (i.e. around three weeks ago).

PS
Most airlines' websites still say they're using the new airport from June 3.

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