The Problem with Music

Two years ago I threw some money at an idea. The idea was big: raise $11,000 to hire an orchestra to record some music. The music was in the public domain – Mozart, Beethoven, etc. – but recordings of it were not. So, if you were able to read the public domain sheet music and produce the sounds from instruments with your own hands then you were free to hear the public domain music. If you weren’t, well, you weren’t able to hear those sounds unencumbered by copyright. You couldn’t use those sounds for your art, your life, or your business without the possibility of legal action being taken against you.

The Relationship

If you’ve read this blog in the past you’re aware of my thoughts on copyright and how those thoughts emerged from my use of GNU/Linux and other free–as in freedom–software. You see, there’s this thing called DRM that makes it hard for people to do things with their files (like listen to a song on another player, or read an e-book on another device). These things should be easy, it is the 21st century after all. But it isn’t.

The Author’s Guild has fought to prevent e-readers from digitally speaking aloud the text (for blind readers) in the name of copyright, claiming that the out-loud reading is a derivative work. DRM has a hand in all of this.

The 21st century has yet to live up to its promise (and its reality) in part due to copyright laws. The idea that there was a way to support the public domain, spread art, and inspire the public was too good to pass up. I donated what little I had and waited.

Giving the Public Domain to the Public

It turns out others, at least 1200+, supported this idea too. It obliterated its $11,000 funding goal and raised nearly $70,000. Now, two years later, that music has finally been released.

I’ve never looked forward to hearing music so much in my life. Cheers to the composers! Cheers to the Czech National Symphony Orchestra! Cheers to Musopen! And cheers to you! Do whatever you want with it because, well, you can. (And that obligates you a little bit, doesn’t it?)

The Music

  • Beethoven - Coriolan Overture
  • Beethoven - Egmont Overture Op. 84
  • Beethoven - Symphony No 3 Eroica
  • Borodin - In The Steppes Of Central Asia
  • Brahms - Symphony No 1 in C Major
  • Brahms - Symphony No 2 in D major
  • Brahms - Symphony No 3
  • Brahms - Symphony No 4 in E minor
  • Brahms - Tragic Overture
  • Bach - Goldberg Variations
  • Grieg - Peer Gynt
  • Mendelssohn - Hebrides
  • Mendelssohn - Italian Symphony
  • Mendelssohn - Scottish Symphony
  • Mozart - Magic Flute Overture
  • Mozart - Marriage Of Figaro
  • Mozart - Symphony No 40 in G Minor
  • Rimsky Korsakov - Russian Overture
  • Schubert - The Piano Sonatas
  • Smetana - Vltava
  • Tchaikovsky - Symphony Pathetique

String Quartets:

  • Beethoven String Quartet in B flat Major Op 18
  • Borodin String Quartet No 1
  • Borodin String Quartet No 2
  • Dvorak - American in F major
  • Dvorak Quartet in F Major Op 51
  • Haydn Quartet in D Major Op.64
  • Mendelssohn Quartet in F Minor Op 80
  • Mozart Quartet D Minor K421
  • Mozart Quartet in C Major K 465
  • Suk - Meditation

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