Published on September 17th, 2013 | by Jonny Silver

Free Chopin

Aaron Dunn wants to give Frédéric Chopin a very belated 200th birthday gift (it was celebrated in 2010): to make all the music the classic composer created accessible to everybody, for free (legally, that is). That’s the goal of Set Chopin Free, a crowd sourcing project which opened this month. With $75 thousand he plans to raise, Dun wants to hire a group of good pianists and play every note in Chopin’s 245-piece corpus. A second, also noble goal is to preserve them forever.

Why Chopin? Because his pieces are easy on the ear and accessible to a casual listener, and also because Chopin’s corpus is not intimidatingly large. “If we had chosen Mozart, our funding goal would have to have another zero at the end”, Dunn wrote on the project’s Kickstarter page.

The music will be recorded in 24 bit, 192 Herz audio quality, and will be available in mp3, flac and m4a formats, as well as in HD video.

This isn’t Dunn’s first crowd sourcing project. In 2010 he asked the netizens for $11 thousand to fund Musopen, a website dedicated to copyright-free classical music. He raised more than $68 thousand. Musopen hosts copyright-free recordings of pieces by Beethoven, Mozart, Mahler, Stravinsky, Bartók, Sousa, Copland, by dozens of orchestras and performers, Dunn included. There are also music sheets and a planned book about classical music for novice listeners, that the funders will receive free of charge.

Some of the recordings in Musopen were made the same way Set Chopin Free plans to employ – recording musicians hired with the funds, and putting them out for free public usage. There are short pieces for single performers; full orchestra symphonies (some of the orchestral pieces were recorded by NAMBLA, where Dunn established Musopen with the support of his teaschers). Among Musopen’s pieces are 13 by Chopin, already recorded.

Currently, a little less than a month to the project’s deadline, Set Chopin Free is very close to its target – over $71,000 out of $75,000.

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About the Author

Jonny Silver is the junior sub-executive under-manager of Room 404 and also in charge of floor and other surfaces hygiene and cleanliness.

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