Dear Neumz Community,
It is with great pleasure that we announce the launch of Neumz Version 4! The number one most requested feature has been to include the Vetus Ordo and Mass of St Pius V. Today is the day!
We announced at the beginning of the year “something extraordinary”: our involvement in the Repertorium Project, which we coauthored and which received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Research and Innovation program. This funding has permitted us to install microphones and begin recording the Tridentine Rite at the Abbaye Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux, France. Members of the Neumz team are also hard at work digitising the entire palaeography archive of Solesmes. But in today’s email, I will focus on the recordings.
As there is a month-long process for assembling new recordings into the database, the Barroux chants are available only for previous months and not for the current day or future weeks. Access to them, therefore, temporarily requires play-on-demand access and is thus currently limited to Patrons. As soon as the liturgical cycle is completed and all the chants have been added to Neumz, normal radio-mode access to these recordings will be available to free users as well. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
To integrate these recordings more quickly into Neumz, we have decided to focus first on the Mass, focusing on Sundays and Feasts, then the ferial Masses, and finally move on to the Divine Office. Eventually, we will even include the daily readings and Gospels, which at Barroux are chanted in Latin.
Neumz version 4.0 will be available for download for iOS and Android from 15 November 2023. If you wish to listen to the Barroux recordings, tap on the Settings tab and change your Preferred Ordo to Vetus. Again, please note that the current Mass and Offices are yet to be recorded and ingested. You must look back to the past months, limited to Sundays and Feasts for now. We appreciate your patience while we add the remaining liturgy to the app. We expect to be finished by the end of 2024.
Once again, our apologies that, temporarily, Vetus Ordo is limited to Patrons. As the chants clearly cannot belong to the current hour of the present day, there is no way to offer them within the context of our free radio mode “real-time” experience. However, free users who wish can stream the chants from the Barroux in real-time for free by visiting Barroux Chant. The Neumz recordings do benefit from a higher quality sound capture, but Barroux Chant offers a live stream and archive of their complete Masses and most offices in the meantime. Remember also that free users are allowed two “freebie” chants per day outside of the current Office, meaning that when we send a newsletter featuring a Vetus chant, free users can listen to them if the two-chant freebie budget hasn’t already been exhausted.
Note also that now, with two rites, opening a link in the other rite will temporarily overwrite your preferred settings. In the web app, a banner will appear with a link to quickly take you back to your preferred rite, as specified in your user Settings page.
A preview: Neumz version 4.1 is coming for Christmas!
This update will address:
Score Srolling and Synch issues!
We have been working hard on a perfect and sustainable fix to the scrolling issue. We know the scores do not always align well with the audio, and we appreciate your patience while we work out a permanent solution. The solution that we have developed has entailed a massive amount of work, but we are confident that it will pay off in the future.
Briefly, our solution will render the scores on the screen as scaled vector graphics, allowing us to animate the Latin text in the score at a syllable level as the chant is sung. The audio-to-score synchronisation will be accomplished through a bespoke algorithm that matches the score and text with syllable-level accuracy based on the chant’s melodic contour. Melody will get us 90% of the way.
We are also being helped to create an AI that can track the audio based on speech. This machine-learning solution will take over during passages of repeated notes and no melodic information (for example, in long sections of recto tono). The algorithmic solution is ready to go, and the AI solution is in the pipeline, expected sometime next year.
Our goal with Neumz is for you to forget the app so that you can focus on your prayer. We are making progress.
Ancient Neumatic Notation – in real-time!
Android users: No more fuzzy scores!
SVG scores will also mean no more fuzzy scores on Android. Unfortunately, Android automatically compresses large images, so longer scores often appear blurry. This update should fix that issue. We will also work on avoiding screen timeout during playback for Android.
<< Step Forward and Backward >>
It will be possible to advance or go back through the Office with a single tap rather than needing to select the chant from the calendar dropdown.
V4.1 Coming for Advent 2023!
We are very confident that you will enjoy these updates. We appreciate your patience as we completed the necessary development, and we look forward to having your feedback! In the meantime, we appreciate your support.
Thank you to all of our Users
As you know, we pay two-thirds of all net revenues received to the monastic communities. We do this because we know that it is the nuns and monks whom you want to support through Neumz. Meanwhile, we offer free “radio mode” access to make the chants known as widely as possible worldwide. Our generous Patrons keep Neumz free for our 30 thousand and counting unpaying users, including even for other religious and monasteries of nuns who cannot afford to pay.
As we continue to grow as a community, the Neumz team hopes to rely on your growing support to maintain the two dozen people working behind the scenes to make the app a reality. Neumz will never attempt to profit from ad revenue, and we are not a venture capital-funded project. We do not have any big funders or influencers in high places. We depend entirely on you, our generous users, to maintain the app.
With this in mind, for anyone who can permit it, we would appreciate it if you considered offering a Neumz gift subscription as a Christmas present for your friends and loved ones. If you cannot, we understand – it would already be a big help if you share the app with your friends and church communities! Every contribution helps the monastic communities and keeps Neumz going.
With this update, we have achieved a significant milestone. But we have huge plans for the future of Neumz and our mission to promote Gregorian chant worldwide. Your support is fundamental, and we thank you all!
John Anderson and the Neumz team