Col•loqui / Taller: Recerca Musical en l’era digital: catalogació i bases de dades – Colloquium / Workshop: Music Research in the Digital Age: Cataloguing and Databases


Co-ordinator: Jordi Ballester (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona / Societat Catalana de Musicologia)

Institut d’Estudis Catalans, Barcelona, 22-23 October 2015

Almost all of us active in music research today are also involved in and affected by the digitalization of research materials, through databases, web pages, blogs, digital music editions,  internet platforms, etc. There is no question that digital technology is the way forward in research, as in every other aspect of our lives. A colloquium on this subject, held under the auspices of the Societat Catalana de Musicologia, was thus a timely event for a number of reasons, not least to showcase some of the digitalization projects that have been accomplished in recent years and are currently in progress.

One of these projects—that of the Grupo Complutense de Iconografía Musical (based at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid)—is already accessible, although is also still on-going ( Compared to some fields of research, musical iconography is quite advanced in its use of digitalization, both for the identification and location of images and for descriptive and historical details relating to those images. Cristina Bordas demonstrated the database of the Prado in Madrid, to which she and her colleagues have identified and contributed an impressive amount of historical information on those paintings in the collection connected to music in some way. The results are easily accessible and make for fascinating brousing, ranging from the basic factual information to the transcription of musical pieces found notated in the paintings (notably in Hieronymous Bosch’s celebrated Garden of Delights) and the identification of musical instruments, with recordings made on equivalent historical instruments to give the user an idea of the sounds and repertory peculiar to it. Recordings also form part of the catalogue of the Museu de la Música de Barcelona (Marisa Ruiz), and cataloguing of images for comparative and analytical purposes  lies at the heart of of the Asociación Española de Documentación (AEDOM) (Gorka Rubiales) (http:// www.iconografí

As regards Barcelona, the music librarians of the Biblioteca de Catalunya (Rosa Montalt) and the Orfeó Català (Marta Grassot) brought us up to speed concerning the continual process of digitalization and compilation of digital resources for these major music collections. The cataloguing of Catalan musical heritage continues its indispensable work under the leadership of Josep Maria Gregoria of the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona (, while two databases being developed at the Institució Milà i Fontanals (CSIC) under the direction of Emilio Ros-Fábregas focus on sources of folk music ( and polyphonic books preserved in Spanish libraries and archives (

In addition, Laurent Pugin, of RISM, gave a workshop on best practice in realizing and using digital resources, and a paper on the ‘Challenges of music research in the digital age’, placing activities in Spain in a broader international context. Overall, the colloquium afforded insight into a number of active and high-quality digital projects, and also suggested a number of ways forward for their creation, use and accessibility now and in the future.

TK 4/11/2015

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