Music recordings

New project begins to add music recordings to Wikipedia

After leaving Wikipedia two months ago due to outside musical commitments, UninvitedCompany returned last week to start up a project to expand Wikipedia's collection of recorded music. The project soon developed to include recordings of performances by Wikipedians along with an effort to import suitable recordings from outside sources.

A competent amateur pianist and organist, UninvitedCompany suggested that audio clips of pieces would be beneficial to illustrate well-known pieces, and offered to record his own playing of some classical keyboard works. He uploaded his first recording, the prelude from the Short Prelude and Fugue in G Minor (BWV 558), attributed to J.S. Bach, on Tuesday.

This was soon followed by Dysprosia, who provided a recording of an Intermezzo, Op. 76 No. 7, by Johannes Brahms. Not quite satisfied with the performance, she characterized it as a "rough first recording" and promised a better one later.

The musical bot

The proposal also prompted Raul654 to write a script, with help from Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason and other Wikipedians, to upload more sound files. After some minor technical issues, the Raulbot began converting a series of recordings into Ogg files for use on Wikimedia Commons. However, the large size of some of the files caused some problems, and Raul654 said he hoped the limit on file sizes for uploads could be raised to accommodate this effort.

Initially, Raulbot started out by uploading a number of files from FreeMusic Archived 2005-02-10 at the Wayback Machine, a site containing classical music recordings, many by the MIT Concert Choir. Raul654 said Friday that he would next work on recordings of oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court, taken from the Oyez project. Files from both sites are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license (cc-by-sa), and therefore eligible for inclusion in the Wikimedia Commons. This license was also used by UninvitedCompany for his recording, pointing out that the GNU Free Documentation License is difficult to apply to audio due to the lack of a transparent format under the terms of the GFDL.

Prior to this effort, only a very small handful of full recordings existed on Wikipedia, along with a few more excerpts claiming fair use (some recordings have also been used to illustrate word pronunciation). In addition to his work uploading audio clips, Raul654 started a catalogue of Wikipedia's full-length recordings of songs, which can be found at Wikipedia:Sound/list.

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