Authors, Acknowledgments, Contributing, and Licensing

Music21 is an open-source toolkit for Computer-aided musicology. It is licensed under the BSD license (see below).

About the Authors

Michael Cuthbert, the creator of music21, is Associate Professor of Music at M.I.T. He received his A.B. summa cum laude, A.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University. Cuthbert spent 2004-05 at the American Academy as a Rome Prize winner in Medieval Studies, 2009-10 as Fellow at Harvard’s Villa I Tatti Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, and 2012-13 at the Radcliffe Institute.

Prior to joining the M.I.T. faculty, Cuthbert was on the faculties of Smith and Mount Holyoke Colleges. He has worked extensively on computer-aided musical analysis, fourteenth-century music, and the music of the past forty years. He has published on computer-aided treatment of fragments and palimpsests of the late Middle Ages and on set analysis of Sub-Saharan African Rhythm and the music of John Zorn. In addition to work on music21, Cuthbert is currently writing a book on sacred music in Italy during the age of the Black Death and Great Papal Schism.

Christopher Ariza is Emeritus Lead Programmer of music21 and was Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at M.I.T. from 2010 to 2013. Prior to joining the music21 project, Ariza was Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Towson University in Baltimore. He has published and presented numerous articles and papers on algorithmic composition and generative music systems. Ariza received his A.B. degree from Harvard University and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from New York University.

Benjamin Hogue is Former Lead Programmer of music21 for 2013.

Josiah Wolf Oberholtzer is Former Lead Programmer of music21 for 2014-15.

Additional contributions by many MIT students and visitors and the Open Source software community.



music21 was made possible by generous research funding from the Seaver Institute and the National Endowment for the Humanities/Digging into Data research fund.

In addition, we acknowledge consistent support from M.I.T., the School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences, and the Music and Theater Arts section.

Colleagues and Institutions

Music21 is unthinkable without our colleagues and friends working on other music and technology projects, in particular:


Additionally, the following individuals have contributed materials or knowledge to this project. Their contributions and generosity are greatly appreciated.

  • Thomas Bonte, Nicholas Froment, and Werner Schweer of MuseScore for their

    support and for their contributions to the open source music notation projects, including the Bach Goldberg Variations and the Handel Arias included.

  • Donald Byrd, researcher on University of Indiana who created

    a schema for computer-aided musicology (along with the source of all sorts of examples of how music notation is difficult).

  • Jack Campin has kindly given permission to distribute his ABC editions of the Aird Collection, the Northumbrian Minstrelsy, and the Colonial and Civil War American Fife Music Collection.

  • John Chambers has provided ABC editions to distribute with music21, including the Aird Collection, the O’Neill’s Music of Ireland Collection, and Ryan’s Mammoth Collection of fiddle tunes.

  • Laura E. Conrad has kindly given permission to distribute her ABC editions of renaissance polyphony from Serpent Publications.

  • Ewa Dahlig-Turek has kindly given permission to distribute the

    Essen folksong database with music21.

  • Margaret Greentree kindly gave permission for distribution of her edited

    collection of the Bach chorales in MusicXML format as part of the music21 corpus. Her website contains all these chorales in additional formats. Any discoveries we make regarding these chorales are done in her memory.

  • Bret Aarden for kindly contributing his conversions of Palestrina Mass corpus to music21.

  • Walter B. Hewlett and Craig Sapp of Stanford’s CCARH for support.

  • Justin London compiled and maintained the list of Second-Viennese

    row forms now available in

  • McGill University ELVIS project for including the MEI parser. Special thanks to Julie

    Cumming, Andrew Hankinson, and especially Christopher Antila for contributing.

  • Manuel Op de Coul has kindly gave permission to use the Scala

    scale archive of nearly 4000 scales in music21.

  • Seymour Shlien has kindly given permission to distribute his ABC

    encodings of the Essen folksong database with music21.

  • Bryen Travis has kindly gave permission to use his collection of

    Bach MIDI data in music21. It is no longer included in the Corpus, but we continue to thank him for his generosity.

  • Project Gutenberg houses public domain music, including the quartets of Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart, in musicxml format which we have been able to include in music21.

How to Contribute

We are always interested in working with interested musicologists, programmers, psychologists, composers, game-designers, performers, amateur music enthusiasts, etc. In particular, we’re interested in hearing about how music21 helped you advance your work … or in problems with music21 itself or contributions you’ve made.

You can contact the larger music21 community through the music21 list.

In particular, if you are interested in contributing documentation, tests, or new features to music21, please contact the lead author on GitHub or through the list.