Synoptic Office rebrands Carnegie Hall’s Timeline of African American Music to tell “the story of music through music”

Since 2009, Carnegie Hall has provided a premier cultural resource on African American music through its timeline. In a recent overhaul of Synoptic Office, the timeline has been relaunched with a brand new look. The team was tasked with interpreting 400 years of audio and data into an “easy and compelling” format for users to explore, Synoptic Office says in a press release. Through a collaboration with Apple Music, audio tracks have been integrated into the timeline’s interactive assets. “With music embedded in the timeline itself,” says Synoptic co-founder YuJune Park, “Carnegie can tell the story of music in an innovative way – the story of music through music .”

The Synoptic team, led by co-founders YuJune Park and Caspar Lam, leveraged the duo’s experience in education and “tremendous developments in digital technology” since the timeline’s inception to bring the African-American music history ‘beyond classroom conversations and to the wider audience’.

Comprising the lifelong research of Dr. Portia Maultsby, founding director of the Archives of African American Music and Culture at Indiana University, the archive includes an extensive collection of scholarly essays, photos, historical images and audio data. One of the main challenges of the project was to accommodate the wide range of researchers, educators and music lovers who approach the platform for different reasons. “We don’t expect the results for every type of user to be the same,” Lam says. “This means that the redesigned timeline is multi-faceted in nature and offers multiple avenues for exploring and understanding this content.” To do this, Synoptic has taken a step-by-step approach to data mapping according to broad humanities themes, engagement points, and learning objectives.