The Maine Music Box is a flagship music access site, created through a collaboration of the Bagaduce Music Lending Library, Blue Hill, Bangor Public Library, and the University of Maines Fogler Library, and funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The Maine Music Box contains two related channels: a public search interface for searching and browsing digitized musical scores, midi files, and Sibelius Scorch files; and a password-protected instructional facility for teachers of many disciplines. The instructional pages have been created to help teachers fulfill Maine Learning Results requirements for several different areas. The music chosen for the Maine Music Box ranges from vocal popular music to uniquely valuable violin and piano scores. It consists of five major collections: Vocal Popular Sheet Music Collection, Parlor Salon Collection, Music for Two Pianos, Eight Hands, Maine Music, the Haywood Jones Collection of original turn-of-the-century manuscripts, and an instructional collection concentrating on violin. The entire collection is fully searchable through a simple but powerful set of search interfaces.
Over 22,000 pieces of sheet music (songs and instrumental works), contributed primarily by the Bagaduce Music Lending Library and the Bangor Public Library, and dating from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth century, have been scanned as sets of high-resolution images. The resulting scans have been processed in three ways, the whole being known as "digitization":
- A state-of-the-art music recognition process, similar to OCR (optical character recognition) creates digital music files in the form of MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) files and special Scorch files.
- A second process creates web-ready thumbnail images of music covers for viewer reference during searches, as well as larger images of covers and musical scores for detailed viewing, study and printing. Music scores not in the public domain, i.e. still under copyright protection, display information only, without images or music files.
- A third process creates text files of lyrics for vocal pieces, which may be searched by keyword. Scorch files are digital music files created by Sibelius Scorch software, which creates a digital visual score with MIDI playback capability. A visible marker, or cursor, moves through the score as the piece is played back, allowing the viewer/listener to follow the score. The music may be transposed by the viewer, changing the score on the screen, and changing the key of the sound file. Scores may be printed out for further study and use. This powerful teaching tool is a core component of the Instructional channel of the Maine Music Box.
The Instructional side of the Music Box is a password-protected instructional interface accessible by instructors who have requested access. The instructor may search for music through an interface similar to the public search pages. Then the instructor may select individual pieces of music for inclusion in a lesson. The lesson plan is then emailed to students, along with a student login. Students log in to the Maine Music Box to see the lesson with a list of links to the selected music scores and instructions for the lesson.
The Instructional Channel is a versatile teaching facility for teachers of music, social studies, history, the arts, and other disciplines. Lyrics, fully searchable by keyword, offer rich textual material for social, historical, and literary purposes. Sheet music covers are a treasure-trove of period art and advertising; vocal music is useful for the teaching of voice, and the musical scores themselves, as well as the MIDI files and Scorch files, are an invaluable musical resource. The capacity of Scorch files for transposition to other keys can greatly simplify the preparation of band arrangements, aiding in the teaching of arranging, transposition, and composition.
The music chosen for the Maine Music Box ranges from vocal popular music to uniquely valuable violin scores. It is built from five major collections: Vocal Popular Sheet Music Collection, Parlor Salon Collection, Music for Two Pianos/Eight Hands, Maine Music, the Haywood Jones Collection of Maine marches by the gifted Bangor composer and teacher, and an instructional collection concentrating on violin. The entire music collection is fully searchable through a simple but powerful set of search interfaces.