This project was inspired by a deceptively simple question: what can maps tell us about music history? In scholarship and in the classroom, musicologists use maps to tell certain stories, but they don’t always tell those stories as effectively as they might. We’re working to change that.
This project began with a focus on mapping musical life in 1924 Paris, then expanded to visualize case studies in transmission and reception of 1920s French music. Next we’ll investigate the ways that digital mapping can clarify or challenge music historical narratives in numerous times and places. For more on how we made the maps you’ll find on this website, and for more on how the project will evolve over the next months and years, continue reading.
Musicologists have long sought to create extensive catalogues that capture various aspects of musical life, including works written by a composer or group of composers, performances given at an institution or in a city, editions produced by a publisher or around a single work, and many others. The only difference between our project and many other catalogues or databases that have come before is that ours was born digital, and – perhaps more importantly – born as a combination scholarly-pedagogical-public research tool.