Mark Saccomano concentrates on phenomenological approaches to meaning in music and is studying the effects of timbre and texture on listeners’ perception of space. Specific areas of interest include music and affect, hermeneutics, and the aesthetics of recorded music. Current research focuses on late twentieth-century music and contemporary electronic works. Mark is also active in the field of digital humanities, building workflows that use free and open source software and conducting workshops on data visualization techniques and music encoding practices.
Mark’s investigations in aesthetics and interpretation are informed by training in semiotics and semantics: in addition to MPhil and MA degrees in music from Columbia University, Mark holds a BA in linguistics with high honors from UC Berkeley and an MA in applied linguistics from UCLA.
The Serge Prokofiev Archive contains sketchbooks in which Prokofiev wrote out brief, musical ideas. The SPA-data repository makes available a small corpus of these sketches in machine readable form for analysis, in both MEI and MusicXML formats.
I used Jekyll with Verovio to generate individual pages for each sketch that display an image of the source material along with an SVG image of the encoded score, and that also allow the user to play a MIDI stream generated from the stored file.
Using publicly available metadata from Columbia’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library’s website, I created a web-based display with ArcGIS of the correspondence holdings in the Prokofiev archive. This involved preparing and cleaning the data set for use in a visualization program, researching available GIS applications and geolocation services, and acquiring the data wrangling skills necessary to produce an engaging and informative presentation online. The map provides a graphic representation of Prokofiev’s various residences while living in the West, as well as the locations of his correspondents. In addition, by highlighting outliers, the map allows users to discover aspects of Prokofiev’s personal and professional life not accessible through a simple enumerative listing of the archive’s contents.