The second developmental phase of the Online Chopin Variorum Edition (OCVE) is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and will run from October 2011 to March 2014, following a pilot study (May 2003 to October 2004) and a first developmental phase (November 2005 to September 2009), both of which were also funded by the Mellon Foundation.

During Phase 2, the project will continue to address four key research questions:

  • What is a musical ‘work’ and how is the ‘work concept’ that has prevailed since the mid-nineteenth century challenged by the Chopin sources?
  • What is the best means of capturing in an edition the creative history implicit in the sources, ranging from the earliest sketches through to the last impressions of the first editions and beyond?
  • How can the intellectual and logistical difficulties routinely experienced by editors in handling disparate source materials be overcome by means of technological support?
  • In what ways might technology change the mode of presenting information previously contained – or, conversely, uncontainable – within printed editions? Moreover, how might technology fundamentally alter the musician’s and the musicologist’s understanding of different sources, their often complex interrelationships, and their significance as artistic and cultural artifacts within a rich history of publication, pedagogy, and performance?

As at previous stages, the principal aim in this phase of research is to facilitate and enhance comparative analyses of disparate types of source material. By significantly increasing the digital content (in terms of both musical material and metadata) and by providing enhanced tools for its use, the second developmental phase will result in a considerably expanded resource of commensurately greater value to a range of musical and musicological communities. The research will exploit emerging technical capabilities for text/image comparison as well as recent musicological advances in cognate projects. The end result will be an altogether new type of 'dynamic edition'. Users themselves will be able to construct unique 'editions' of their own, combining elements from the digitised source materials with reference to the scholarly apparatus that will be provided. In addition, there will be tools for adding personal annotations and thus for creating highly flexible 'critical commentaries'.

OCVE is directed by Professor John Rink (University of Cambridge) with additional scholarly research provided by Dr Christophe Grabowski. The technical development is being pursued collaboratively by the Department of Digital Humanities (DDH) at King’s College London and the Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies (CARET) at the University of Cambridge under the direction of Paul Vetch and John Norman respectively. Sarah Williams is OCVE Programme Manager.