Poland to post Chopin collection online

Poland's Fryderyk Chopin Institute (NIFC) on Tuesday said it would make its entire collection devoted to the 19th-century composer available online for free by 2020.

"Chopin will be the first great composer to have all of his musical scores digitised" and openly accessible by all, NIFC deputy director Maciej Janicki told reporters.

Nearly 40,000 Chopin items from the UNESCO world heritage collection -- including photographs and paintings of the Polish-French romantic composer, scholarly articles and manuscripts -- will be put online, Janicki added.

Anyone will be able to download recordings from the global Chopin piano competition that the Warsaw-based institute organises in addition to researching, documenting and promoting Chopin's work around the world.

Janicki says the most innovative part of the open-source project -- which will be available in English and Polish and is being cofinanced by the European Union -- is the sheet music.

Visitors to the site will not only be able to search for and download particular scores or excerpts but will also be able to run all kinds of analyses of the rhythm, harmony, melody and other aspects of the music.

"They won't just be simple scans or PDF files," said Marcin Konik, who manages the NIFC library.

Chopin was born in 1810 in Zelazowa Wola, near Warsaw, to a French father and Polish mother.

He fled his homeland just before the 1830 uprising against the occupying forces of Tsarist Russia.

The pianist lived in Vienna and then Paris, where he died aged 39 after years of poor health. His body is buried in Paris, while his heart rests in Warsaw's Holy Cross church.