Requests for comment/Musical score transcription project proposal

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The following request for comments is closed. Closed as inactive however it seems there was consensus not to initiate a new project but to continue using the main Wikisource project for this.

This is a proposal to start a project dedicated to transcribe musical scores using the Extension:Score and the Extension:Proofread Page. Musical score support has always a dreamed feature by the Wikimedia community, and now it is finally working both in Wikipedia and in Wikisource (example 1, example 2). This opens the door to start a project focused on music scores.

General Comments (on overall proposal)[edit]

  • Oppose Oppose The value proposition of using a wiki is the ability to internally crosslink a collection of documents/pages. You can't do that in a musical score. In fact, I don't think it is even technically possible to add links within a score using this extension. A dedicated music project would just be a place to dump raw musical scores, with no prospect of value-add. Plus I see no evidence yet that such a project could sustain a community. The language-neutral Wikisource is a perfectly serviceable project for language-neutral musical scores. Hesperian 00:47, 26 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I don't think the proposal is to dump whole scores -- in fact many of the people who support the proposal below mention specifically the other, much more established and comprehensive wiki-like projects like IMSLP and Mutopia that have a large amount of the classical canon uploaded already. I can see the value to supplement Wikipedia entries on music with uniform, illustrative snippets, rather than how it's handled now with screenshots of various other engraving programs (e.g., the English article on Fugue). As far as project-internal, within the project I would love to see cross-linked annotated scores, all the quotes of the Dies Irae motive, or examples of ornamentation in different contexts, etc. This could be a very useful tool for research and not possible to do with IMSLP/pdf or existing score repositories. ALTON .ıl 14:10, 11 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It looks as though there is good support and rationale for including muscial scores on the multilingual wikisource. However, how will anyone find that content? In practical terms: If a score has no lyrics in any language and is purely music, then what would I click on from the main page to navigate there? --EncycloPetey (talk) 16:19, 26 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Option 1: As a Wikisource project[edit]

With this option Wikisource would have a new language-neutral version for musical scores. If the score contains lyrics, the score could be transcluded into the corresponding language version using the template Iwpage.

  • Support Support Shared infrastructure and resources. And already a community behind it.--Micru (talk) 15:31, 24 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support if the perimeter is clearly defined « what should go where ? » Cdlt, VIGNERON * discut. 16:10, 24 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support as a general idea. However, creating and loading full scores of the classic war-horses is not something I see the point of. There are already several projects out there that already do this. What extra benefit can we provide users by re-scoring the works? The extension is of much greater use for setting score snippets in the various books and journals that we host in the various language sub-domains. Beeswaxcandle (talk) 22:53, 24 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Helpful!Trongphu (talk) 02:51, 25 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Musical Wikipedia-like projects already exist: IMSLP, Mutopia Project… Hosting specific transcription on Wikisource proves much more useful by this concern… Alexander Doria (talk) 12:56, 27 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support--TheMillionRabbit 20:02, 27 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support--A1 (talk) 19:38, 28 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support If the project is just about transcription, that fits wikisource guideline, there's really no need for an other project. --Psychoslave (talk) 07:45, 29 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support We need some sort of commons for music to be transcuded we need and to unify the effort of every user throughout all wikis. - εΔω 08:11, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Support --Nouill (talk) 18:59, 8 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support -- don't be redundant to IMSLP ALTON .ıl 14:12, 11 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support--Ort43v (talk) 11:14, 24 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Name choice[edit][edit]

  • Comment Comment Language neutral and not used for any other project.
  • Oppose Oppose It's not language neutral – it's kind of Indo-European-language neutral, but not fully. – Ypnypn (talk) 19:03, 24 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose --Psychoslave (talk) 07:45, 29 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply][edit][edit][edit][edit]

  • Support Support The main site could also be used, however its main purpose is currently to host minority languages.--Micru (talk) 19:26, 25 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • This seems to be the best possibility. is multilingual, so it can also include music. --MF-W 16:10, 24 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I like this option, but the others (except mus.wikisource) make sense too. Will there be any copyright problems on oldwikisource? I thought it had different copyright rules. Not sure if that changes anything, though. PiRSquared17 (talk) 17:05, 24 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • +1 Absolutely this. --Nemo 12:03, 25 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support. Remember, also, that some popular songs (e.g. w:Frère Jacques) have lyrics in multiple languages, over the same score. A multilingual project would best support such cases. That said, I haven't been working with oldwikisource so don't know how technically ready it is. Asaf Bartov (WMF Grants) talk 17:53, 25 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support At least at the beginning, there's no need to start with a brand new project. --Aubrey (talk) 13:44, 26 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support as incubator. We should see what we can do really before creating a new wiki. Tpt (talk) 06:52, 27 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support: and if it has success, it could be moved to its own project.--TheMillionRabbit 20:02, 27 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support: wikisource allready have scores in graphic format (mostly PDF), the new format will give the project a new breath --A1 (talk) 18:52, 28 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support I really don't see the point of having yet an other brand. Wikisource already gather various works : math, poetry, novels, etc., why should we put music works elsewhere? --Psychoslave (talk) 07:45, 29 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support I'd start a project to work on music, then make a subdomain if it takes off! -- phoebe | talk 15:33, 30 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support As others have said, start on multilingual wikisource for now (as an incubator), with an option to split off later when there's enough momentum for a standalone wikisource project - AdamBMorgan (talk) 20:03, 30 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support I would support also commons for this purpose. - εΔω 08:11, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Support More simply. --Nouill (talk) 18:59, 8 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • &  no opinion on this proposal overall, but I feel we should try to add to existing projects rather than create whole new ones, as this fragments the community while adding to an existing project breeds new life into it from the people interested in that aspect. Snowolf How can I help? 19:19, 10 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]



