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The MuseData collection or database of virtual musical scores aims to represent the logical content of the standard classical repertory from 1690 to 1890 in a software-neutral fashion. The composer-specific data collections are feature-rich and support applications in music printing, music analysis, and production of electronic sound files without significant further encoding or tagging.
The MuseData encoding scheme and supporting non-commercial software were designed and developed by Walter B. Hewlett, beginning in 1983. The scores use an open-source ASCII code described in Hewlett's chapter on MuseData in Beyond MIDI: The Handbook of Musical Codes.
Data holdings have been translated into several other formats for specific applications. These include the Humdrum kern format for data analysis, MIDI for playback, SCORE for high-quality score printing, and PDF for downloadable performing materials.
As of 2009, MuseData offers nearly 900 complete works for download, with large concentrations on the composers J. S. Bach, Beethoven, Corelli, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Telemann, and Vivaldi.
MuseData programs developed at the Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities (CCARH) print scores and parts which have been used by professional performing groups and music publishers. They compile Standard MIDI Files which may be used with diverse sequencer programs. They facilitate high-speed searches of the data for specific rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic patterns.