We went public with OpenScore back in February at FOSDEM 2017, when we told the world about our plan to liberate public domain sheet music. Since then, we’ve been really busy spreading the word, meeting up with partners and other interested parties, creating demos and showcase projects, and generally getting everything ready for the upcoming launch of the Kickstarter campaign (not long to wait now!).
While all that’s been going on, we’ve also been running a small pilot to make sure the whole transcription process is as smooth as possible. A small number of MuseScore.com members were invited to take part in a trial transcription of Fauré’s Requiem. As today is Gabriel Fauré’s 172nd Birthday, we thought it would be appropriate to share it with you now. (Please be aware that this is an unfinished preview version and as such is likely to contain lots of errors and layout problems. We need your help to get it ready for final release! More on this below.)
Starting with a PDF scan of the original score from IMSLP, we divided it up into small chunks, each just a few pages in length. These were sent out to the volunteer transcribers, along with an empty MuseScore template document with all the instruments already added. The transcribers were given a few days to complete their pages and upload them to be checked by a member of the admin team. If no errors were found then transcription was accepted straight away and the transcriber was rewarded with a month of MuseScore PRO membership. If errors were found then score was sent back to the transcriber along with comments about what they needed to improve, and they were given a bit more time to make those improvements and get the reward.
We were really impressed with what we saw, and in one or two cases we were able to accept the transcription straight away. However, in most cases there were at least a few mistakes, or places where the transcriber hadn’t been aware that there was a better way to do whatever it was that they had been trying to do. However, they all did a great job of making the changes we asked for, and we didn’t have to reject any transcriptions!
If you are interested in transcribing then you might like to take a look at this set of guidelines which I put together to help transcribers. The guidelines describe the most common errors we saw in transcriptions and explain how to avoid them.
Once the transcriptions have been collected and joined together, it's time to check the full score to look for:
- Errors that escaped notice during the first check
- Inconsistencies between sections transcribed by different people
- Issues that arise during the joining process
We'll need your help to be able to spot all these things and put them right. We'll soon launch a new tool for MuseScore.com which will allow you to click on the exact part of a score where a problem lies and leave a comment to bring it to our attention.
Publishing an OpenScore Edition
The final step in the process of creating an OpenScore Edition is to give it a nice cover page. For this purpose, we're teaming up with Nicholas Rougeux, a digital artist and web designer based in Chicago. Nicholas created visualisations of sheet music for his Off The Staff project, and he has agreed to create a visualisation of each OpenScore Edition.
The visualisation should be read clockwise starting from the 12 o’clock position. Each circle represents a note in the score; the size of the circle represents the duration of the note, while the pitch is indicated by the distance from the centre of the image.