What music belongs on IMSLP?

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Sebastian
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What music belongs on IMSLP?

Postby Sebastian » Thu Aug 14, 2008 11:04 pm

So far IMSLP has mainly contained classical compositions written by professional musicians. Thus I tend to think of it as a classical music score library. But is that what it's intended to be?

I've noticed a few people uploading their own compositions to IMSLP lately, and I really like the idea that contemporary composers can share their music here. As a hobbyist composer I might even feel tempted to upload some of my own ("classical") compositions someday. It got me thinking, however. Are there any requirements that music submitted to IMSLP has to meet? And should there be?

Does IMSLP have a policy about this?

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Postby Lyle Neff » Fri Aug 15, 2008 12:31 am

Some people might not consider Scott Joplin to be "classical," but his works are represented here.

My understanding is that IMSLP is for any public domain music (or any music that a composer willingly makes available by Creative Commons, etc.) in sheet-music format. That can include "popular" music, fortunately.

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Postby Yagan Kiely » Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:39 am

There is no requirements (apart from PD or similar), but IMSLP has a strong, obvious, but general bias towards traditional Classical music. The reason this is, is because most contemporary or popular music is not PD. I'd personally prefer IMSLP to continue being Classically biased; but imagine in 70 years time, having Beatles or something, that would be excellent.

I'm going to upload the music for my Pieces as soon as I get them looking at least semi-publishable, so IMSLP would be very welcome to your pieces.*


*Did I word that correctly...?

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Postby Carolus » Fri Aug 15, 2008 5:08 am

We absolutely welcome composers to submit their own works under one of the several Creative Commons licenses available. This goes for publishers as well. Composers should always list themselves as "publisher" when uploading a piece since making a score available at IMSLP fits the legal definition of "publication" in most countries - including Canada and the USA. IMSLP does not wish to act as a publisher in terms of collecting performance royalties, promoting works to conductors and recording companies, etc. (other than having the works freely available here). Therefore we ask that composers serve as their own publishers in this regard.

We will be writing up some guidelines for composers once we've got the unreviewed files all taken care of. (Just over 1600 now.)

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Postby kendrickkoo » Sat Aug 16, 2008 7:07 am

I reckon there should definetely be some regulations on who should be allowed to publish their works on imslp, rather than letting all and sundry upload compositions of dubious quality.

quality is really hard to judge though, so may I suggest that for symphonic works, only pieces that have been previously performed by an orchestra (professional/amateur doesn't matter) be accepted? (unless the composer is already well established and is looking to give as yet unperformed works an airing).

for chamber and keyboard works, we might need different criteria because it is much easier for student composers to get chamber/keyboard works performed ...... so maybe just from well established composers

oh and for "popular" music maybe only from professionals who are happy to release their music into the public domain? (there'd be way too many otherwise)

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Postby Yagan Kiely » Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:39 am

Performance isn't the definition of quality. If someone can afford to pay for an orchestra to play a piece, that doesn't mean it is of any quality. I know of people who have has school or other amateur orchestras play their pieces but without that piece being of any quality. Mahler's 9th symphony nor Das Lied Von Der Erde were never performed in his lifetime, neither was Mozart 40 or 41. I've never had an orchestral piece performed, but I hold one of my pieces higher than some I have heard performed.

oh and for "popular" music maybe only from professionals who are happy to release their music into the public domain? (there'd be way too many otherwise)
I agree with this.

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Postby emeraldimp » Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:50 pm

kendrickkoo wrote:I reckon there should definetely be some regulations on who should be allowed to publish their works on imslp, rather than letting all and sundry upload compositions of dubious quality.


I disagree... I don't think IMSLP should be the arbiter of what's worthwhile and what isn't. If people who write 'popular' music go to the trouble of making a score, making it a PDF, CC-licensing it and uploading it to the site, they should be able to. I think that's a high enough barrier to not flood us.

Also: I've had several of my works performed, but that's only because I'm assistant conductor of a local community orchestra. And I'm certain my pieces are much worse than Yagan's (what with his years of training as opposed to my semester).

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Postby Yagan Kiely » Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:56 pm

If there would be a criteria for restrictions, I believe it should be more to do with quality of the score rather than music. For example, if a piece is extremely poorly notated (touching notes, dynamics on top of notes etc.) that would be a more legitimate reason to not allow it, for the composer should notate things properly.

Personally, I think a large amount of (semi) famous avant-garde compositions to be very sub standard and unmusical (my opinion), but they should still have the possibility of being uploaded to IMSLP.

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Postby Yagan Kiely » Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:58 pm

I actually take back my view on 'popular' music. The amount of popular music that is notated is very small, and the amount of popular music composers that frequent IMSLP and notate their own pieces would be even smaller, so there is very little chance of being flooded anyway.

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Postby Vivaldi » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:11 am

Unless the music engraving and publishing is done by a professional music publisher, Yagan? If the score is of high quality then it can be uploaded with the permission by the composer.

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Postby Yagan Kiely » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:23 am

Most popular music would not be put into a CC license by the publisher, so there is little chance of it flooding IMSLP, also because most popular music composers are probably unaware of IMSLP anyway.

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Postby Vivaldi » Sun Aug 17, 2008 8:45 am

Hmm, can something be done regarding IMSLP's PR?

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Postby Yagan Kiely » Sun Aug 17, 2008 10:12 am

Ooh, I wonder if we can hire Mr. Irons. He did a wonderful job of defending the undefendable.

What PR could IMSLP have though? We couldn't (and wouldn't want) adverts? More university support?

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Postby Sebastian » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:25 pm

A lot of pop/jazz music composed by amateurs can be found on sites like YouTube and Jamendo. Recording and uploading this music takes some effort, and to me there's not a long way from that to recording it in e.g. Sibelius and printing it to a PDF file (using a digital piano and a PDF printer like CutePDF). Here's an example of a guy who already did that.

Searching for "composition" on YouTube yields 79,500 results. IMSLP is not yet widely known (especially compared to YouTube), but chances are it will be someday.

Anyway, I wonder what when the first user starts submitting his 4-year-old kid's first compositions to IMSLP. It's bound to happen at some point. Christ, when I think about some of my own first compositions... ;-)

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Postby Lyle Neff » Sun Aug 17, 2008 9:04 pm

I have a related question.

Back around 1987 I sat down at the piano in front of a microphone and cassette recorder and played through the entire piano-score of Cui's [img]Prisoner%20of%20the%20Caucasus[/img], as well as the piano-vocal scores of his [img]Mademoiselle%20Fifi[/img] and [img]Snow%20Bogatyr'[/img], purely for my own amusement, I guess. :oops:

These recordings aren't absolutely terrible, although at times they are somewhat hesitant (given that I was turning my own pages); nevertheless, high-quality sound and performance are not guaranteed. :D

I was wondering whether recordings such as these might be allowable on IMSLP as "demos", especially for works that have no recordings at all?

Any thoughts? :D


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