The End of TROMPA

Last Month TROMPA had its 36th month meaning the project is “technically” over. Today, we had our final internal EU review.

Overall, working here was a wonderful experience, especially considering it allowed me to wiggle my way back into academic (as opposed to data science) employment. For posterity, most of what I did on this project involved acting as a bridge between those who develop music software and those who use it. This culminated in doing a fair bit of user testing for some software developed for music scholars.

It was a valuable experience and there was so much I was introduced to that I knew existed in the realm of the digital humanities, but never got to dive fully into. For example, after several years only really working with kern files, the infrastructure of TROMPA was planted firmly in the world of MEI and I enjoyed seeing what that technology is capable of.

Further, given the lofty goals of the project to be a sort of non-centralized centralizer of musical data, I also got to see the cluttered cables of what’s needed to take all that is hosted on the internet and connect it. So much of what we as music scholars (broadly defined) feels like it really can be taken for granted in terms of how it is digitized. That might just be my limited view of things based on how my schooling was, but there were several times throughout this job that I wished I would have learned more about the problems that exist in this space while in school. But I feel that way about pretty much all things, so I get why this may have not come up before.

Having seen all that was involved in TROMPA got my digital humanities wheels turning, thinking about how I might introduce all the neat stuff in this domain in a pedagogical context to help expose others to this type of work. It feels like yet another course could be designed around the deeply humanistic questions of categorization that have clear social implications once they are formalized and put out in the wild (that I know are hot topics of research right now among many of both my humanities and science colleagues).

If you want to get a taste of the sliver of the project that I worked on, you can read this proceedings paper I co-authored looking at the techncial side of what goes into these types of questions. This will be presented at the upcoming Digital Libraries for Musicology Conference. There’s also some work forthcoming stemming from a few other projects that I will write about once they come out.

I wasn’t on the project for the full three years, but it would have been nice to get a few beers with everyone to mark the end of the project. That said, I am very much looking foward to having more time to spend more time on research in the coming months.