Thursday, August 13, 2015

Reading project status

I was seriously tempted this week to stop this reading project and just let the church remind me of readings week by week. And maybe rant occasionally.

Imagine, walks, tennis, golf, bridge, and partying...

But my Hebrew coach got me round the depression I was in after two or three weeks without doing much. Sometimes it's hard to measure progress. But there is some. I have now put 9 books through my rigid process, and the speed of processing is improving.  I am 26% through the verses of the Bible - and that's 1% up in a slow month (and this month will be slow too).

I hope to be able to complete the music even if I do not complete the reading in Hebrew and writing in English. I estimate 3 years more at 6 verses a day average to complete the reading. But the music will be available as soon as I have data in the database and it's possible I can create a web-service interface to do this or read the XML directly... still cogitating. If that is done, then in principle, music could be drafted directly from the text in a very short time.

This morning, for instance, I put in the text for Esther - less than 15 minutes total. And in the space between this paragraph and the prior one I produced the music XML in the shared directory here. So the music can be shared very quickly. And if I put it on a shareable drive in PDF form, it can also be in human readable form quickly. To create a PDF, bring up the XML with Musescore 2 and export to pdf and there you are. I will put my results in the One Drive site where I will gradually keep all the pdf files.

Here is Esther 1, created in a few minutes with interruptions.

Music XML files have been recently generated for Deuteronomy 28, Esther, Genesis 1 and 2, Haggai, Isaiah 53-55, 61-66, Job, Jonah, Lamentations, Leviticus 1, Obadiah, Psalms, Qohelet, Ruth, the Song, and Zephaniah. That's 250 of  929 chapters or 27%. In contrast to my indeterminate readings, the music is determined. It is an exact representation of the Leningrad codex.

This is still limited. The potential for the music to highlight features and form in the text is considerable. (If nothing else, it reveals the thought of whoever put in the accents. And no one knows when these were invented. It is at least prior to the 8th C CE.) Also I am using the default modes (except for the Psalms) and perhaps some other mode would be more suitable. To really give the public full control, I would have to make my software visible. This is a project that requires funding and it won't be done without it in the near future. However, if the idea and the data are public, then someone else can repeat my work reasonably easily. Skills required are:
  • programming in some Unicode enabled language, 
  • Music XML, musical knowledge, 
  • public software like MuseScore 
  • knowledge of Hebrew syllables 
  • and the rules for transcription of the accents into music.
Not too difficult. My own program, teamimtoxml.sql  is available to the public on the shared drive. To use it you need oracle programming skills.

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