Computing in Musicology

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1 Chronicle

The yearbook Computing in Musicology was first published in 1985, shortly after the formation of the Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities. It resulted from a survey of known systems for printing music by computer. We knew that a number of mainframe-based projects to encode and analyze music had been started in the Sixties and Seventies, but by 1985 they were all dormant. We wanted to find out (Vol. 1, then called a Directory of Computer-Assisted Research in Musicology) what these projects had been, what their goals had been, how they were carried out, and what had become of the data they had encoded. We ourselves were working on a mini-computer (an HP 3000) and were beginning to print music on an Epson dot-matrix printer. CM 1 (as we call it for convenience) was not intended to be preserved for posterity, but we received so many enthusiastic replies to our survey that we decided that we should compile all the information and circulate it to those who had responded.

[1] Directory of Computer-Assisted Research in Musicology (Computing in Musicology 1, 1985)

The methodology of soliciting input about dormant projects was refocused the following year (Vol. 2) on current projects, particularly those whose main goal was to print music. Vol. 2 duly contained the first of what proved to become many annual solicitations for samples of music printing. A virtual community of people trying to develop means of printing music was stimulated by the arrival of personal computers. It was an era of home-grown software. Word-processing software was not well established, and there was no expectation that commercial software for printing music of arbitrary complexity would be available soon.

[2] Directory of Computer-Assisted Research in Musicology (Computing in Musicology 2, 1986)

By 1987 we realized that printing capabilities could be helped (to a greater or lesser degree) by systems of music representation that were reasonably comprehensive but not patched together from a string of smaller programs with no overarching architecture. Many other contingencies were mentioned in incoming correspondence. The first laser printers were now available. It was the year in which Adobe brought the Sonata(r) font to market. Cleo Huggins, who designed the font, consulted CCARH on the needs of the music community in the course of the font's development. The original Sonata example is shown as Illustration 2n in the section "Music Printing: An Update". (For this and subsequent issues, selected portions are listed separately. All content is included in the comprehensive PDF.)

[3] Directory of Computer Assisted Research in Musicology (Computing in Musicology 3, 1987)

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