[MEI-L] Combining MEI ornament elements

Roland, Perry D. (pdr4h) pdr4h at eservices.virginia.edu
Mon Jul 13 17:28:10 CEST 2015

Hi Raffaele,

The short answer is, <mordent>, <trill>, and <turn> can’t be combined to represent more complex ornaments.

The longer answer is, they weren’t intended to be used that way.  These elements are named, simple instances of the more generic element <dir>, which should be used in cases like this.  One can use character entity references to either Unicode or SMuFL entities to indicate the desired symbol For example,


The resolution of such directives should be encoded inside the stream of events; that is, within <layer>. The notated and performed versions can be wrapped with <choice> and its sub-elements such as <orig> and <reg>.

  <orig><!-- written note --></orig>
  <reg><!-- resolution of the ornament (probably multiple notes) --></reg>


From: mei-l [mailto:mei-l-bounces+pdr4h=virginia.edu at lists.uni-paderborn.de] On Behalf Of Raffaele Viglianti
Sent: Sunday, July 12, 2015 7:18 PM
To: Music Encoding Initiative
Subject: [MEI-L] Combining MEI ornament elements

Dear list,

I was wondering if it is possible to combine two ornaments in MEi to describe one ornament on the page.

(Please forgive any possible misunderstandings because of my limited knowledge of ornamentation outside of common symbols and little more.)

For example how could I encode the type of mordent that in SMuFL is called "mordent with release"?

The MEI encoding would definitely depend on context. Factors that will determine the encoding are: what kind of score is it in; who is the composer; which geographical place is the composer writing in; time/era of composition; and many more.

Either way, none of the MEI elements <mordent>, <trill>, and <turn> will be able to represent it adequately on its own. It will need to be a combination of those elements.

Based solely on my training as a pianist, I would guess that this ornament should be treated as a trill plus a turn. If it were on a c note, I would resolve it as d-c-d-c d-c-b-c.
I might be wrong about the exact resolution, but bear with me for the sake of discussing combining MEI ornaments.

So I could encode this "mordent with release" with:

<trill />
<turn form="norm"/>

I could then connect them together with @prev and @next

<trill xml:id="trill_1" next="#turn_1" />
<turn xml:id="turn_1" form="norm" prev="#turn_1"/>

That could be enough for what MEI is concerned. Do you agree? Is there a better way of encoding this?

Finally, what if I wanted to map this to a specific rendition? eg to a SMuFL code, or my own SVG drawing? -- if I understand correctly, this is what the user defined symbol module is for (for some elements) [1].

However, there is currently no way of using the user defined symbol module for mapping one ornament element to a symbol. Though there is good reason to believe this is in the process of being adjusted for the 2015 release [2] [3]. This will likely be done with @altsym, and/or other dedicated attributes.

But even with that upgrade in mind, how would I map my "combined" elements with one symbol? The only solution I could think of is a bit redundant, ideas?

<trill xml:id="trill_1" next="#turn_1" altsym="#combinedSymbol" />
<turn xml:id="turn_1" form="norm" prev="#turn_1" altsym="#combinedSymbol"/>
(this is invalid in MEI 2014, but possibly valid in 2015)


[1] http://music-encoding.org/documentation/2.1.1/userSymbols/
[2] https://github.com/music-encoding/music-encoding/issues/232
[3] https://github.com/music-encoding/music-encoding/issues/214#issuecomment-118944042

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