Mentoring Novice Music Editors, Or, How I Spent My Summer with Old Manuscripts and New Software




Gerber, Steven K.

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A music technology/composition professor and a music librarian/musicologist mentored a small team of undergraduates at George Mason University in a grant-funded research project that involved editing music manuscripts held at the Library of Congress. The music was composed by Mannheim cellist and conductor Peter Ritter (1763-1846). During the ten weeks of the project, students were paid to inspect manuscripts or microfilm facsimiles and select particular scores to transcribe and edit for modern performance. Edited scores and parts were converted to PDF files and uploaded to International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) for world-wide open-access, and representative selections of chamber music were publicly performed at a summer’s end celebration of student research. Sophomore and junior music majors, some with limited background and experience, learned to use notation software, decipher musical handwriting and shorthand from an earlier period, investigate related biographical and historical matters, learn about performance practices, plan a short concert, coach performers, exhibit personal research processes and findings, and make meaningful contributions to a major digital repository of past repertoire.


Paper given at a joint conference of Atlantic and Greater New York Chapters of Music Library Association at Rutgers University October 13-14, 2017.


Music; Manuscripts; Editing; Undergraduate Research