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We need an interactive Choral Literature book

We need a new Choral Literature textbook, one that features recordings, audio, video, and interactivity.
 
Apple's new iBook author program might be the way we get there - here is a bit about it from MacRumors:
Apple released an easy to use tool called iBooks Author which allows anyone (publishers and users) to create interactive iBooks with text, video, images and more. As Apple mentioned during their media event, the availability of such a robust tool to make electronic books has been lacking. iBook Author can export projects in a number of different formats, including iBook format, PDF and text.
And here is a video that provides the dream behind the technology:
 
Get with it, scholars! I want a new book!
 
on January 21, 2012 6:08am
A bit more info about sales/distribution of books created with iBooks:
 
 
on January 21, 2012 6:21am
I downloaded iBooks Author and it does everything Apple claims. It is also easy and intuitive. The interactive choral literature book you envision would be relatively simple to produce, but the product would generate a nightmare of permissions and be formidably expensive due to licensing the media you describe. If one had access to public domain or creative commons scores, audio, video, etc. it would be a breeze. One of the reasons Al Gore's magnificent Our Choice is $4.99 and my music appreciation textbook is $149 is that Gore controls the rights to the media he is publishing.
on January 21, 2012 9:00am
It could be set up sort of like Wikipedia.  Instead of uploading recordings and music, we could use links to existing internet sites and media such as youtube, cpdl, IMSLP, music publishers, etc.  It certainly is not against copyright law to make lists and comments about music.
 
Do you think Dennis Shrock needed permission from all the copyright holders to list composers and their copyrighted music in his Choral Repertoire text?  Probably not.
on January 21, 2012 10:31am
One does not need permission to list or discuss copyrighted material. But you do need permission to reproduce it. (Fair use would permit reproduction of examples, not to exceed a specified percentage of the work. Even under fair use, most publishers would choose to document formal permission before selling or reselling the material.) Many of the performances that could be embedded or linked to from YouTube, etc. are of copyrighted material. In many cases the copyright holder doesn't know or doesn't care about the YouTube posting. Reselling YouTube content of copyrighted material would not be wise. The book you describe might be a valuable resource, but it probably wouldn't be very interactive. And it wouldn't include much professional performance, scholarship, etc. All those pretty pictures of art and architecture from museums require permission, too..
on January 21, 2012 9:39am
Philip and colleagues:  YES!  There's definitely a huge need for a new, up-to-date Choral Lit Textbook complete with scores, recordings, and all the other bells and whistles that modern textbooks include.  (I'm not at all sure what the term "interactive" means in this case, though, and I'm not sure it's an appropriate term to use, unless it refers to self-paced, computer-based individual learning.)
 
I dont' teach Choral Lit any more, but I did for quite a few years, and there was NOTHING availble with a set of recordings.  And the venerable Robinson collection stated his decision right in the Preface NOT to include any "standard" literature, which sort of defeats the purpose of having a large anthology in the first place!
 
The other thing I discovered while preping for that course was that there was relative little that actually dealt with choral LITERATURE, and quite a lot that dealt with choral METHODS, but those are actually two quite different subjects and two quite different studies.
 
As to Apple's new program, all I can say is that owning a typewriter never made anyone a great writer, and owning the latest computer program won't either!!!  A Choral Lit textbook requires a broad and deep knowledge of the field and its literature, a firm understanding of its place in history and in modern music AND modern education, and the ability to organize and present material in a way that makes sense and is actually USEFUL.  The technology used doesn't make a bit of difference if those things aren't present, and an understanding of non-academic language and advanced communication skills wouldn't be half bad, either!
 
Computers and computer programs are tools--very useful tools in a lot of ways.  But that's all they are.
All the best,
John
on January 21, 2012 7:48pm
John I agree that owning a typewriter never made anyone a great writer.  However, Apple's new program would make the task relatively easy if the person you describe were to tackle the project and could somehow deal with the copyright issues.  It would also create a book that would go far far beyond anything that is available at this point and so much simpler than having to juggle book, scores, CDs or DVDs, CD or DVD player, video maching set up, etc.  It could all be within the dimensions of the iPad.  Truly amazing!
 
The implications of the Apple education keynote are mind boggling for me in terms of educational resources.  Can't wait to explore the software.
 
on January 21, 2012 6:06pm
I love the idea!!  Will the "music book" be in iPad?  Will I need to get a grant or sell a lot of cookie dough to make sure my kids all have access to their own "copy"???  Just thinking...
 
on January 22, 2012 6:15am
I don't think it can be done. Apple mandates a maximum price of $14.99 and they take a third. That leaves $9.99 to cover everything else. Currently, although your work can be saved to pdf or text formats (thus, preserving content, but losing much of the proprietary IOS software's interactivity and display features) it cannot be sold in any other (Amazon, Nook, etc.) format. The authoring software is free, but it only works within the Apple universe, and - commercially - only on Apple's terms. Practically speaking that means you need to make or control all your own content. Not a problem if you are a corporation producing a high school chemistry textbook that you can get adopted by tens of thousands of users. What is the potential market for a college level choral lit product that requires an Ipad?
on January 23, 2012 7:42am
I think of the "Teaching Music Through Performance in Choir" series as a sort of literature guide.  Works for me!
on January 28, 2012 11:51am
I've played with the software a bit more (and I'm both impressed and inspired). I did have a though about one way that professional quality recordings - at least - could be incorporated. The text could require that users have a seperately purchased license to stream music from Naxos (etc).