DARMS

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The Digital Alternate Representation of Musical Scores (DARMS) was established in 1966 by Stefan Bauer-Mengelberg, a mathematician, lawyer, and conductor. Bauer-Mengelberg, having served in the editorial board of the Dutch artist M. C. Escher's papers, was distinguished in all three careers. He was the son of a noted conductor and, in the 1960s, as assistant to Leonard Bernstein at the New York Philharmonic. The original idea of DARMS was to facilitate the production of scores for use by the New York orchestra. It was also part of the original conception to design a system that could be use to originate performing materials by persons who had no personal knowledge of musical notation but could succeed by counting lines and spaces on an existing score. DARMS was not therefore in any sense a tool for new compositions. It was purely a tool for productivity, and one compatible with the "Great Society" emphasis of the Johnson years (especially 1964-65) in American life.

The first DARMS conference-cum-tutorial was held on the campus of SUNY Binghamton 1966. It attracted several individuals who later made distinguished contributions to computer-generated notation. Among them were Harry B. Lincoln (musicologist), Allen Forte (music theorist), Jef Raskin (then a math and music student at UC San Diego but later Apple Computer Employee #4 and a co-author of several QuickTime predecessors), and Raymond Erickson (harpsichordist, musicologist, and biographer of Bauer-Mengelberg). By the 1976 DARMS gathering a more heterogeneous group converged to discuss a broad range of work-in-progress based on encoding in general. Erickson created the first (and still most complete) DARMS user manual (1976). Erickson's 1977 article shows some core concepts of the language.

In the 1997 book Beyond MIDI we covered the dialects then in use--the A-R version (proprietary), the Note-Processor (software) version, and the Erickson version. Brief synopses can be found at the Stanford musical-information course website.

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