Computer Music Journal Volume 15, Number 3 Fall 1991 MIT Press, 55 Hayward Street, Cambridge, Mass 02142 copyright 1991 MIT ISSN 0148-9267 758w

= page 6-12 =

IDEMA: Archive for Electroacoustic Music

IDEMA is the International Digital Electroacoustic Music Archive/Internationales Digitales Electroakustisches Musik Archiv, a joint project of the Center for Computer Research for Music and Acoustics at Stanford University and the Center for Arts and Media Technology in Karlsruhe, Germany. The text below was contributed by Marcia Bauman from IDEMA's first brochure.

From the early days of radio communications to the advanced computer music technology of today, electroacoustic music has emerged as a major genre of the twentieth-century repertoire. Early electronic music compositions form an important body of music history that is continually extended by composers who seek new vehicles for artistic expression. To make this a living history, Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) and the Center for Arts and Media Technology (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany, have joined forces. Together, they are creating the International Digital Electroacoustic Music Archive (IDEMA), one of the first completely digital archives in the world.

Purpose and Goals

IDEMA's purpose is to collect, preserve, and disseminate internationally renowned electroacoustic music. The survival of important early works is now threatened by the deterioration of the equipment and materials used to create, play, and store them. In order to ensure their longevity, CCRMA and ZKM are jointly developing a common digital sound processing technology to transfer these early works from decaying analog recordings to permanent digital storage media, using compact disk standards (16-bit samples, 44.1kHz sampling rate).

In a step-by-step transferal process, the analog tape on which an early work is stored will be played back on its original recording equipment. As the music is played, it will be re-recorded onto digital audio media. The digitized music will be "cleaned," if desired, to eliminate any unwanted clicks or pops. The digitized music will then be ready for permanent storage on CDs and write-once, read-many (WORM) high-capacity digital storage disks. Many electroacoustic works are already available on CDs. They will be included in the archive so that they remain available once their commercial life has expired. As a purely digital archive, IDEMA will not keep any original papers or tapes. Auxiliary materials such as scores, program notes, and background information about the music will be computer scanned and archived on-line.

Archive Branches

Functioning as the initial IDEMA branch institutions, CCRMA and ZKM will collectively gather and maintain all IDEMA materials. CCRMA is an interdisciplinary facility where composers and researchers work together on a variety of projects in digital synthesis, signal processing, interactive composition, MIDI performance, graphics, machine recognition, psychoacoustics, and hardware development.

The CCRMA branch of IDEMA is being developed with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The collection will be housed at the Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound on the lower level of Stanford University's Braun Music Center. Established in 1958, the Archive of Recorded Sound now contains more than 200,000 recordings of classical and popular music, literature, drama, interviews, public addresses, and radio broadcasts in formats ranging from wax cylinders to CDs. AKM will be the European location for IDEMA materials.. . .

. . .

IDEMA will rely on an advisory board comprising renowned composers, musicologists, and scientists whose contributions to the field of electroacoustic music are valued worldwide. . . .

. . . Services

To help realize IDEMA's international scope, specialists at ZKM and CCRMA are developing a machine-readable database that will be linked with library retrieval systems and accessed by remote locations world-wide. The technology at IDEMA is based on existing commercial hardware (computers, recording media, etc.), with programs designed for public access. Scholars, researchers, and those interested in electroacoustic music can browse through IDEMA's on-line catalog, which is being designed to be consistent with international cataloging standards. Semiautomatic access to archive contents will enable music selections to be heard via jukebox or CD players. IDEMA contents will be noncirculating. Copies will be made and distributed on DAT cassettes for scholarly purposes and in compliance with the legal rights of their owners. Since these copies will be in digital form, they will be exact replicas of the archive recordings, achieving the highest quality of sound reproduction.


From time to time lectures and other events will be hosted by IDEMA, where individuals can share information and discuss issues that are important to the field of electroacoustic music.. . .

