Blog from Tim Sharp
Musica…A great benefit for ACDA members.
If you are searching for choral repertoire, and the fact is, we are indeed searching
for choral repertoire all the time, your membership in the American Choral
Directors Association offers you the entire Musica choral database to track down
repertoire throughout the world.
Why would you use Musica rather than a Google search? Great question! Here
are some answers I think you will find compelling:
1) The Musica database references the score for the choral piece you want to
find and does not drown in all other areas that you will encounter in a
typical Google search;
2) Music is a structured database, which means there exists a specific field for
each type of information describing a score—composer, title, voicing,
number of voices, key center, genre, style, form, instrumentation, liturgical
use, and much more (for example, try searching in Google for Swiss choral
scores for mixed voices in French, for a harvest festival, lasting about five
minutes….Good luck with that! But in Music, your search can be pinpointed
with these criteria.)
3) With Musica, fields of a search are grouped, making the search much more
friendly and faster;
4) In Musica, several search forms are available for the user who can choose
the one that is best suited to the research desired, or to the one that is
most comfortable to the user;
5) Musica automatically translates the important data into four languages,
allowing access to all data, even those introduced in Musica in a language
other than that used by the visitor;
6) A Musica record includes all the information about the score into a single
entity; you will find the bibliographic description, but also the multimedia
links (video, audio clip, translations, pronunciation of the text, image of the
page, and more);
7) The information is monitored constantly and checked and improved (in
other words, it is trusted) by the Musica coordination team, which is a team
of choral conductors and music librarians (in other words, this is a trusted
site, avoiding the negative aspects of Wikipedia and Google searches);
8) The videos selected for the choral works sought are only the good
performances, unlike Google and YouTube that mix the best with the worst;
9) In the composer’s file, nearly 11,000 composers have one or more links to
detailed biographies, again checked and monitored by the Musica team;
10)Musica offers “favorite pieces of the month” for additional exploration and
11)Musica offers an “auditorium” where you can browse through the vast
compilation of all audio and video links;
12)Musica allow you to interact with the data by using a Musica Wiki or
13)Musica offers a list of important anniversaries for composers.
Musica has developed into THE choral music research and teaching tool for the
benefit of conductors, musicologists, music conservatories and schools, music
federations, and choral music industry members, worldwide. For the experienced
choral musician, it is the source for discovering literature from around the world.
For the student of choral music, Musica is a keen way to discover and learn about
the world of choral repertoire.
Musica comprises four databases that can be consulted separately: choral scores-
170,000 records; choral composers-30,000 records; authors of texts-13,000
records; choral publishers-2,200 records. These databases are interlinked so that
it is possible to navigate directly between them.
The database of scores comprises a series of records yielding as many as 100
different types of information about the score, including composer, arranger,
publisher, title, genre, form, difficulty, type of choir, language, musical period,
instrumentation, etc. About 20 fields are translated automatically through several
multilingual thesaurus developed by the Musica International team. As a result,
information is automatically and immediately available in the different languages.
Musica currently contains more than 200,000 multimedia links. The multimedia
fields are designed to provide a fuller understanding of the piece: image of one
page of the score, the text, its translation in several languages, a sound clip of a
good interpretation and/or a video, a sound file of the correct pronunciation by a
native speaker of the language, a midi file, and links to pages external of the
project. By the end of 2015, the Musica database contained more than 170,000
records, making it the leading virtual library of choral music in which all possible
information about a score is available.
Since 2011, Musica has concentrated on the development of features allowing full
interactivity with the actors of choral music. The choral world is able to contribute
actively to its development through the linked online Musica Wiki, allowing every
composer, publisher, conductor, musicologist, or choral music lover to leave
comments, additional information and reports of experiences with the music, and
to directly input their favorite pieces.
Musica is now a benefit of membership in ACDA. At the Eastern Division ACDA
Conference in Boston in February, 2016, I will be joined by the Musica Board to
present an Interest Session on the use of the Musica database with all of the
features mentioned in this blog. I hope many of you will come and learn from the
Musica team as they unfold the richness of this choral repertoire search engine
and learning resource.
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