The music library and the future

The LCH Music Library is a treasure trove of some of the best choral and organ music ever published. In the last few days I’ve been working on reorganizing all the instrumental parts — buying new filing pockets and making labels. So far I’ve only made a small dent in the instrumental parts for the Bach Cantatas — which alone take up four full legal-size filing drawers.

You may have heard that sales of books in digital format (like for the Kindle and iPad) are just about equal. I admit that before I got my iPad, I hadn’t had time to read books in many years. But since last June I’ve probably read two dozen full-length novels on my iPad.

The music publishing arena is changing, too. When Peter Hallock and Carl Crosier first published the Ionian Psalter in 1987 in paper format, it took the equivalent of five letter-size filing drawers at LCH to store all the choral copies for 30 choristers. Imagine all the paper, packing and shipping that was required to ship the Psalter to over 800 churches around the country. Now Ionian Arts  sells all 212 psalm settings on a single CD and allows churches to print the copies they need for their choristers, organist and congregation. A number of our choral anthems are sold as “electronic downloads”— we send out a file in PDF (Portable Document Format) and license churches to reprint it.

The choral score for the Bach Mass in B Minor takes 242 pages!

The choral score for the Bach Mass in B Minor takes 242 pages!

All this is in contrast to the score for the Bach Mass in B Minor. The choral score takes 242 pages and Carl said, “I just can’t imagine anyone would purchase this as an electronic download!” Yes, but what if chorister held the equivalent of a Kindle or an iPad and “turned pages” by swiping across? Is that the future for reading music?

Only time will tell. At least the music wouldn’t be eaten by cockroaches!

About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
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