Thursday, May 01, 2008

Archiving and Formats

Check out this interesting New Music Box article, by Frank Oteri, and the very long comment thread, on the subject of composer archives.


Henry Holland said...

Thanks for the link! I have a fanboy interest in the topic, because I read musicology books about composers and pieces I like and they're, of course, heavily reliant on archives.

I'm lucky that my two favorite composers, Schreker and Britten, were successful in their day and thus have well preserved and notated archives.

I'd love to hear that 8-hour von Wayditch opera, The Heretics, but I'm going to work on the assumption that it won't be performed in my lifetime. How much music that I'd love is laying out there, never performed, a manuscript in some attic?

Lisa Hirsch said...

Yeah, me too! If only because it's eight hours long!

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to register so that I can comment on that very long topic, but I will say, that once the subject leaves the fascinating one of "outsider" composers and moves to the more difficult one of archival storage, I will say that you and Dennis are the ones on the right track.

In fact I can put on my librarian hat and say that the real problem is that people haven't figured out what electronic conversion (or microfilming, or anything else) of data is good for. It's not an archival medium. You want to archive text, the best and longest-lasting medium is printed out on acid-free paper and kept in a room with a constant cool temperature. In other words, a book in a library. For recorded music, vinyl (as long as you don't play it), likewise stored, is the most secure long-term medium.

So what's the electronic conversion good for? Access! The fragile original ms. is kept in a vault, and copies of the digitized image can be put on the web and everyone can see them.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Thanks, David.

Anonymous said...

Yup, from me too. It's easy to assume that storage and accessibility are pretty much the same thing, so the same methods and materials ought to deliver both in a single package; important to remember that's not so.