Submit a Manuscript to the Journal

Journal of New Music Research

For a Special Issue on

The Future of Digital Music Editions

Manuscript deadline
15 December 2023

Cover image - Journal of New Music Research

Special Issue Editor(s)

David J. Smith, Northumbria University
[email protected]

Frauke Jürgensen, Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien
[email protected]

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The Future of Digital Music Editions

This special issue of JNMR relates to an AHRC-funded network grant, ‘Digital directions for collected editions: keyboard music by British musicians before c.1700’ and a conference held in March 2023. However, contributions are not restricted in terms of time period or genre of music.

Collected editions of early English keyboard music are restrictive, since there is insufficient space in a printed volume to record the myriad differences between texts which come about in a manuscript culture in which composer autograph manuscripts are largely absent. Editions which collate the texts and those opting for a ‘best text’ approach both have their drawbacks, and neither can convey the way no two sources agree on the placement of single- and double-stroke ornament signs in music up to c. 1625. A digital infrastructure allows more meaningful representation of variance between sources using music notation rather than an algebraic-looking textual commentary, and can accommodate source-focused editing, where the scribe and user come to the foreground, alongside composer-based editing. The encoding of all sources of each piece also allows computational musicological study of texts which may shed light on, for example, the interpretation of ornament signs, questions of authorship, and scribal practice.

Although a digital approach would solve many problems in the editing and presentation of this repertoire, and such solutions could be applied to music editions of varying genres and periods, it also raises serious issues. Will the editors of this music in the future need to have a different skillset, or will editing projects involve teams containing varying specialist expertise? What can the experienced editor of scholarly, critical editions bring to digital musicology? Is there still a need for an authoritative voice, or should the editor act more as curator? How will digital editions of the future be sustained – who will ensure data and software integrity in the longer term? It is likely that the subscription model of the printed collected edition of the past is no longer sustainable, so for scholarly, editions of music to flourish, what will replace it? Communities lie at the heart of music editions: who will be using them in the future, and in what contexts, and will they be financed by users or funding bodies? What is the scholarly music edition for, and to what extent do digital music projects ask the users what they need?

The main focus for the issue is to consider what a new infrastructure for collected editions of music might look like in the digital age.

We invite contributions from editors, musicologists, music technologists and computer scientists on their experiences of what has worked well in past digital editing projects and what has not, as well as a vision for the future of music editing in the digital domain. The following is indicative of areas that might be covered, but is not intended in any way to be prescriptive or restrictive:

  • Sustainability in terms of data
  • Financial sustainability and business models
  • Case studies of existing projects
  • New editorial methodologies and the role of the editor
  • Technologies – the storing, processing, and presentation of musical data / musical notation
  • Skillsets needed, now and in the future – technological, musicological, palaeographical
  • Intersection between digital editions, Higher Education, and libraries
  • Audiences and users of digital music editions

Submission Instructions

  • Submissions should be 6,000–8,000 words in length, including all notes and references
  • Select "The Future of Digital Music Editions" when submitting your paper to ScholarOne
  • Notifications concerning acceptance will be sent no later than 13 March 2024
  • The issue is projected to appear in May 2024

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article