FYI France

File 3: Ejournal and archive

by Jack Kessler,

November 15, 2011 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on November 15, 2011 - and, a little later, on, and at Facebook-Jack Kessler's Notes

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Versions of the following have appeared online regularly, since 1992, as a feature of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which is distributed for free via email every month except August. Ejournal subscriptions may be obtained via email request to:

Here this file is one of a number made available - hopefully attractively, all in one place, and relevant to libraries and online digital information work in France and Europe - as part of FYI France (sm)(tm), an online service to which anyone can subscribe for 12 months by postal mailing a check for US $45, payable to Jack Kessler, to PO Box 460668, San Francisco, California, USA 94146 (site licenses also are available): please write your email address on the front of your check. And you can pay via PayPal, on the FYI France homepage:

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Online music research revolutions, in France


I am having lots of fun using an iPhone to hear and watch and research Hélène Grimaud's wonderful playing of the piano -- she of the lycanthropic tendencies, yes, the extraordinary artiste who in her free time established and runs a wolf sanctuary, in of-all-places Westchester County -- and I was wondering about the current state of music librarianship and information, digital and other, in France these days.

For example Grimaud, originally of Aix-en-Provence, may be heard and seen and found-out-about everywhere, online now: she has a website, there are websites about her, there are publishers' websites, and fan-sites and performance-sites, and Facebook pages, Wikipedia articles in various languages, and plenty of interesting and sometimes very elegant performances available for enjoyable hearing and viewing via YouTube.

The "formation", though, was in France -- her initial "education" was there -- herewith, then, a few of the finest library sites for classical and other music which happen to be located within the Hexagone: only four, here, there are many hundreds -- thousands, if the "disco" and "sonore" and music book collections scattered across France, in bibliothèques and médiathèques and other collections, all get included -- some collections enormous and some tiny, but all vitally-important to any local beginner -- France treasures its music documentation...


* Paris, Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique et Musique / IRCAM, Médiathèque / Les Ressources, Centre Pompidou


* Paris, Conservatoire national supérieur musique et danse de Paris, Médiathèque Hector Berlioz


* Conservatoire de Lyon


* Lyon, Conservatoire national supérieur musique et danse de Lyon, Médiathèque Nadia Boulanger


So, a great deal is going on in France, digitally and otherwise, regarding music: I am particularly interested, for example, in IRCAM's "Contemporary Music Portal -- In 2007, IRCAM and other organizations with large collections in the domain of contemporary music came together to create a gateway..." --

-- modern music and music research being, like modern engineering and mathematics and medical care and corporate management and seemingly everything else, a cooperative venture, "team"-and-"teamwork"-oriented... This to me is a strange thing, so much so that someone like me raised in an era of Individual Effort -- Horowitz striding out solo upon the stage, all eyes and ears on only him -- feels lost, sometimes, in this era in which everything apparently gets "Shared", or "Liked" or "Friended" or "Linked by Popularity" and so on. So as music becomes a teamwork thing too, perhaps, I will be very interested if still sceptical to learn about its "gateways" and "coming togethers".

But I was thinking initially, here, of a specific performer: my point being that Grimaud the artiste is online -- and to me the question this suggests is whether music institutions such as the above are online too, or are so sufficiently, yet. As with any activity, nowadays, commercial or governmental or any other, if the practitioners and patients and citizens and customers are out there now, out in the cloud and on their mobiles and wherever, how quick to follow will be institutions which train and promote and cater to them, or how slow? And how quick or how slow ought they to be?

Grimaud's initial education took place in France, as I said. Her education since, however, and certainly her practice now of her "profession", and her current "means of distribution", have been and are emphatically global, as she and so many performers have become expert in their use of digital media for music, for performance & production & distribution, discussion, education, research, so many other purposes.

These last are a function, too, of both performer and recorder, as observers since at least Barthes have pointed out: Grimaud has mastered the art of digital media interviews, it seems -- that direct wolf-like gaze into the camera, the sheer intensity of the communication and playing and recording and verbal explanation -- her fans too, though, unlike Lady Gaga's so far although hers as well, are adept at video & audio & editing, a great deal of fascinating presentation and discussion of Grimaud's art online is authored now not by her but by her listeners.

The YouTube result, to give just one example, is a wonderful chance to tour through the entire and ongoing life of this impressive artist: one may find there now full Grimaud performances of the Rach2 and other "greats", with good quality sound if you use the earbuds, backed up with online music scores nearly-instantly available via Wikipedia -- try External Links at the bottom of the articles there, several online places now mount massive varieties of classical music scores online -- also images and maps and texts related to Mozart and Bach and Cöthen and wolves and ashtanga yoga -- all of great help to anyone trying to follow the flying fingers of a Grimaud, or a Horowitz, or a Hilary Hahn.

Classical music perhaps is less for the initiated, today, as is so often said. Perhaps as well, though, as in so many areas, digital access and technique are creating a new generation of initiates now. Just as the salon gave way to the concert hall and the "general admission ticket", so now an artist such as Grimaud may have a performance life online, one similar in some ways to that which preceded it but one also very different.





For those of us with a great love of music, and an interest in libraries and digital information -- all those databases, all those indexes, and lists, and classifications!... mouth-watering... -- also with any tendency at all to be obsessive-compulsive, here is a weekend project:

If you ever have wanted to put all your Bach into-order by BWV number, to compare or simply enjoy the differences among versions of the same piece on a new recording by Grimaud, a treasured Horowitz, Hahn's amazing fiddle, Dogsounds' Moog... while you are in France, or on Kamchatka, or off the coast of Fukushima taking radiation-readings, or up in Rocinha fleeing bulldozers, or out in Kashgar building railroads, wherever you happen to be... and when-ever, too, as in The Matrix time-zones and national holidays present no barriers...

On iTunes you can make a playlist for each Bnumber and Knumber and so on, sorted automatically by the system, viz.,

-- then sync that to a music-enabled mobile -- iPhones, and et alia if & when iTunes will do that -- and then compare-&-contrast away!

Obtaining the music itself nowadays is no problem either, if your Kashgar wi-fi connection is good: just download from iTunes, the way everybody else does worldwide now. And the Kashgar local-income-relative prices for all of this, for the music & wifi & iPhone, will be dropping spectacularly, don't worry, from various global factors including Greek bond rates & euro parities & rmb revaluations.


Jack Kessler,






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