Option 2: As an independent project[edit]

On 2004 it was proposed WikiScores, a project dedicated to musical scores. However, back then the technology was not available to make it happen. The page contains references to related projects.


  • Comment Comment It think it is overkill to have yet another project when it could be a Wikisource sub-project, however it can be easier to advertise.--Micru (talk) 15:31, 24 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose --Psychoslave (talk) 07:45, 29 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Option 3: As a Wikisource project but with a different branding[edit]

Internally it would be another Wikisource project, but externally it could have a brand that conveys better the existence of musical scores. It would be a Wikisource subdomain with another logo and name.


  • Comment Comment I don't know if it is technically feasible.--Micru (talk) 15:31, 24 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment Comment I'm not sure to understand this option. This option is about a wikisource project but without the wikisource logo and/or name ? (so what the difference with option 2 ?). In fine, I don't care about the name, the logo and so on. The more important is the contents. Cdlt, VIGNERON * discut. 16:13, 24 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I don't understand what this means. Do you mean a Wikisource subdomain with a different name and logo? PiRSquared17 (talk) 17:51, 24 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Yes, that would be it. Not sure if it is the best option, though.--Micru (talk) 18:06, 24 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose What's the point? At best you'll just create a less strongly bridged environement for our contributor. Let people interested in score transcription have a chance to discover that they may also be interested in transcription of other kind of works. --Psychoslave (talk) 07:45, 29 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Option 4: Independent project: Wiki-lexicon of musical themes[edit]

  • IMHO while copying musical scores, there could be lots of copyright licence problems (or there should be only works older than 70 years after a composer's death).
  • That means that such a project would only deal with older music and as such, it would not be inviting for so many users as Commons or wikipedias in general.

So I suggest, that we have in mind these parameters:

  • A project should be interesting and useful for large masses of users, like wikipedia project in general - not only for a few musicians. Then it could live fully.
  • It should include all music, known to people / that means it could be not always written as a whole composition. Main priority would be more like an indexing; e.g. beginning or main themes, etc. Material, that makes certain composition recognizable and at the same time, it can be in public domain or at least, as fair-use. Internationally, first 5 different notes of a musical citation are in public domain. This is statement, of course, to be checked worldwide.

The purpose:

  • There would be an excellent collection of musical themes and unisone-melody citations, valuable to all musicians, composers, critics, authors, that would like to check if their newly composed melody already exists somewhere, to see, how original they are, or simply, this project would be very useful to people that know how to humm their melody, but they don't know what it is.
  • Of course, every short melodic citation would be categorized and would have a short description of where it derives from / author, etc. It can be well conected with other wiki-projects.
  • There are now several internet databases with apps, like Shazam, Grace note etc. They can recognize a lot of recorded commercial music. However, when it comes to classical music or not global pop music (e.g. music from several countries apart from the US or Europe), it is not really working. There are also some musical dictionaries, written on paper, or some modest internet projects e.g.[1]. However, IMHO, there is a global need of a well organized and searchable musical theme database, that would be best implemented as a wikipedia project.

Entering the data:

  • Apart from Lilipond, which could be used as visualisation in an article, a template should be used in order to invite as many potential users to enter the data, as possible. Similar to Commons, but with additional interface (perhaps a keyboard, or only clickable pitch and pitch lenght characters).
  • In order to have a reference to data, every entry should include a link or a note about the publisher, year of publishing/first performance, licence, etc. This would also be the checkpoint to the lenght of aprticular cited melody / theme. If the composition, from which a certain melody derives, is older than 70 years after a composer's death, then it can be (potentially) cited more than just a few notes. But however, what is is important, is the beginning of a theme, and every one on this planet remembers a theme from the first pitch on and not from the sixth.
  • In an article, there can also be external links to midi databases or digitalized scores, if they exist. IMHO, wiki does not have to compete with those databases, because there are quite a lot, their number is growing and they can have their own copyright-licence problems, if they wish to.
  • This project should be easy to edit and in this sense it would beat all similar databases in number of entries and clicks as well.

This is my proposition and I believe that a project like this could be a success. Terefore I give my "yes" :)


A place for original works[edit]

Wikisource is fine for transcription, and while having "fixed" partition of existing works, music is also (and to my mind mostly) about live (re-)interpretation, re-use with modifications, and discover of whole new material. It would be great to have a place for original art works. Those said, I don't think that music should have it's dedicated project, just like I think that existing works should go to Wikisource, I think that original works should go into a project liki Wikikultur. --Psychoslave (talk) 07:45, 29 April 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]