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Historical Aspects of Computer Music (Past)

The International Digital Electroacoustic Music Archive (May 1996)

Prof. Max V. Mathews and Marcia L. Bauman

The Center for Arts and Media Technology, Karlsruhe (ZKM) and Stanford University's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) are pleased to announce the completion of the International Digital Electroacoustic Music Archive (IDEAMA) target collection. Co-founded by CCRMA and ZKM in December, 1990, the IDEAMA was created to collect, preserve and disseminate historically significant electroacoustic music.

An international advisory board of renowned composers was formed to help establish the international scope and reputation of the archive. To identify, locate and choose materials for the target collection, CCRMA and ZKM each formed a selection committee comprised of eminent composers, musicologists and other individuals who are well-versed and active in the field.

CCRMA and ZKM have been jointly responsible for collecting archive materials on a regional basis: ZKM has focused on European electroacoustic music, while CCRMA is responsible for music from the Americas, Asia and Australia. The original analog tapes for targeted works, composed between 1929 and 1970, have existed in a number of archives, radio stations, studios and private collections. Over 700 works have been collected and processed to form the IDEAMA target collection.

Sources for the European works include numerous major centers such as INA/GRM Paris; WDR Kšln; EMS Stockholm, Experimental Studio Warszaw and the former Studio di Fonologia , Milano. In addition, works from smaller studios and private collections, and from the estate of Hermann Heiss have been included.

Sources for works in the USA include the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, the defunct San Francisco Tape Music Center (works now housed at Mills College, the University of California at San Diego, and by individual composers), the University of Illinois Experimental Music Center, Bell Telephone Laboratories (personal collection of Max Mathews), various individual composers, and commercial CDs. The Laboratoris de Investigacion y Produccion Musical (LIPM), the first major center for Latin American electroacoustic music, digitized approximately 30 works for the target collection. Japanese works have been provided by the National Center for Science Information Systems and by Dr. Emmanuelle Loubet. Most of the Japanese works were originally produced at the Tokyo studio of NHK radio.

This historic collection will be distributed to IDEAMA institutions on approximately 100 stereo audio CDs, with information about the music on the commercial FilemakerPro database. There are three types of IDEAMA institutions: founding institutions (ZKM and CCRMA), partner and affiliate institutions. The founding institutions have collaborated to establish policies and procedures for creating the archive and its ongoing function. The partner institutions have participated in the formation of the archive, in most cases by contributing materials. They will house the archive, as will new affiliate institutions.

The IDEAMA will be distributed to affiliate institutions after April, 1996. In order to become an IDEAMA affiliate institution, and for all other information, please contact Thomas Gerwin at:

ZKM/Zentrum fuer Kunst und Medientechnologie Mediathek, Kaiserstrasse 127 D-76133 Karlsruhe, Germany Phone: +49-721/9340-221 Fax: +49-721/9340-29 e-mail:


At Stanford University, the IDEAMA has been supported by CCRMA, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. ZKM receives its support from the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and the city of Karlsruhe.

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Next: Recordings Up: Past Research Activities Previous: Machine Recognition in Music (Past)
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