[MEI-L] Report of the MEI Mensural Interest Group, June 2016

Giuliano Di Bacco gdibacco at indiana.edu
Wed Jun 29 15:57:47 CEST 2016

Dear MEI-listeners,

At the Music Encoding Conference held in Montreal last May it was agreed that Interest 
Groups will provide regular reports about their activities not only to the Board (as for 
the current by-laws) but to the whole community, posting to MEI-L at least once a year. 
This is to keep the community informed and to invite further participation. Here follows 
the first of such reports from the Mensural IG.

The IG was founded in occasion of MEC 2015. Its aims are to discuss the use of MEI for the 
encoding of musical repertories in mensural notation (ca.1260-1600); to recommend 
additions and emendations to future versions of the MEI Schema and Guidelines; to discuss 
the use, adaptation or creation of tools for the representation and analysis of these 
repertories through MEI.

At the inaugural meeting in Florence and at a later one in Brussels (held in occasion of 
the Medieval and Renaissance Music Conference, July 2015) several areas were pointed out 
where substantial changes to the schema are needed, that is, more granular markup for the 
encoding of notations pre-1500, the encoding of proportions, text underlay, and so on. 
Preliminary work had been planned to be carried out by a sub-group during the winter, but 
due to unforeseen circumstances the activity has proceeded at a slow pace. However, a few 
of the changes discussed in the early meetings have been implemented in MEI 3.0.0 (thanks 
to those of the Technical Committee that are also members of the group), most notably 1) 
the introduction of the @notationtype attribute of <staffDef>, allowing to specify for 
example that a piece is written in "mensural.black" or "mensural.white" notation; 2) a 
series of new attributes to describe note heads in greater detail.

The group currently has 21 members, nine of whom attended the annual IG meeting held in 
Montreal on May 20. At the meeting, the convenor presented a summary of a dozen open 
issues, mostly relevant to the encoding of notational details such as ligatures, 
mensuration signs, stems, flags, and dots, but also addressing more general matters. Some 
preliminary ideas were exchanged and a few decisions taken, but the discussion about the 
details is now extended to the IG dedicated mailing list. An internal document will keep 
track of the individual proposals and once a sizeable number of issues are examined, the 
IG will finalize an organic recommendation for changes to the schema. It is anticipated 
that the group will also discuss about best practices of encoding, and will examine 
matters also outside the strict domain of MEI, such as the glyphs presently included in 
SMuFL (Standard Music Font Layout).

Anyone interested in participating in the group is welcome to subscribe to the dedicated 
mailing list by following the link 

All the best,

Giuliano (Di Bacco)
Convenor (aka administrative chair) of MEI Mensural IG

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