I didn't hate music history class, I just had a great dislike for one of my instructors. Music history class left a bad taste in my mouth that took a long time to rinse out, but now, being a little older and a whole lot wiser, I have dusted off my old history books and began to build something that I honestly believe is going to be a really cool research tool for your music students to use. To top it all off, it has been a lot of fun building it!
As I type this I look at the clock to see it is already 1am. I have spent the last two nights working on a new music history database of sorts that goes far beyond anything that I have seen on the Internet so far. Thanks to some great open source software from the brains over at MIT, I have managed to put together a really neat visual and relational database of information on many of the major composers of our past and present.
The great thing about this new music history database is that it is very visual. The first thing you will see when visiting it is an interactive timeline that can be clicked on and dragged around through the various centuries of music history. Click on a composers timeline and get a small popup that tells you a little about that composer including links to audio files, books, and other information.
Click the Tile View button and you can turn on or off various options such as eras, type of music composed, and others still to be added. Want to know what composers wrote operas AND were in the Romantic Period? Click what you want to find and it will magically appear.
The really cool part of this application though is the Map View. The data list on this one is incomplete, but once the data is entered you will be able to visually see on a map of the world where each composer was born and where he is now buried. You can zoom in and out on this map, see a sattelite view of the towns, and even have the roads added to it if you wish. At some point in the future I hope to be able to add links to use in Google Earth to make fully interactive views of the individual composer's travels.
In case you can't tell, I am very excited about where this project will take me. I hope you will take a look at the new application, available through the Composers link on the home page of the MusicEdMagic web site. Remember that it is still in development. Much of the data is incomplete, and some of it may have errors. Please take a look though, and let me know what you think about it!