. . . IDEMA at CCRMA, Marcia Bauman, CCRMA, Stanford University Department of Music, Stanford, California 94305-8180, USA telephone (415) 723-4971, FAX (415) 723-8468.

Typed by Cheryl Vega 4-28-95


downloaded from CCRMA World Wide Web server on may 23 1995 772w

The Target Collection

The original analog tapes for targeted works exist in a number of libraries, archives, radio stations, studios and private collections. Each founding institution has formulated a list of works based on their availability through these sources and upon the recommendation of each institution's selection committee. Approximately 800 works are presently being sought.

ZKM Selections

The European selection committee held its first official meeting at ZKM in May, 1992. At that time, committee members collectively recommended approximately 400 European works composed between 1930 and 1970. The two main criteria for selecting a work were its historical significance, and the urgency precipitated by the deterioration of the

original analog tape on which it resides. Sources for the European works include major centers such as INA/GRM; Westdeutscher Rundfunk, K_ln (WDR); and the Studio di Fonologia Musicale presso la sede RAI-TV, Milan.

In addition, works from smaller private and studio collections, and from the estates of Hermann Heiss and Joerg Mager will be included. The committee also decided to include, where possible, multiple versions of selected works and sound source materials, and later, film music, experimental radio plays and multi-media works.

CCRMA Selections

Several major centers have been contacted and arrangements are being made to digitize approximately 400 works and auxiliary materials. These centers include the Mills College Tape Music Center and the University of California, San Diego, which hold many of the pieces produced at the San Francisco Tape Music Center. Other centers include Columbia University's historic Electronic Music Center and the University of Illinois Experimental Music Studios. A number of significant works by Canadian composers are available through the National Library of Canada. The Laboratorio de Investigacion y Produccion Musical (LIPM), the first major center for Latin American electroacoustic music, has digitized approximately 30 works for the target collection.

The personal collections of Max Mathews and Gordon Mumma provide a wealth of historically significant electroacoustic music for the IDEAMA. Max Mathews has contributed tapes of the earliest computer sound and music developed at Bell Laboratories. Gordon Mumma's collection includes taped performances by the ONCE Theater Group, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, which was a major performance group in the '60s "happenings'' scene. CCRMA will contribute other early computer generated works. Works by composers who were not necessarily associated with major centers, but whose contributions are no less significant, will also be included.

NACSIS is researching and acquiring Japanese works, while research at CCRMA has been initiated to identify Australian works for the target collection. Works by Australian composer Tristram Cary have been digitized and arrangements are underway to include works of other Australian composers.

A commercial multi-channel digital recorder will be used for the preservation and playback of multi-channel works. In addition, the multi-channel works will be stored, not as sound files, but as data files, on CD-ROM, which can be transferred to computer disk. At CCRMA we have recently developed the capability to play four channels using the NeXT computer.

Future Plans

The IDEAMA is envisioned as an archive that will be a major research tool for the international scholarly community, and one which has the widest possible access. Our present plans at CCRMA include: (1) transferring the target collection to recordable CD's and/or CD-ROM disks; (2) providing at least three copies of disks (to Stanford University's Archive of Recorded Sound, ZKM and the New York Public Library); (3) creating a simple computer database for the collection; (4) permanently housing the collection at the Stanford University Archive of Recorded Sound. The Archive of Recorded Sound will have a computer terminal to allow automated access to the collection and equipment to make exact digital copies of the works in the collection.

The IDEAMA originally intended to create a catalog in MARC format and to computer-scan auxiliary paper materials (program notes, scores, etc.) and storing them on CD-ROM. Due to lack of funding, these objectives have been eliminated or postponed. Copies of paper adjuncts to the sound will be kept as traditional library documents for possible future scanning. In the meantime, IDEAMA materials will be a testbed for a multi-media distributed library project currently being developed at Stanford University's Academic Computing Center. It is our hope that once the target collection is completed, more recently composed works will be added in order to represent the field from its inception to the present day.


At Stanford University, the IDEAMA is supported by CCRMA, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. ZKM receives its support from the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and the city of Karlsruhe.