Expressive Musical Terms Index: A Case for Web-Based Technology as a Means of Interpreting Musical Scores


Calvin Lesko

Document Type


Publication Date



One of the most commonplace elements of the graphic notation of music is the most elusive element to interpret: the Italian expressive terms that populate most music scores. Nowhere is this more the case than in the music of Fr?d?ric Chopin, for whom we have simultaneous editions of which none serve as the definitive score. Some studies have addressed specific terms, such as Jeffrey Kallberg?s examination of ?con duolo,? a term which appears only twice in Chopin?s oeuvre. But these studies are few, and together they indicate the absence of a more comprehensive approach to understanding what Chopin meant when he used these terms. In order to address this absence, I have turned to Omeka, the web-publishing platform, to develop a demo of an online index of the Italian expressive terms that appear in the first editions of Chopin's scores. Such an index affords scholars and performers the means to compare and analyze the use of these terms across Chopin's output, within specific genres, and across his first editions published in France, Germany, and England. The next phase of this project would be to include the autograph scores of Chopin's works. It is then that one would turn to the music of Chopin's contemporaries and influences. The ultimate objective is to produce some sort of editorially directed crowdsourcing site that would allow musicians from across the globe to contribute to building an extensive database for all expressive terms (including those in languages other than Italian) and for all composers.


David Kasunic




Summer Student/Faculty Research Endowment

This document is currently not available here.