Skip to content

Advanced Search

My shuffling around of dusty scores continues, and in the process, I’ve been reflecting whatever changes that have come about on my page in the American Music Center’s NewMusicJukebox site. A few years ago I was a beta-tester for this online database (The good offices of the AMC requested sound and score files of some of my works to use as examples in an early offline version of the site, in order to raise funding for the project) and since then, this baby has grown up. In the AMC’s own words, “NewMusicJukebox is a 24-hour ‘virtual’ library and listening room for new American music, with streaming sound files and encrypted score samples for listening and perusal.” It’s a laudable project, and one I try to participate in by keeping my works current, at least as frequently as I can remember.

NewMusicJukebox used to be made up entirely of AMC members (self-published, often younger/emerging composers, the kind who might pay attention when the e-mail invitation to participate came in), but now the site is in “Version 1.1″, where they’ve since added, well, “real” composers (you know who I mean) by including the AMC Collection of 20th Century American Music, at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, adding “more than 25,000 works by 4,000 composers” to the database. The idea behind this is obvious and brilliant — a search for American wind quintets of substantial length yields not only AMC member (and terrific composer) Rob Paterson’s Wind Quintet, but also quintets by Lukas Foss, Chen Yi, Ingolf Dahl and George Perle, right there alongside the Paterson. This kind of equalizing is invaluable for emerging composers. For those of you in search of chamber (or orchestral) music of certain criteria, this is a fantastic tool, and it’s only going to get better. Many of the major publishers have significantly contributed, and I suspect there will be more of that as the site grows. Unfortunately (and understandably), many of the newly-included works from the Public Library don’t include the fun score and audio examples, but honestly, I think it’s a great start to just list the works and their vital stats, at the very least.

Of course, I’ve been easily distracted from updating my own Jukebox page by browsing the site. It’s fun procrastination, which one can easily justify as “research”. In the process I’ve picked over quite a bit of the offerings, and actually found some really interesting stuff. A fascinating Henry Brant orchestra piece here … a gorgeous Bernard Rands score there. Just meandering through various search results yields all kinds of great surprises, “Oh yeah! Gerald Busby! What the heck did he write again…?” And then you can see. I’d even been half-heartedly trolling around music stores for a score to Tobias Picker’s Old and Lost Rivers orchestration for years, and Lo, there it is on the internets, for all to see and steal from. You can even peruse the first couple pages of the vocal score for The Ghosts of Versailles, which I’m here to tell you, is a pretty sweet-lookin’ 2 pages. You could spend a week on those 2 pages.

There’s not a lot of wind ensemble music on there … the full list is only a fraction of the total orchestra pieces included. I did a search, and figured out that if I upload every one of my wind ensemble pieces, I would represent 6% of the entire listing of wind pieces in the database. I decided I didn’t want that responsibility, and have included only a couple.

I do wonder how effective the database is for orchestral works. I highly doubt anyone has snagged an orchestra performance via that site. I just don’t think it works like that, and I would think that the large number of orchestral works included represents some very wishful thinking indeed. That didn’t stop me from including Metropolitan, of course, but I suspect that the system works best for chamber groups, where searches for varied instrumentations bring up all kinds of interesting stuff. In fact, it worked exactly like that for me once — last year I had a performance of OK Feel Good come out of NewMusicJukeBox. A new music ensemble director in Portland, who was trolling the database for what I would assume were chamber works of a certain length which fit her instrumentation, came across my piece, and liked it. That’s exactly the way this sort of site is supposed to work, and I was really pleased (not only for myself for the performance) but for the success of the project itself.

[Unrelated PS—This notebook now posts an RSS feed. This is excellent news for those frustrated few of you who check frequently for updates.]

Post to Twitter Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to StumbleUpon

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *