Beethoven in the House encompasses two novel and complementary studies into domestic music arrangements of the 19th Century, a digital research environment which will be co-developed alongside the studies, and the innovative application of digital musicology methods within this environment.
Performance of music in the home was the means by which most works were received before the advent of audio recordings and broadcasts, yet the notation sources that form our primary record of this culture have not been the subject of comprehensive or methodical study. Choices made by arrangers adapting music for domestic consumption-of instrumentation, abbreviation, or simplification-reflect the musical life of the 19th-century, and can inform our understanding alongside contemporary accounts such as newspapers, adverts, and diaries.
A study of Steiner editions of Beethoven’s 7th and 8th Symphonies and Wellingtons Sieg will make a detailed comparison between arrangements, systematically identifying a core common to multiple versions, and asking if this reflects the stated values of the publisher. A second survey seeks patterns across a larger sample of lesser-known and poorly catalogued scores, collating emergent indicators of arrangers’ motivations within a narrative of the domestic market - the music industry of its day. Both studies innovate digital methods which characterise arrangements as music encodings, including new ‘sparse’ approaches to notation and annotation. Optical Music Recognition and Linked Data will find and structure new knowledge. Results will be digitally represented using an ontology of musicological argument, providing reusable methods and research data for digital musicology, as well as informing the wider digital humanities.
Leading experts and institutions from Germany and the UK will work together with combined collections from both countries for the first time. Doing so, they will jointly transform methods and tools in their field of digital musicology.