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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


The Aria Database

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 4 stars
Effectiveness: 3 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Sep 17, 2002 by Music
Overview: The Aria Database is a collection of information about opera and operatic arias.
Besides providing basic information about each aria, the Database includes
translations for many arias and aria texts for those that are not affected by
copyright restrictions. The Database also provides access to a collection of
operatic MIDI files to give students and teachers an idea of what each aria
sounds like. Currently, the Database holds information on the complete operatic
aria collections of Mozart, Verdi, Berlioz, Wagner, and Puccini as well as the
partial collections of over 50 other composers. The site has a standard yet
attractive design and allows students and teachers to access the information
through the use of a search engine, by directly accessing the entire database or
by accessing the database by category (e.g., aria texts, translations, MIDI
files, vocal range, vocal type, etc...) At the time of this review the site
contained 1278 Arias, 170 Operas, 60 Composers, 381 Translations, 1027 Aria
Texts and 223 MIDI files. The site also provides links for students and teachers
to purchase music and books.
Learning Goals: The major learning goal of this site is to familiarize students with opera aria
texts. The site also provides opportunities for students to further their
understanding of the music and words of the listed arias through the English
translations and General MIDI sequences as well as basic information on the
operas the arias come from.
Target Student Population: This site would be appropriate for college level voice students, music history
and music humanities students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic computer and internet skills are the only prerequisite knowledge needed to
access and use this site.
Type of Material: Reference material.
Recommended Uses: This site works well as a reference for students preparing arias for
performance. Students and teachers can compare their own translation or
understanding of the text with the translation in the data base in developing
their interpretation of a given aria. The General MIDI file could be used to
familiarize the students with the music or even used with a sequencing program
to assist in rehearsal. The site could also be used to provide texts for diction
classes and for students and teachers to develop customized repertoire lists
for study defined by a number of parameters including voice type and range.
Additional links to numerous opera companies could assist with
audition scheduling as well as performance attendance. Linka are also provided
enabling users to order scores and
recordings.
Technical Requirements: This database requires a sequencing program or media player program to operate
the General MIDI files.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: The texts are clearly presented and accurate. The translations are largely
"word-for-word" and are generally accurate. The General MIDI files are fully
quantized so they sound mechanical when played but are easily modified in any
standard sequencing program to create a more musical rendering.
Concerns: No comment.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: The potential effectiveness of this site as a teaching tool is dependent on the
context a teacher provides in its use as a tool in making a comparative analysis
of the text and translation of an aria. In the context of a broader
understanding of plot, character and text analysis provided by a teacher, this
database could bring an added dimension of comparison to the interpretive
process.
Concerns: The site does not include background information on arias or roles. It also does
not include any synopsis of the operas in the collection. This information
would provide a context for the text and translations.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: This site is easy to use for both students and teachers.
Concerns: None.

Other Issues and Comments: None.
Comments from Author: None.