Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music (CHARM) Sound Files Search and Discography

Article excerpt

Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music (CHARM) Sound Files Search and Discography. King's College London, 2009. http://www.charm.rhul.ac.uk/index.html. (Accessed 20 May 2013). [Requires a Web browser, an Internet connection (Mozilla Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer 7, or Opera 10 or above recommended) and a media player (Winamp, Songbird, or VLC media player recommended).]

Introduction

CHARM (Research Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music) Sound Files Search is an online audio archive that provides access to almost 5,000 classical music files that were digitized from a collection of 78 rpm discs located at the King's Sound Archive at King's College London, Initiated in 2004, funding for the project was made possible thanks to a five-year grant from the UK-based Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Part of this funding was used to establish the CHARM Transfer Project in order to digitize, index, and archive the audio files online. The digitization project received additional funding in 2009 from Jisc (a UK-based charity that focuses on the intersections between higher education and digital technologies), which allowed digitization to continue, concentrating on recordings of British and Irish performers produced between 1900 and 1950. Although AHRC funding for the CHARM Transfer Project ran out in 2009, the CHARM Sound Files Search is still freely available online and hosted by Royal Holloway, University of London. (1)

The CHARM Transfer Project was part of a much larger research center concentrating on the musicological study of classical music sound recording in the first half of the 1900s that brought together researchers of several prominent academic institutions including Royal Holloway, University of London, King's College London, and the University of Sheffield. In addition to the online sound files, the CHARM Web site also presents a searchable discography, academic papers, and the findings of a series of research projects.

Information pertaining to organizational structure and acknowledgments for the project are readily available on the site. Access to the entire CHARM Web site--including research findings, much of the metadata, and audio files--is freely available to anyone with an Internet connection. Supported by a mandate that CHARM would act as .an advocate for the extension of fair dealing, for sound recordings, the project aims to provide openly available data and files whenever possible. For sound files that were not in the public domain, CHARM attempted to negotiate the rights to provide online access.

In 2009, CHARM researchers were awarded an additional five years of funding, but the project shifted focus to the musicological study of live performance as opposed to recorded performance. Although funding for the project has expired .and additional development of the Sound File Search has ceased, the site remains online and open to the public.

Content

The recordings selected for inclusion in the Sound Files Search were digitized from the King's College London King's Sound Archive of over 145,000 78 rpm discs, representing a broad range of classical repertoire recorded and produced in the early-to mid-1900s. Many of these recordings were acquired through donation from the BBC Gramophone Library and used in London and regional UK BBC studio broadcasts from the early 1900s to 1960s. For more information on the history and holdings of the King's Sound Archive, visit http://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/depts/music/research/proj/ksa/index.aspx (accessed 20 May 2013).

The files chosen for the CHARM Transfer Project attempt to avoid duplication by excluding repertoire that is already available in CD or online reissues. The site provides clear justification for the scope of the Sound Files collection. Within the collection there are several notable strengths including almost 500 recorded Schubert songs. …

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