Archive project

Conservation and digitization of the IPEM-archive
Duration: Januari 2000 - December 2001

Project Description: 

In janari 2000 a project funded by the FWO (Fund for Scientific Research of the Flemish Government), more specifically by the "Max Wildiers"-fund, has been started at the IPEM (Dept. of Musicology, Ghent University). The main purpose of the project is the conservation and digitalisation of the archive of the institute.

This archive mainly consists of two large entities: first the ca. 1000 magnetic tapes that make up the IPEM-tape archive in strict sense, and second the tape archive collected by the Belgian composer Louis De Meester containing almost the same number of tapes. Besides these, some smaller collections are included, such as tapes from the personal archives of important pioneers of electronic music in Flanders: Lucien Goethals and Norbert Rosseau.
The main body of the archive has been established in the periode 1963-1987. In this period the IPEM functioned as a collaboration between the University and the Flemish Radio (the former BRT, now VRT): Ghent University was interested in scientific research into the possibilities of electronics in the analysis and synthesis of sound. The BRT, from her side, was interested by the radiophonic applications of this research and in the production of functional music. In this way, artistic creativity and scientific research could be combined in one and the same institute.
All the musical productions realized in the studio for electronacoustic music of the IPEM are stored in the archive, together with concert recordings (many of them from the successful series of 'IPEM-concerts' with contemporary music), and recordings of other contemporary music, collected for musicological study. Apart from this, the archives contain soundtracks and jingles realized at the IPEM for radio and television, together with 'building material' (concrete sounds) for sonorization. Finally, the scientific activities of the IPEM also left their trace in the archive: recording of lectures, interviews and analytical concert introductions.

However, also this unique audioarchive has been unable to resist time and technological progress: the magnetism of the tapes dissappears gradually, together with the tape recorders. Thus the need to conserve the archive and to transfer it to an easily accessible, digital format became urgent.
Practically, the funds of the project are used to transfer the sound from the analogue magnetic tapes to CD. In addition a database system is developed that enables interested users to view the content of the archive over the internet. In this way it will also be possible for everyone to order CDs containing the works of his choice from the collection. We hope that through this system these unique recordings can find their way to a broader public.

The project is supervised by prof. dr. Marc Leman, Jelle Dierickx takes care of the conservation of the sound material, the centralization of the external information on pieces and composers, and the data entry.Gaëtan Martens develops the database technology and works on applications of the MPEG-7 encoding in order to create possibilities for intelligent search options based on automatic musical content extraction.

The project finishes in december 2001.


Promotors: prof. dr. Marc Leman
Jelle Dierickx
Researchers: Gaëtan Martens
Financial Support: 

project funded by the 'FWO - Max Wildiersfonds' (Flanders, Belgium)


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