Musikus

John Bjarne Grover

In the three years 1987-1989 I was attached to the socalled MUSIKUS project at the university of Oslo for making a description of music notation which could be implemented in the automated music editor they tried to construct in a co-project between the institute of informatics and the institute of musicology. I had worked as part- and score-writer for the norwegian music information centre (then NMI, a state-financed institution), the composer's union, the norwegian opera and others and was suggested by NMI for the project which was led by Arvid Vollsnes from musicology and Ole-Johan Dahl from informatics. Dahl had, as I was told at NMI, initially considered a career as a pianist, they said he had given a debut concerto in the 'Aula' of the university, which traditionally has been the obligatory start of such a career, but he chose science instead and was something in the history of informatics - he is said to have been the pioneer along with his colleague Kristen Nygaard in the development of object-oriented programming, a work for which (by the Simula language) they got the Turing prize in 2001 - called the Nobel prize for mathematics. The MUSIKUS project was a chance for me to lift my miserable career as partwriter a little up - a very unimpressive career indeed. The work with outlining the rules for automation of music notation could be a little meriting - and in fact my hour-based work for them was published in three research reports in the institute series and I could thereby be considered a published author, something which otherwise has seemed difficult. Dahl even suggested that I could take a doctorate degree on the rules I had made - something which I did not do since I did not want to remain in the field of 'music notation' but planned to do it in linguistics instead. The work was (as far as I remember) paid by the norwegian research council, from whom I also got a student stipend for two years in 1990 - could be this MUSIKUS work contributed to that.

After my doctorate dissertation in linguistics ('A waist of time') was rejected in 1998, I realized that perhaps I should have followed his advice. In probably 1988 (if not already in 1987) I started developing problems with relaxed walking and got a feeling that electric impulses shot from my legs and heels down into the earth and I had to go back to the place where it happened and stand there waiting till it came up again, and throughout 1988-89 there was a growing feeling of dissolution inside - as if some horror were injected into my body and there was nothing left in the core of my body, my spine - the inner column holding the body upright. This crisis went in parallel with the Tiananmen student revolts in China: In fact I was tipped by NMI about MUSIKUS in probably late 1986 (if not very early 1987) and started working for them some time into 1987 - this ran in parallel with the student protests in China - up till the culmination of the crisis around the time of the massacres on the students in july 1989. It is possible that this also was the peak of my own crisis as well. I still dont really know what the crisis was - music notation was of course not my dream of a future but I considered the work to be only temporary and part-time for financing my studies. My explanation to the crisis has ranged from 'wrong career' (music notation) to my first discovery of the socalled 'blue metre', a metric phenomenon of a dimensionality of time, for which reason I now and then would have to stand waiting in the street untill I was aligned with the blue time metre again. I wrote the 'blue metre' in the years 2008-2010, after and on basis of my work with The Endmorgan Quartet 1997-2008.

The three research reports were called 'A computer-oriented description of music notation', published at Department of informatics, University of Oslo, december 1989 (appr. 300 pages):

No.133 - Part I: The symbol inventory (ISBN 82-7368-037-1)
No.134 - Part II: Two voices sharing a staff. Leger line rules. Dot positioning (ISBN 82-7368-039-8)
No.135 - Part III: Accidental positioning. (ISBN 82-7368-040-1)

Here are some pages from research report #135: The introductory page on the problem and a following discussion of the editorial problems leading to suggested rules creating all and only wellformed groups of signs:

Page 1
Page 24
Page 77
Page 78
Page 79
Page 80


(Kjell-Eigil Nordli helped me in 1989 with the layout of the pages)



John Bjarne Grover
On the web 26 september 2019