Can going digital improve musical cultural heritage conservation?

Digitisation and the web are being used to manage and disseminate cultural heritage, according to research published in the International Journal of Computational Intelligence Studies. A new study focuses on an Ionian music archive to show how modern technology can be used to conserve musical cultural heritage.

Dimitrios Koukopoulos and Dimitrios Tsolis of the Department of Cultural Heritage Management and New Technologies, at the University of Patras, Agrinio, and Georgios Heliades of the Department of Sound and Musical Instruments Technology, at the Technological Institution of Ionian Islands, in Kefalonia, Greece, have designed and successfully tested the web-based application. They suggest that the application will safeguard the folk music of the Greek Ionian islands and provide services and tools for internet users as well as people who curate musical archives.

It has previously been suggested that two of the biggest challenges in the domain of cultural heritage informatics are novel data capture in many formats under a variety of conditions and provision of semantically-based representation, search and editing information technologies to support processing, management and dissemination of cultural content and environment, the team reports. The Ionian Music Archive (IMA) is an EU funded project involving the preservation of a huge amount of musical wealth facing extinction as well providing a central point of reference for Ionian musical culture. Part of the application involves a sophisticated latent watermarking system to protect the recorded artefacts.

The system is fully scalable and updatable , the team reports. Moreover, they point out that production disc is in publication, which includes a collection of ecclesiastical sounds from all three islands, revealing the unique timbre of Ionian Island music. Traditional songs of the countryside are now being incorporated into the system.

Koukopoulos, D., Tsolis, D. and Heliades, G.P. (2016) ‘Ionian music archive: application of digitisation, management, protection and dissemination technologies for musical cultural heritage’, Int. J. Computational Intelligence Studies, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp.3-18.

Author: David Bradley

Award-winning, freelance science writer based in Cambridge, England.