MUSICA came into being in 1983 as a project of the Centre d’Art Polyphonique d’Alsace (CAPA) in Strasbourg, France. In 1990, the International Centre for Choral Music (ICCM) joined the project to lend its support for the ambition expressed by the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM) of creating a comprehensive database of the world’s choral music. More than thirty years later, MUSICA has amassed data on almost 200,000 musical scores.
MUSICA has thus become an invaluable and powerful search tool and a teaching resource for conductors, musicologists, schools, conservatoires and associations, libraries, music stockists and retailers – in fact for anyone, amateur or professional, with an interest in the world repertoire of choral music. It is also perfect as a tool for managing a library of choral music through cooperative links to other libraries.
Each score is described in a documentary record with 80 different categories of information (composer, arranger, title, publisher, genre and form, level of difficulty, type of choir, language, century, instrumentation, etc.). Each field in the record is carefully checked for consistency with other records. To serve MUSICA’s international objectives, the database is multilingual (in English, French, German and Spanish); around 20 data categories are translated automatically using multilingual thesauri perfected by us in-house.
MUSICA is managed by Musica International, a non-profit set up on 6 February 1998 to develop the database, expand its use all over the world and, with the help of a community of volunteers, progressively establish it as a virtual multimedia library. Membership of Musica International is open to all federations, higher education and other teaching institutions, foundations, music libraries and publishers with an interest in raising awareness of the choral repertoire. Members also play an active part in expanding our library holdings. At inception back in 1998, partners from 14 countries were already on board to help input data and publicise our resources.