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Re: Thinking about putting together a grant to support development on Li

From: Carl Sorensen
Subject: Re: Thinking about putting together a grant to support development on LilyPond
Date: Wed, 8 Feb 2012 19:11:26 +0000
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On 2/8/12 11:01 AM, "Graham Percival" <address@hidden> wrote:

>On Wed, Feb 08, 2012 at 02:29:00PM +0000, Carl Sorensen wrote:
>> So I looked into the National Endowment for the Arts and the
>> National Endowment for the Humanities.
>I could see this funding Americans to work on lilypond programming
>while living in America.
>I could see this potentially funding Americans to work on lilypond
>programming while living outside of America (i.e. Mike Solomon).
>I could see this potentially funding non-Americans to work on
>lilypond programming while living in America (i.e. hiring a
>foreign post-doc, which requires a work visa and all that fun
>stuff; it's probably a manageable inconvenience if you're talking
>about somebody with a PhD working at a university being funded
>from a research grant, but not manageable in other situations).
>I can not see this funding non-Americans working outside of

If you look at the links, many of the successful grants either invite or
require multiple country involvement.

As a grantee, I think that a university is free to purchase services from
wherever it is desired.  If I were a PI, I'd much rather support LilyPond
development by purchasing services from David Kastrup than by paying a
grad student or post-doc; I'd get much more bang for my buck that way.
And LilyPond development *isn't* the academic content of the grant; it's
infrastructural support.

The development of standardized LilyPond input structures that could be
readily parsed, as well as the tools to parse such structures, would be
more likely to be the academic content of the grant, and would be more
likely to need spending at the university receiving the grant.

>> This is cool information, but it can't be readily studied musically.
>There was a lot of work on MIR (music information retrieval) for
>symbolic music (i.e. sheet music) in the 90s.  Most of that used
>MIDI, but for better or worse, these days almost all of that kind
>of work has been done with musicxml.
>I can imagine such a grant going through if we sell it as "a
>backend rendering program for musicxml", relying on musicxml2ly.
>It would be much harder to sell it if we talked about lilypond
>input directly.

I'm not 100% sure of this.  One of the disadvantages of musicXML is that
it is relatively semantic-free.  (Of course, that's an advantage in terms
of automatic creation of musixXML -- semantics aren't needed to be
understood.)  I believe that the fundamental of appropriately capturing
musical semantics, which is part of the core underpinning of LilyPond,
could make it potentially useful for music scholarship.  As such, I think
it could be an interesting high-risk, high-potential application for a
planning grant.

Of course, before significant effort would be expended in writing a grant
proposal, I'd need to talk with the responsible funding officials in the
NEH to see if such an idea is even interesting to them.  And before I got
to that point, I'd need to put together some talks with musicological
researchers so we could formulate a proposal that is even interesting to
them.  But I won't even go that far if there's no interest from enough of
the LilyPond community to cause me to believe that we might be able to put
together an international team to do something.

>> So I'd like to ask the developers (and the users):  Does this seem
>> interesting to you?  Is this something that is worth trying to put
>> together?  Is anybody interested in contributing to a grant proposal?
>I've said that grants are the best way to have "commercial"
>funding for lilypond.  However, they tend to be country-specific.
>For David, an EU grant would be best; I am pessimistic that he
>could be funded with a US grant unless he was willing to move

As I mentioned above, a joint US-German grant would work nicely for David,

>The other question is whether to aim the grant directly at
>lilypond, or instead include a bit of lilypond development as part
>of a different grant.  Just like most (US) universities skim
>10%-50% off of any grant for "operating expenses", a grant could
>direct 10-20% of its money towards program development, ideally
>focused on its area.  For example, I could imagine a grant to
>preserve the history of Spanish guitar music spending maybe 10% on
>general lilypond development, 10% on tablature-specific lilypond
>development, and the rest on students to typeset guitar music,
>make scores available online, write a book, etc etc.

I'm quite certain that the grant sources I've identified at this point
won't support a grant that says "Develop LilyPond".  Instead, the grant
has to be "Do something interesting supporting research in humanities
(I.e. music)".  The LilyPond work has to be supported based on achieving
the desired academic goals.  But I don't think that's unreasonable to



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