The NEUMES Project
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First International Conference of the
American Society of Byzantine Music and Hymnology
The First International Conference of the American Society of Byzantine Music and Hymnology (titled, "Byzantine Musical Culture") was held in Attica, Greece, on 10-15 September 2007 [see, conference website]. The ASBMH is based at the University of Pittsburgh as an "international organisation devoted to the scholarly, scientific and academic study of the development of early Christian music, literature and hymnology and its evolution throughout the Byzantine and post-Byzantine periods" [see, ASBMH website]. The conference was co-sponsored by the European Arts Center (EUARCE), and was dedicated to the memory of St John Chrysostom (A.D. 345?-407). Many of the leading scholars in the field of Byzantine musicology were in attendance. In addition to the 34 scholarly papers presented at the Athens Information Technology Centre, several musical recitals were held. The programme and proceedings were in English and Greek.

The Rev. Dr Konstantinos Terzopoulos, representing the NEUMES Project at the conference, presented a paper that he co-authored with Prof. Louis Barton and Dr Julia Craig-McFeely entitled, "Online Access to Manuscripts of Byzantine Chant" [see, the paper online (PDF format; filesize 3.9 MB)]. The paper traverses the following areas:
  1. motivation and best techniques for digital imaging of ancient manuscripts of Eastern Orthodox chant and hymns;
  2. methods by which manuscript images can be offered freely on the Web for scholarly, religious, or cultural use, while high-resolution images are reserved for access by fee;
  3. a discussion of the problems about metadata ontologies for chant manuscripts; and
  4. a survey of on-going digitisation projects at libraries and Eastern Orthodox monasteries.
Presentation by Fr Constantine Terzopoulos at ASBMH conference, Athens 2007.
The Rev. Dr Konstantinos Terzopoulos (a member of the NEUMES Project's Advisory Board) presented a paper issued by the Project.
Presentation by Fr Constantine Terzopoulos at ASBMH conference, Athens 2007.
The audience were especially interested in the summary of on-going digitisation projects at various Eastern Orthodox monasteries.
The paper's discussion of best practices for manuscript imaging, and its detailed description of the problems of metadata ontology for digitized music manuscripts, were well-received by all.

Audience at ASBMH conference, Athens 2007. The conference gave Fr Constantine an occasion to convey to the community of Byzantine chant and hymn scholars, that the NEUMES Project is interested in, and respectful of, the rich treasury of Byzantine musical artefacts, which have largely been overlooked by Western scholars. He emphasized that trust is the essential ingredient of East-West relations, especially for access to the many thousands of manuscripts housed in Eastern Orthodox monasteries. This conference provided a valuable opportunity for networking and for constructing bridges of trust.

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