Performing the Digital Edition: Textual Scholarship and the Digital Consumption of Music Scores

 >  > Raffaele Viglianti Digital Dialogue

Raffaele Viglianti

Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities
Speaker Website
MITH Conference Room
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
12:30 pm

What is the future of sheet music? The flexibility of the digital medium, as opposed to the rigidity of the printed form, calls for a more modern concept of the music score.

Even digital sheet music, in most cases, is designed to be printed; it is either produced with typesetting software, or made of images scanned from a printed source. This type of digital score exists in digital form almost exclusively for distribution. The difference between print and digital distribution is access: scores can be downloaded and printed at home.

Digital consumption, on the other hand, entails reading and performing the score directly from its digital manifestation. Small businesses are already investing in technologies to make the score follow the performer while playing, to support writing and displaying annotations by the performer, a teacher, other peers, etc.

In this talk, I’ll address the current status of digital sheet music publication and ask: can the digital consumption of a changeable, customizable publication influence a performer’s advocacy of a work? Textual scholarship and the preparation of critical editions is a fundamental component of this discussion, where I’ll convey editorial transparency as a vital function of digital consumption.

Raffaele Viglianti is a Research Programmer working on the MITH development team. He came to MITH from the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London (KCL), where he was most recently a Post-graduate Research Assistant. At King’s, he contributed to several major digitization and text encoding projects while also completing a PhD in Digital Musicology.

Raffaele’s work revolves around digital editions and textual scholarship. He is currently an elected member of the Text Encoding Initiative technical council and an advisor for the Music Encoding Initiative, which produces guidelines for the digital representation of music notation with a focus on scholarly requirements.

As a researcher, Raffaele specialises in editions of music scores, contributing to the ongoing change to scholarly editorial theory and practice in the digital medium. His work also focuses on the shaping of music performance practice by the digital consumption of music scores, or the performance of a music score from a digital device.

A continuously updated schedule of talks is also available on the Digital Dialogues webpage.

Unable to attend the events in person? Archived podcasts can be found on the MITH website, and you can follow our Digital Dialogues Twitter account @digdialog as well as the Twitter hashtag #mithdd to keep up with live tweets from our sessions. Viewers can watch the live stream as well.

All talks free and open to the public. Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunches.

Contact: MITH (,, 301.405.8927).