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Published 20.05.2015 | Author : admin | Category : Things Guys Love

This article describes the process of digitizing sheet music celebrating Pullman porters and rail travel from the 1870s-1920s.
I believe that music has a unique ability to give an almost visceral clarification of historical trends and events.
The process of turning sheet music into digitized files is neither straightforward nor error-free, but I believe well worth the effort. As can be seen in the chart from Donald Byrd [2] , different OMR software packages vary widely in cost and technique. My first attempt at using OMR software to bring music to life was with the Pullman State Historic Site's Pullman Virtual Museum [3].
To give dimension to this aspect of lost America, we decided to digitize the sheet music in the collection in order to make it available through the Pullman Virtual Museum.
The above image of the lobby in the Hotel Florence is taken from very near the location of the actual Hotel piano [10]. OMR-ing sheet music is a very useful and worthwhile endeavor for librarians and museum staff alike, despite its time-consuming nature.
On December 30, 1903, 1,900 Chicagoans flocked to the newly opened Iroquois Theater to see the latest Broadway hit, Mr.
Among the 4 cast members who perished was the up and coming star aerialist Nellie Reed, playing a fairy, suspended on a trapeze 100 feet above the main floor when the fireball hit.
As a tribute to her, I have inserted a 2 beat pause towards the end of the music, right before the final dance number, where Ms.
Andrew Bullen is the Information Technology Coordinator for the Illinois State Library, and a proud resident of the Pullman community. As an (admittedly amateur) local historian, it has been frustrating to be presented with spectacular examples of sheet music that give shape and depth to history yet be totally inept at playing the tunes on a piano or other musical instrument. The skill set itself involved in a sheet music digitizing project is fairly basic: one needs to have some understanding of music theory, be able to read music, and be able to scan documents into an imaging software program such as Photoshop. None of them comes close to achieving a success rate comparable to the best optical character recognition software. The Pullman State Historic Site has a growing collection of sheet music related to Pullman travel and Pullman Porters.
The process began by first scanning each page of the sheet music into a TIFF file (no compression) at 400 DPI.
I like to use Harmony Assistant because of its powerful instrumentation and playback features. She was to have gradually descended to the stage while sprinkling rose petals on the audience as she went by.

By clicking on the musical object, an appropriate submenu pops up with alternative choices.After editing the music score, the file can be saved in a wide variety of formats.
Happily, as it turns out, through a combination of Optical Music Recognition (OMR) and music composing software, I can scan the music, "read" it to detect the notes, time signature, etc., and tweak its playback to get just the right sound I want.
However, the software that actually does the conversion, optical music recognition software, is relatively new and the software and recognition algorithms are less than ideal. If you follow the OMR science links, you will find much more theses about OMR than there are public[ly] available programs.
I then tried to defox [8] and otherwise clean up the scanned image and clarify some of the staff lines and notes, extremal-boardwhich frequently bled and lost sharp definition during the scanning process.
Music is an ideal tool to connect users to information, because few phenomena evoke stronger emotional responses than music [11].
I saved the file as a MIDI file, since I wanted to open it in a second program (Harmony Assistant) to refine its playback characteristics.Harmony Assistant was developed in France, and the help menus and context-sensitive help text reflect a rather Gallic approach to the English language.
For more information on Pullman porters and the Pullman company’s hiring practices of African-Americans, see Bates, Beth Tompkin. A journey on a Pullman car summoned up images of romance and adventure, and became a powerful symbol of new beginnings and accomplishment.
As an example of how a library might use OMR to bring an added dimension to a historical event, we can examine the process of digitizing sheet music using a tune that was indirectly responsible for a terrible tragedy. Regardless, this is a very powerful and complex program, allowing a user to create all kinds of effects using a wide variety of different instruments.
I did not purchase the software for this article (it runs to $399 USD), but the demo version seemed to have a superb recognition algorithm as can be seen below. An example of the Pullman car as metaphor for life’s journey can be seen in the 1873 farce-comedy Tourists in a Pullman Car written by William A. The Sharpeye OMR engine [9] is used by other OMR programs and can be counted on to give fairly good results.
Users of the Pullman State Historic Site have the option of streaming the music or actually downloading the MIDI file. The music in question is the 1903 tune "In the Pale Moonlight," a part of the musical comedy Mr. December, 1903 in Chicago had been a very cold month and, with several bitter ongoing strikes, had also been a tense and acrimonious time despite the holiday season [13]. The music is written in A, yet the OMR software has read the key signature with one line in the key of D and one in F. It can read TIFF images with LZW compression, and it seems to have a faster and more reliable scanning interface.

I can find her first appearance in the New York Times, 4 new plays at the theatre this week, Nov.
Mestayer and James Barton in which, as the train rambles along, the characters have adventures and romances [4]. An added benefit to all of this digitizing is that we have been able to produce a CD for sale in the museum’s gift shop.
It also has a virtual singer, should one wish to try out the music and lyrics [17], and an add-on called OMeR which acts as an OMR program. It is more expensive ($200 more) than SharpEye, so if cost is a factor, this package might prove to be too expensive.I also looked at the OMeR add-on from Harmony Assistant. The Pullman company was also one of the largest employers of African-Americans in the rigidly segregated society of 19th and early 20th century America [5]. As an example, the 1880 tune Tourists in a Pullman Car by George Bowron has 280 measures (5 pages with 14 measures of music, each consisting of 4 parts). The cost of producing the CD and information sheet is negligible, and it can be retailed for $15.00. Pullman Porters were generally the only African-Americans that much of white society ever casually interacted with [6].
More information can be found about the farce-comedy theatrical genre and Tourists in a Pullman Car in specific in Smith, Cecil Michener.
The almost non-existent firefighting equipment on hand was totally ineffective, and the supposedly impregnable fireproof curtain failed to lower completely. The mini-icons are also very small and similar in design and layout, so navigating between the appropriate sub-menus was very confusing.
There are many, many works on the Pullman Porters’ experiences, listings of which are beyond the scope of this article, but a fascinating glimpse into a vanished America. As actors and stagehands panicked and fled out the rear stage doors, the sudden gust of frigid December air from the opened doors created a huge fireball, filling the balconies with flame and superheated air.
Many of the fire doors were locked, as the theater management wanted to prevent balcony patrons from sneaking down to the lower levels for better seats; in addition, what fire exits did exist were unmarked and hidden behind curtains with doors that opened inward. Much of 19th and 20th century history is dramatically illustrated by sheet music, which transmitted music before the widespread adoption of radio.
To this day, the Iroquois Theater fire remains the worst single-building fire disaster in U.S.

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