Brazilian music scores are difficult to find and access. Most of them has never been edited or is out of print. Many music editors have stopped sheet music edition.
Music manuscripts by Antonio Carlos Gomes (1836 – 1896) have recently been registered on UNESCO’s Memory of the World list, but only two of them are recorded on RISM (Répertoire International des Sources Musicales) database. Works by Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887 – 1959) have been edited by Max Eschig, a fact that contributed to making him worldwide renowned. What about their predecessors and followers?
The main Brazilian music libraries are located in Rio de Janeiro, capital of the country for almost 200 years. The National Library, the greatest in Latin America, keeps 250.000 items - among which 50.000 are music scores -, and Alberto Nepomuceno Library (BAN / UFRJ) more than 30.000. Relevant collections belong to the National Archive, Banco do Brasil’s Library, MIS (Museum of Image and Sound) and IMS (Instituto Moreira Salles). Online public catalogs are not available in most cases. Some 0,5% of all scores have been digitized and it is very hard to obtain onsite copies.
Web availability is a contemporary way to bridge the gap between musicians and scores. There are presently some initiatives that focus this goal, among which MUSICA BRASILIS (www.musicabrasilis.org) and SESC Partituras (www.sesc.com.br/SescPartituras/). A major challenge concerns interoperability, as well as compliance with W3C standards.
Musica Brasilis has recently joined the National Library and UNESCO to start a major initiative to digitize and edit 5.000 Brazilian classical music works, among which all written by Carlos Gomes, as well as by other prominent composers, such as José Maurício Nunes Garcia (1767 – 1830), Henrique Oswald (1852 – 1931), Alberto Nepomuceno (1864-1920), Camargo Guarnieri (1907 – 1993) and Almeida Prado (1943 – 2010). Contemporary composers will be invited to contribute to the initiative, which aims to fill the gap of digital preservation of born-digital scores.
The digital scores will be published in compliance with Linked Open Data (LOD) principles.