Computing in Musicology

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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 appeared in the form of a report to respondents to a survey of known systems for printing and studying music by computer. We wished to understand what had happened to the many mainframe-based projects that had started in the Sixties and Seventies but were now (1985) dormant. The report was issued as a Directory of Computer-Assisted Research in Musicology). We were especially interested to know what had become of the data they had encoded.

We ourselves were working on a mini-computer (an HP 3000) in Menlo Park, California, and were beginning to print music on an Epson dot-matrix printer. CM 1 (as we later called it for convenience) was not intended to be preserved for posterity, but we received so many enthusiastic responses that we decided that we continued to compile an annual collection of current research.

The field evolved to rapidly that every five years ago the emphasis (and the title) kept changing. When we moved onto the Stanford campus (1996) production matters became more unwieldy. We entered into a distribution with The MIT Press, which continued through 2008. The MIT issues (Nos. 11-15) are alternatively found in the pen-access repository MIT Direct. All issues are also distributed online in the series RILM Abstracts with Full Text.

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.

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.)

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

Directory of Computer Assisted Research in Musicology (Computing in Musicology 4, 1988)

Directory of Computer Assisted Research in Musicology (Computing in Musicology 5, 1989)