Funded! This project was successfully funded on June 3, 2011.

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A new public domain score and studio recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations - set the Goldbergs free!

We are creating a new score and studio recording of J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations, and we're placing them in the public domain* for everyone to own and use without limitations on licensing.

Bach wrote his seminal work over 270 years ago, yet public domain scores and recordings are hard or impossible to find. Until now!

This project will start by creating a new engraving of the Goldberg Variations using the MuseScore notation software. The edition will be subject to scholarly review, and when it is finished, it will be available to everyone to own and use without limitations.

Then we're working with pianist Kimiko Ishizaka to create a professional studio recording of the Goldbergs. This recording will also be made available to everyone to own and use without limitations.

Read what the critics have to say about Kimiko Ishizaka's Bach playing.

* Using the Creative Commons Zero tool.

What will be produced?

First we'll be creating a scholarly reviewed engraving and edition of the Goldberg Variations using MuseScore notation software. This edition will also be used to create the on-paper versions that we'll be sending you as backer rewards.

See how great this score is going to look.

Then we'll be taking Kimiko Ishizaka into the recording studio and producing a full professional piano recording of the work. This will be used to create the CDs which you get as backer rewards.

The digital editions of both the score and the recording will be made available to everyone for downloading, and will be free of any copyright or usage limitations. They'll go straight into the public domain and you can use them for any purpose that you want.

Listen to more piano music played by Kimiko Ishizaka.

When will we be finished?

Fundraising on Kickstarter will last for 90 days, until June 2. After that, Werner Schweer, the creator of the MuseScore software, will begin creating the score. It is expected to take approximately 3 months, or until September.

From September through December two things will happen; the score will undergo public scholarly review, and Kimiko Ishizaka will go to the studio to make the recording. Finally, in the first quarter of 2012, the finished products will be made available, and all of the pledge rewards will be shipped.

See a video score of Kimiko Ishizaka playing the first variation.

Why is this important?

This project is important for several reasons. First, it's a shame that a work which has been in the public domain for hundreds of years is still hard to acquire and enjoy in both its notational and its recorded form. By making a public domain score and recording we're solving that problem.

See how the public domain comes under constant attack.

Second, it's important for classical musicians to find new ways to finance recording projects. By turning to Kickstarter and contributing to the public domain, Kimiko Ishizaka is trying something new. Musicians are usually not willing to withdraw their copyrights and their control over usage, but we feel that they thus miss opportunities to contribute to the greater good and benefit from wider distribution of their works. If this project succeeds, we hope that the recording will be available to everyone forever more, and that it will be a truly widely known and enjoyed artistic work.

Finally, the MuseScore notation software and the pioneering technologies developed by Musescore.com are revolutionizing the way that people interact with printed music on the web. By creating a top-quality score of the Goldbergs we'll be able to do fun things like load it on tablets and iPads, embed it into websites, and synchronize it with YouTube and other videos.

See how this project is advancing the state of the art for Music Notation software.

How will the works be distributed?

The pledge awards include a professionally mastered CD (with cover art, booklet, and the works), and a published and bound edition of the score. We're also producing a custom printed and hand bound edition of the score for the pledge levels $150 and above (we're planning on enlisting the Wyvern Bindery for this!).

The digital editions of the score and recording (the files) will be distributed all over the internet. We intend to make them available on all sites, such as our partner site IMSLP / Petrucci Project, that aim to make music available to people. We'll also be getting distribution help from our partners at the Newham Music Trust and the Musicians Benevolent Fund. The goal is as much distribution of the digital goods as possible, and we'll be busy finding new places to share the music for some time to come.

Which Variations can still be claimed for dedications?

The master list of claimed variations is found here. At the moment, these are the Variations that haven't yet been claimed:

  • Variatio 2. a 1. Clav.
  • Variatio 8. a 2 Clav.
  • Variatio 11. a 2 Clav.
  • Variatio 17. a 2 Clav.
  • Variatio 19. à 1 Clav.
  • Variatio 22. a 1 Clav. alla breve
  • Variatio 23. a 2 Clav.
  • Variatio 26. a 2 Clav.
  • Variatio 27. Canone alla Nona. a 2 Clav.

FAQ

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  • Pledge $25 or more
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    120 backers

    CD: The studio recording of Kimiko Ishizaka playing the Goldberg Variations on CD.

  • Pledge $25 or more
    You selected

    51 backers

    Score: The printed and bound score of the Goldberg Variations, our new edition, engraved by MuseScore.

  • Pledge $50 or more
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    19 backers

    CD - Special Edition: The studio recording of Kimiko Ishizaka playing the Goldberg Variations on CD, signed by the artist. A signed print from a photo of Kimiko taken during the recording session.

  • Pledge $50 or more
    You selected

    85 backers

    CD and Score: The studio recording of Kimiko Ishizaka playing the Goldberg Variations on CD. The printed and bound score of the Goldberg Variations, our new edition, engraved by MuseScore.

  • Pledge $100 or more
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    6 backers

    Two Special Edition CDs and a Score: Two copies of the studio recording of Kimiko Ishizaka playing the Goldberg Variations on CD, signed by the artist. A signed print from a photo of Kimiko taken during the recording session. The printed and bound score of the Goldberg Variations, our new edition, engraved by MuseScore.

  • Pledge $150 or more
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    16 backers

    Score Special Edition: The premium hand-printed and specially bound score of the Goldberg Variations, our new edition, engraved by MuseScore. Two copies of the studio recording of Kimiko Ishizaka playing the Goldberg Variations on CD, signed by the artist. A signed print from a photo of Kimiko taken during the recording session.

  • Pledge $300 or more
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    23 backers Limited (7 left of 30)

    Dedicate a Variation: One of the 30 Variations is dedicated to you or someone you choose. This dedication appears in all published formats of the work. You also receive the premium hand-printed and specially bound Special Edition score of the Goldberg Variations, our new edition, engraved by MuseScore. Two copies of the studio recording of Kimiko Ishizaka playing the Goldberg Variations on CD, signed by the artist. A signed print from a photo of Kimiko taken during the recording session.

  • Pledge $500 or more
    You selected

    2 backers All gone!

    Dedicate an Aria: One of the two Arias that open and close the piece is dedicated to you or someone you choose. This dedication appears in all published formats of the work. You also receive the premium hand-printed and specially bound Special Edition score of the Goldberg Variations, our new edition, engraved by MuseScore. Two copies of the studio recording of Kimiko Ishizaka playing the Goldberg Variations on CD, signed by the artist. A signed print from a photo of Kimiko taken during the recording session.

  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    0 backers

    Live Performance: Kimiko Ishizaka will play the Goldberg Variations for you, live, at a venue of your choice. An Aria (sold out!) or one of the 30 Variations will be dedicated to you or someone you choose. This dedication appears in all published formats of the work. You also receive the hand-printed and specially bound Special Edition score of the Goldberg Variations, our new edition, engraved by MuseScore. Three copies of the studio recording of Kimiko Ishizaka playing the Goldberg Variations on CD, signed by the artist. A signed print from a photo of Kimiko taken during the recording session. Travel costs to the performance will be calculated extra.

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Funding period

- (90 days)