‘Four Score and More’ is a social initiative founded in 2018 to provide high-quality resources for the teaching and learning of music, particularly music theory. We have three primary goals, to:
Assist teachers and students by providing extensive exercise materials, allowing them to focus not on creating the resources, but how best to use and adapt them for their own purposes.
Provide interactive teaching guides that provide feedback of a kind, quality, and consistency that may complement or stand in for a human teacher.
Democratise access by providing everything for free online, and with user-friendly instructions so that anyone interested can develop their skills for free.
By way of resources, we currently offer:
- Cut Outs: musical scores with parts ‘cut out’ for the student to complete. This is an ancient teaching method given new life in the digital domain.
… and we are now working on …
Scored-up Scores: interactive introductions to works by encoding and visualising aspects of its structure for the user to explore.
Simple Harmonic Motion: an interactive, online teacher of basic conducting technique in collaboration with the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
We also run participation projects whereby those learning music can also contribute to these kinds of projects while they learn.
We began with:
- Scores of Scores: a large-scale contribution to the provision of publicly-available encoded scores (necessary for Cut Outs, Scored-up Scores and all projects like them).
… and we are now focussed on …
- Working in Harmony: an effort to crowd-source a comparable corpus of harmonic analyses.
What’s in a name?
‘Four score’ is an old-fashioned method of counting, where a ‘score’ is a group or set of twenty. So, when Lincoln opened the Gettysburg Address by talking about the founding of America ‘four score and seven years ago’, he meant 87 years before 1863, i.e. 1776. Therefore, ‘four score and more’ amounts to ‘more than 80’ which, in musical terms is resonant as the number of keys on a modern, full-size piano (there’s some variety, but they’re mostly all in that range of 80+).
Clearly, it also puns on ‘for scores and more’, which summarises the initiative’s core project, focused on scores but also including other forms of engagement with music and musical pedagogy. Nerdier still, even the logo puns on the idea of 4+, using the figured bass for an augmented 4th, enlarging it, and placing it within the stave to make it look like a treble clef.
Anyway, hopefully it’s a memorable title, and a bit of fun.