What is this?
The Recent Music Performance Database (RMPDB) is an open access corpus of contemporary music performance data . Currently the site is set up as a database that you can query for specific factors like whose music is being performed, when and where performances occurred, and what types of instruments are performing. You can then download some or all of the data to do you own analysis with your own tools.
Why does it exist?
Faced with a stagnant budget and an ever increasing amount of potential music to purchase, I (music librarian Scott Stone) decided that I needed more data to help make some purchasing decisions for the music collection at the University of California, Irvine. Standard repertoire lists exists for older canonical music; however, deciding what contemporary music to purchase sometimes seemed like trying to find a needle in a haystack! I hoped that studying performance trends at curated contemporary music festivals and concert series would help unveil trends in what the performance community is regularly playing outside of the academic setting – and it did!
After presenting on the initial project at the Music Library Association’s joint west coast chapter meeting in 2016 at the University of Washington, I found out that other music librarians were interested in this data. Consequently the decision to share the data and allow others to contribute to the corpus was made so that this information could be accessed by any interested parties.
Where does the data come from?
In a few small cases festival directors were able to provide some of the performance data; however, the vast majority of the initial data (approximately 2,500 pieces) has been collected from the current or archived (through the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine) websites of the festivals.
Can I help?
ABSOLUTELY! See the Contribute page for more information.
This project would not be possible without grant funding from the Librarians Association of the University of California (LAUC) Research and Professional Development Committee. Additionally, I want to thank Dr. Cecilia Sun (musicologist) for letting me brainstorm with her and contributing some of the initial data. Last, but certainly not least, huge thanks go to the amazingly talented programmer of this site and database, Rick Wiggins, President of Carrick Enterprises, for his expertise and site hosting.
Images for the banner are licensed for attribution under Creative Commons. Thank you to great photographers for sharing your work!