Class name: “Encoding Music: Digital Approaches to Scores and Sound”
Taught by: John C. Whitehead 1943 Professor of the Humanities; Chair and Professor of Music Richard Freedman
How do we represent music, in all its forms, from concept to practice? What sorts of systems have humans devised to learn, transmit, and preserve music? How have we collected and categorized music, in all its richness? And what might these activities look like in an era of ubiquitous data? In this course, musicians and computer scientists are teaming up to explore two key dimensions of the digital revolution for music: data about music, and music as data.
As a musicologist, I have long been fascinated with the story of notation—how musical ideas are recorded, transmitted, and interpreted. A lot of my work during the course of my career has been devoted to the role of music printing in the Renaissance—how a new medium changed the relationship between composers and musicians, and how the fixity of print allowed composers to connect words and music with new precision. During the last decade, I have become interested in digital texts—as new for our own time as print was for the 16th century—and how it is transforming the ways in which scholars interact with musical texts.
At a place like Haverford it seems quite natural to bring these concerns into the classroom, especially since students have been key partners in the advancement of my scholarly work. And so, I thought we could organize a new class around some key issues of our digital age.
This is what I hope to be a first-of-its-kind [course], representing a new disciplinary intersection for music, data science, and other fields. There is, in fact, no other course like it in any liberal arts institution that I am aware of. And it will bring my students increasingly into an international circle of research partners who participate in my work. Just last week, we hosted 25+ of them from around the world (Australia, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Canada, Sweden, Belgium, and the USA) [at the CRIM Conference], and Haverford students attended the event.
Learn more about other courses offered by the Department of Music.