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OpenSource Music

FROM: Isaac Norman

What NEED does this meet?
OpenSource music would work and thrive on the same principals as the OpenSource software movement. It would allow users to contribute tunes, riffs, lyrics etc in musical notation and recordings. Other users can modify submissions and vote on which are best. Users can then put together OpenSource songs from the submissions of others which can be downloaded freely.

This provides a service for anyone to help in the creation of music and to offer a legal source of free music. It would offer a forum for interaction between people of different backgrounds, into different music. It would fuel creativity in the young and old.

There's also the possibility of creating groud-breaking music using such a fundamentally new way of creating music.

What is the APPROACH?
The approach would be to create a website that allows submissions in musical notation of varying form and of soundfiles. A database would be used to catogorise music and link different submissions. Users could vote on how good a submission is, what sort of music it's suitable for, what other submissions it would go well with... etc. Users could also put together sumbmissions to form a song and submit these.

The approach uses known methods from past successes like OpenSource software but in a new field.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
This will allow everyone to take part in creating music, regardless of what instrument you can play, if you're old or young and if you have a band. All you need is a tune or lyric and access to the website.

The site will become a community of those interested in music, bringing people with entirely different backgrounds together under a common interest.

What is the COMPETITION?
There have been attempts at creating music using internet conferencing but nothing similar to this (to my knowledge).

The idea will win out because most people have a desire to create music but there are too many barriers. This idea removes most barriers. All you need is an idea.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
The idea requires two things:

1) A scalable web site. Costs will include web design, creation, hosting, bandwidth, etc.. A lot of thought would need to be spent on the database but otherwise the site should be fairly standard.

2) Publicity. The utility of a project like this depends on the number of users. It could still operate with only a small community but would work best if well publicised.

November 2, 2003 in Leisure, User Created Content | Permalink


Great! I'd love to contribute, I'm a programmer, and wanting to become a pianist who shares some sounds.

Posted by: steinvonreusch at Nov 2, 2003 12:10:50 PM

Yes, OK I have music, a little published and
played, but I guess what you are talking about
is pop which I find too basic to hold my interest
The question is how does one speak to the right audience;I suspect most will regard me as impossibly highbrow,and some quite ridiculously old fashioned. The fragmentation of culture is a real problem for some of us!

Posted by: owen swindale at Nov 3, 2003 12:08:32 AM

No I'm not talking about pop, I'm not excluding it either. The music this site could cover all genres and possibly create new genres. You'd be able to search for submissions by genre, so someone could submit a guitar riff under something like 'classical guitar' or 'jazz' or 'metal' or whatever they like.

A site like this would in part help erode the fragmentation of culture as the submissions would be available to all, allowing 'composers' to take material from different genres to create something new.

It could even be linked into a system like the AudioScrobbler project which links users through the music they listen to. This would allow users to find submissions from people who listen to the same music as them.

Posted by: Isaac Norman at Nov 3, 2003 6:34:15 PM

Very interesting to read the comments. There is room for all musical styles. Over
time there would be a tendency for affinity groups to split into smaller units.
Nothing wrong with that.

There is a serious split though between on the one hand wav files which cannot be
expressed in musical notation, and midi files which can.

Midi files are comparatively small but can be developed into higher quality music
through the use of Music Notation Programs. Their strongest feature is that they
can be MODIFIED.

Wav files (CD audio) are much higher quality, but can't be modified with present
technology. (?)

An International Database of copyright-free midi files? [All comers, all classes,
all styles]

I'm very interested in this. I would be a contributor, and I would want to draw from
the pool as well.

I think that Yahoo's Geocities would be willing to house a website free. And surely many other sites.

Uploading should not be a problem. A number of trusted individuals could have the site access password so that they could add dozens of new files each week.

Now here's an interesting thing. One particular music notation software
provider is much less profit-orientated than the others and has already amassed
a collection of free midi files. Separately from that, day by day, more and more
individuals are going up on the net posting their free midi files.

It should be - in technical terms - a doddle to put this together. Who is going
to do it?

I'm quite inspired by Tom Steinberg's website, and maybe it won't be long before
an An International Database of copyright-free midi files becomes a reality.

What do you think?

Posted by: Russell Telfer at Nov 15, 2003 3:33:56 PM

There's no need to restrict to a particuar file format, especially at this stage.
However, I think Midi is a little restrictive, and I think you should be able to hear an actual recording of how a particular user played their submission.
There's no reason not to have multiple formats so you can listen to an mp3/wav recording submitted and listen and edit a midi version.

For example a user could write a guitar riff and record it, then submit it. Another more familiar with musical notation could then add the tablature or musical notation for the piece. A more technical user might then come along and add a midi version.

Posted by: Isaac Norman at Nov 15, 2003 5:09:29 PM

You're absolutely right, Isaac. At this stage of development (when we don't know
for sure what future users are going to value) then one should proceed in a very
inclusive way. MP3 has a great deal to offer as against the "absolute" recordings
which are our models of perfection.

I'm interested in midi because I want to see scores, even though some midi files
come over like tin foil. I'm convinced that, in the long run, if I have a score
in front of me, I should be able to persuade computers to restore most of the
realism that was lost when the midi file was created in the first place.
For this, of course, at the moment, you have to use proprietary software.

Returning to your main point, let us have databases\libraries in all the significant
formats. There are inexpensive means of converting music out of one file format into another.

Posted by: Russell Telfer at Nov 15, 2003 7:28:09 PM

Please take a look at my proposal. I beleive that it will help out with not only your proposal, but a few others on this site. I have a working model of how my system will work, but I have not implemented as of yet.

- Nick

Posted by: Nick Ruisi at Nov 18, 2003 7:21:22 PM

Is there a site already setup for the submission of work?

I have been thinking about the idea of open source music for a while now and have been slowly been putting together a site that would allow for many different file types while keeping track of the submissions and files in a MySQL database. I was thinking of having the submissions consist of popular file formats like midi, mp3 or a project file from software packages. If multiple files are needed to compile a project, the files would have to be tar'd just like a project file in the opensource software world.

I was going to try and have a versioning system where the users could tell what they had changed in the project since the last version.

Let me know if there is a site or if you have seen a site similar to what i have in mind.

Posted by: Jamis at May 25, 2004 1:57:25 PM