A Guided tour of the KernScores website

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KernScores hosts musical data encoded in the Humdrum file format. The data is a text-based description for musical scores, and its primary purpose is for computational musical analysis using the Humdrum Toolkit. The name of the website is derived from **kern which is the primary music encoding method in the Humdrum Toolkit. A short description of the website is available in the 2005 ISMIR Conference proceedings. A basic tutorial on how to navigate this website is given below.


    You can systematically browse though the collection of scores in the KernScores website starting on this page which is also accessible from the main page on the hyperlink Browse by Collection.

    In the browsing section of the website, you can usually view three levels of the organization hierarchy at a time, unless the lower levels contain too much information. Each level on the current page is displayed with a differently colored arrow:

      A top level item
      A secondary level item
      A tertiary level item

    If you are viewing a page that contains musical scores, the titles of the scores will be listed in a table such as for the Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I:

    zip       Humdrum File  MIDI File  Prelude No. 1 in C major, BWV 846
         Humdrum File  MIDI File  Prelude No. 2 in C minor, BWV 847
         Humdrum File  MIDI File  Prelude No. 3 in C-sharp major, BWV 848

    Clicking on the score's title will take you to a detailed description of the score. To the left of each score title is a set of buttons. These buttons allow you to download the musical data for that score:

      = Download all Humdrum score files on the current page in the ZIP archive format. This ZIP file is generated on demand. This button is always present next to the first score on any page. Sometimes there is an additional Z button before the file listings which allows a recursive zip file of data from additional subsections, such as on this page.
      = If this icon is present to the left of the title information, it indicates that a printable scores, usually scanned from public-domain music, is available in the PDF format (typically in the US Letter format). Typically the scanned score was referred to or used to generate the Humdrum file with which it is listed. Here is a list of musical data with associated printable scores.
      = If a Humdrum file does not have an associated printable score, then an automatically generated graphical score can be created on-demand. This automatic score is indicated by the "A" icon in place of an "S" icon. The automatic score is generated by converting the Humdrum file first into the ABC+ format, and then converting to PostScript/PDF using abcm2ps. Here is an example for the first movement of Beethoven's first piano sonata in F minor: first converted to ABC+ and resulting
      = View the Humdrum file with **kern musical data.
      = Access a Standard MIDI File created from the **kern data with the Humdrum tool called hum2mid. This file is generated on demand directly from the **kern score.

    Clicking on the "KernScores" title at the top of any page in the browsing section of the website will take you back to the front page.


    Enter searchable text in the search box on the main page. For example the following search will find matches for the Chorales of J.S. Bach. Click in the following search box, and press enter to view the search results. Note that it is better to list searches in the singular form.

    Text which you want to search for in a specific ordering can be surrounded in quotes. Click in the search box below and press enter to search for all compositions in C minor.


Data Translation

    The Humdrum **kern data format can be converted automatically into several other types of data. These conversions are available from the pages describing individual Humdrum files under the section labeled Data Format Translations at the bottom of each page. Click here for such an example information page. The current data formats available at KernScores are listed below. Samples of the data for each type can be viewed by clicking on an icon in the sample column.

      Data FormatSampleDescription
    • Humdrum File
    • The primary musical data format for this website. All other data formats listed below are generated from this data.
    • Standard MIDI File
    • A common data format for playback with synthesizers.
    • Director Musices Data
    • X Data for use with the Director Musices program that generates a modeled musical performance of scores.
    • Melisma Notes File
    • X Data for use with Melisma Music Analyzer programs to analyze meter, chord and key of the input music.
    • MusicXML
    • X Musical data encoded in XML, which provides data conversions to/from CCARH's MuseData format and Coda's Finale music typesetting program.
    • STK SKINI Format
    • X Musical data for playing physical model instruments in the Synthesis Toolkit library.
    • Guido Music Notation
    • X Musical data for printing musical scores. The conversion into GMN is not generalized to multiple voices on the same staff.
    • ABC Plus
    • X Musical data for printing musical scores. Up to two voice layers can be displayed on a single staff.
    • PDF File
    • Adobe Portable Document Format which contains a printable form of the score. Often, but not always, bitmap images of the originally scanned score used for data entry.
    • Automatic PDF File
    • Portable Document Format created on-demand from the original Humdrum file. The humdrum file is first converted to ABC+ format using hum2abc, and then converted into PostScript graphical notation using abcm2ps.

    Music Analyses

      At the bottom of the individual Humdrum file pages, there is a section called "Analyses" which contains links to several types of analysis done in real-time on the music files. These analyses created using Humdrum Toolkit programs or Humdrum Extras programs.

      For example, clicking on the Piano Roll options for the example Brahms waltz given above, you can view the piano-roll notation of the score, colored differently for each hand:

      Also, you can view the piano roll score according to the metric level of the note-attacks:

      Clicking on the keyscape analysis option will generate an plot of the harmonic structure in the composition. In this case, the most prominent color in the picture represents the tonic which is B major. The second strongest color is red in the second half of the music which represents E major (the subdominant key).