[MEI-L] Encoding Notre Dame Polyphonic Neumes

Karen Desmond kdesmond at brandeis.edu
Sun Mar 17 11:02:14 CET 2019

Hi Joshua,

Quick comment. first, I’m really glad someone is looking at modal notation.
My first instinct though would be to not use the neumes module, as many of
the things you are trying to do may have support within the measural module
- where you have elements like ligatures, and note values like longs and
breves, though I know of course that this not mensural and eventually would
need at least its own notationtype attribute (and module?). I don’t think
using the neume names is appropriate for this repertory as the theorists
didn’t use these. For modal notation probably the most important thing you
want to encode is how many notes within a ligature and for the specific
case of the conjunctura, that the type of ligature is a conjunctura
(possibly using the form element of conjunctura). You’re right that
properly encoding the divisio is important - whether it truly functions as
a rest, or a divisio syllabarum, etc.

The alignment is a more complex issue. Ideally you would probably want to
number the perfections and then you would simply tag your tenor notes as
occurring within a certain perfection. However in the duplum the ligatures
could begin in one perfection and end in another - i.e. if in a discant
section in mode 1 you had a 3-note ligature, the notes would be long breve
long but the first long is in the first perfection and the third is the
second perfection, unless of course you had perfection be a sub-element of
ligature in the tag hierarchy.



On Sat, Mar 9, 2019 at 9:27 AM Joshua Stutter <josh at yokermusic.scot> wrote:

> Dear all,
> Fairly new MEI user, trying to encode some 13th-century Notre Dame
> notation into MEI for a class. MEI has good support for many neumes, but
> I'm attempting to get them to work in a polyphonic context, align correctly
> and with good semantics. Here is a small example which I'm attempting to
> encode:
> [image: Small Notre Dame example.]
> Most of the neumes can be notated and typed with the exception of the
> complex neume FGBGA which does not have a name. This is fine as this music
> does not stick to the usual neume types.
> My first issue arises when trying to show the first tenor note D is
> aligned with the porrectus GFG. How would I go about achieving this without
> using semantically-incorrect spacers or invisible rests or durations? What
> I really wish for is the possibility to encode sections of polyphony in
> groups that are aligned together, i.e. the first three neumes in the
> organal voice in one group, then the porrectus in a new group with the
> tenor virga.
> The second issue is the vertical lines. They are not barlines, nor always
> rests. They are divisiones with a complex and context-sensitive function.
> Sometimes they function as rests, sometimes they are alignment marks,
> sometimes syllable marks.
> The first attached file 'benedicamus-domino.mei' encodes this example
> naively. Nothing is aligned and I use <barLine> where divisiones are.
> The second attached file 'benedicamus-domino-wish.mei' is how I wish to
> encode this file, using a made-up element <alignmentGrp> that can contain
> anything a <section> contains. I have also replaced the <barLine> with
> another made-up element <divisio>.
> Needless to say, I'm not concerned with the output in verovio, as very
> little neumatic notation is supported anyway, but instead encoding the
> alignment and elements correctly. Is something like this possible in MEI
> already or will I have to dabble in ODD? If I must, are there any links to
> a good workflow and documentation for using ODD with MEI?
> Thanks in advance for responding to this quite complex question,
> Joshua Stutter.
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Karen Desmond
Visiting Fellow, Clare Hall, and Visiting Scholar, Faculty of Music,
University of Cambridge (Lent/Easter 2019)
Assistant Professor of Music, Brandeis University
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