Looking at music printing typefaces (VM2)

PROJECT OBJECTIVE AND DELIVERABLES

The objective of our project is to collect information on music printing in Venice and provide an original and illuminating interface that creatively exemplifies what we find. Following the research phase, what will be produced is a website comprised of two main parts. The first part giving a more historical, and general overview of the significance of Venetian music printing. On the other hand, the second part will be strictly interactive and dive deeper into individual examples of typefaces. As an element of interaction, we will also provide a simple demo version of some digitized musical typefaces applied to a simple tool that allows the user to create and edit simple melodies online.

 

METHODOLOGY

Research
The research portion of our plan will be done in a way to reflect the two components of the project. In order to create an interactive aspect to our final presentation, we will need to collect many samples of musical typefaces. This we will have to do using the only available materials we have, including online databases of Renaissance and Baroque sheet music, and three books that talks about this topic (The Gardano Music Printing Firms, Music Printing in Renaissance Venice and Print Culture and Music in Sixteenth-Century Venice). Furthermore, we will contact experts in the field for possible information or help in finding materials. This part of research will be focused primarily on finding as many samples as possible as to get an accurate idea of what the differences were in typefaces among time periods and various printing companies. As for the other aspect to our research phase, we will investigate the music printing topic from a more historical aspect. We will use books, articles, and papers to get an idea of what the music printing industry was like and why it was significant. If possible, a firsthand trip to Venice could be informative.

Digitization
Interleaved between this research process and modelization and before the actual implementation of our website takes place the digitization, an operation that consists in translating the analogical material making them available in digital format and making the whole process of data manipulation and model creation easier and faster.
In our specific case a lot of material like books, papers and pictures are already given in digital format, for this reason the digitization process will be almost entirely focused on the reconstruction of one (or two) typefaces later used for the illustrative demo.

Modelization and website composition
The modelization takes place in 2 different levels: while the website will have his own model defining different sections and webpages each one of this will have a certain structure and construction.

More precisely the website will be divided in three different sections:

  1. The first part of the website will serve as a sort of historical background in order to inform the user about the scene that was developing during this time in Venice. It will be comprised of text and related images though will not be interactive. Here, we will include, among others, a historical overview of typography techniques, printing companies (who founded them, how it might have influenced music playing in general). It could also be useful to include information on ties between printing of textual books and music in order to highlight differences and similarities between how the industries developed;
  2. the central part of the website will consist in an interactive set of pages that will let the users get informations on different typefaces, have a good overview and will make easier the comparison between different fonts and their usage;
  3. the last part of the website aims at giving a more practical view of fonts and it will consists in a small demo of one or two digitized fonts that will let visitors the possibility to create and write simple melodies.

From a purely design perspective, we will be striving to make our website visually and aesthetically appealing. It will be a simple, modern layout, but at the same time will have elements that relate to the Renaissance content we present. The titles and headings, for example, will use some of the old typefaces we encounter.

The whole website will be created using a CMS like WordPress or more simple ones like Stacey. While the static informative part will be based on simple html/css the interactive one will also contain some javascript code (and/or third party libraries like jQuery) in order to keep the animation and interactions simple, clean and easily portable. The demo will be placed in a dedicated page and will consist either in an external application (java applet) or, once again, in javascript code, allowing the user to manipulate the interface and interact with it using simple commands.

 

PROJECT PLAN AND MILESTONES

Thanks to the different studying background of the members (mathematics and computer science) we built a more cooperative and parallel project plan.

  • Collection of materials
  • Reordering, reorganization and modelization of the materials
  • Parallel work:
    – website basic setup and structure definition
    – website layout and interface stylizing
  • Parallel work on
    – content composition for historical and informative web pages
    – interactive pages creation (font comparison, demo, …)
  • Merge of interactive and informative content
  • Testing and final fixes

Note that the parallel sections of this project plan are not seen as strictly separated, but cooperation will always be involved in every step of the project.

 

CONCLUSION

The whole process of creation of the website will be a very challenging but also interesting job starting from the very start with the collection of information and evolving toward the modelization of the pages and the actual implementation.

The resulting website will be not only an informative mean on the subject but a deeper experience that brings the users in the world of typography and music  during renaissance, with a simple but captivating interface and the environment of italian renaissance music.