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Claïs Lemmens, Gustaf Store Manager

by neoScores

Claïs is managing Gustaf's music catalog and content marketing

The instruments I currently play: piano & clarinet

The instruments I would like to play: cello and percussion

Favorite music to fall asleep to: Claude Debussy

What's on your musical bucket list: I would love to be one of the choir singers in a performance of Verdi's Dies Irae one day

Who would be your musical bestie: Rachmaninoff or Beyoncé (duh)

Favorite musical moment: The last aria of Madama Butterfly by Puccini always leaves me in tears, but I get the same feeling right after the last high note of Defying Gravity in the musical Wicked.

If you could delete any artist or composer from music history, who would it be: Hoping that my professors will never read this, but yes... Haydn can go. Sorry Joseph.

Exploring innovations in music notation

Applying to work at neoScores was in many ways a milestone in my life. Not only was it my first job, it was also my first glimpse into the tech industry and my official introduction to the use of MusicXML. I had no knowledge of this format until one of the more exciting mornings so far at the office, when one of my co-workers took some time out of his day to talk to me about MusicXML. Little did I know this was going to change everything I thought I knew about music notation.

I spent five years of my life studying musicology in the most traditional way; analyzing all of Beethoven's piano sonatas and writing fugues in the style of Bach. Yes, every now and then we encountered something that challenged us a little bit more, from graphic notation to a vocal ensemble eating napkins on stage. But we hadn't really ventured into innovative trends in the world of music.

The magic of MusicXML

So you can imagine my confusion and fascination when I was told that a line of code could be music too. My idea of the crucial components of music notation (note heads, staves, measures, ...) was quickly proven to be very limited. MusicXML takes these components and makes them into written code, similar to HTML. When imported into notation software like Finale or Sibelius, or apps like our very own Gustaf App, the code gets reverted back into the visual symbols we know from our paper sheet music.

To me this was pure magic. I was decently gullible and very easily entertained every time the neoScores developers pulled another rabbit (feature) out of their hats (local servers), but this was something else. This challenged what I had learned and believed to be the only truth for a long time. I remember uttering the words: "Wow, we really do live in the 21st century."

It's hard to put into words why this was so impressive to me at the time, but it says a lot about how much I've learned at neoScores ever since that moment. I am still impressed when we deploy new features, but at least now I know the basic processes behind them. I can't wait what other innovations are still on the way to blow my mind... and that's the beauty of the tech industry. We're only getting started :-)

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