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This wiki space contains archival documentation of Project Bamboo, April 2008 - March 2013.

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Variations: a tool set for music research and pedagogy

Please fill in the following metadata about this story (and delete this line when finished!):

Collection Date: 1/12/2008
Scholar #1 Info: (if more than one scholar's process is described, copy this set for each scholar)

  • Name: Stacy Kowalczyk
  • Email:
  • Title: Associate Director, Projects and Services, Digital Library Program
  • Institution/Organization: Indiana University
  • Field of Study/Creative Endeavor: Music

Collector Info (can be the same as "Scholar" above):

  • Name:
  • Email:
  • Title:
  • Institution/Organization:

Notes on Methodology:

Please briefly describe the collection methods used (eg. "self report", "questionnaire", "ethnographic interview")

This story describes the use of a Music Digital Library developed using the Variations suite of tools developed by the Indiana University Digital Library Program with funding from NSF, the Mellon Foundations and the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

The current system could be expanded to provide analysis tools for any recorded sound.


The scope section is provided by the collector, with input from the scholar(s), and attempts to estimate the scope of the group that performs the processes described: How broadly do the practices described in this story apply to others in same field, in related fields, etc?

  1. In the opinion of the scholar, who participates in the process the story describes?
    (e.g. "just this scholar", "many people in the scholar's field of inquiry", "all academics", etc.)## Individuals scholars## Collaborating teams of scholars
    1. Teachers
    2. Students
  2. What is this process intended to accomplish for the scholar?## A search and discovery interface for music and other types of recorded sound## A set of time-based analysis tools for recorded sound## A set of tools for collecting metadata about audio files and providing a search and discovery interface
    1. A set of tools to link audio to text
    2. A set of tools to export and publish the results of the analysis
  3. Who is the intended audience of the processes described?## Researchers, teachers, and students would be able to use these tools.  These could be used to create collaboration sites for community annotation.
  4. Is this the only process the scholar uses to accomplish his/her goals?
  5. What "shared services" would help transform the story into something of more benefit for the scholar or his/her audience?  What process or processes in the story could be automated?## Indiana University has developed a system for music research and pedagogy as described in the first two stories (see below).  The software could be modified to work for other recorded sound fields such as ethnography and history for oral histories (see story 3 below).


Please provide some keywords that will allow us to group or cluster related stories--or aspects of stories.

1. Was this story collected for a particular Bamboo working group?  If so, please include, as keywords, the appropriate group(s).

  • Stories

2. Suggested keywords: Does this story contain elements that could be mapped to these keywords?  If so, please indicate which ones and briefly describe the mapping.  Add any additional keywords in #3. (These are global keywords from this page keywords)

3. Please list additional keywords here:

collaboration, music

4. Related Stories: Are there parts of the story that relate to other collected stories? Please provide title(s) and link to the story page. 


Please include the text, documents, media, or other material which comprise this story

Story 1

A Researcher A wants to compare several performances of Johannes Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major. He turns to his computer, opens a music search tool, and types "brahms" in the composer field and "concerto" in the title field. Scanning the search results, he sees the work he wants and clicks on it, generating a list of all available recordings and scores of that work. He selects recordings of three performances, along with an encoded version of the score, and creates bookmarks for each of them. He instructs the system to synchronize each recording with the score, then uses a set of controls that allow him to play back the piece and view the score, cycling among the three performances on the fly.

To help him navigate within the piece, he creates form diagrams for each of its four movements by dividing a timeline of each movement into sections and grouping the sections into higher-level structures. He then uses the timeline to move around within the piece, comparing the performances and storing his notes as text annotations attached to individual time spans. To find a particular section he's interested in, he might play a sequence of notes on a musical instrument digital interface (MIDI) keyboard attached to his computer, prompting the system to locate the sequence in the score. When he finishes, he exports the timelines as an interactive Web page and email the page to his collaborator for comment.

Story 2

Professor B is teaching a course in music theory.  She wants to develop an interactive set of assignments that allow her students to demonstrate their understanding of repetitive themes within a single piece of music.  She opens the music search tool, creates the list of scores to be examined by the students, and publishes this list to her class website.  From the class website, a student clicks on a title and is launched into a music annotation tool.  The student listens to the piece and uses the timeline tools to mark each theme.  Using the synchronization tool, the student can see the score and make annotations.  The student can then export the timeline and sent the resulting webpage to Professor B for assessment.

Story 3

Professor Q, a professor of folklore, is collecting oral histories of local storytellers.  Using a digital voice recorder, she has multiple interviews with each of her subjects.  She uploads the files to the server.  She has several graduate assistants transcribe the notes.  These, too, are stored on the server.  When the data is ready, she begins to analyze the data using the timeline tool to note the beginnings and endings of stories, the commentary that the subject provided for each story, the different phases of the subjects life, etc.  Professor Q and her GAs can use the synchronization tool to coordinate the audio to the transcription.  Using the annotation tools, Professor Q can add her own analysis and observations.  The timelines and other products can be exported to an interactive Web page that can be sent out for peer review.

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