[MEI-L] First efforts to bring modal notation to MEI
josh at yokermusic.scot
Fri Apr 16 22:42:55 CEST 2021
Although I believe my previous response made it to Janek directly, I
think it didn't reach the list as it came from my other e-mail address.
It is reproduced below.
> Great, yet another person interested in this tricky transitional
> notation! It gets a little lonely sometimes.
>> a thread initiated by Joshua Stutter about two years ago
> (for it was he)
> My initial interest in this was during my Master's level study where
> I was attempting to encode some modal notation into MEI. The issue at
> that time on this list was whether modal notation should be encoded
> as "neumes" or "mensural". I was initially on the side of neumes as
> it seems most readily available for the same elements, but it seems
> that the neumes module cannot support polyphony. IIRC, modal notation
> would fit best into mensural.
> My view at the time was that it is neither neumes nor mensural, and
> is something "special" and inherently transitional. My answer then
> was to try my hand at writing an ODD (in PXSL because I don't like
> the verbosity of XML - don't judge me!) which can be found here:
> <https://gitlab.com/yockyrr/digital-musicology-mei> this ODD likely
> doesn't work but I had no idea what I was doing...
> There was discussion about adding "plica" to ligatures which I
> believe has made good progress:
> <https://github.com/music-encoding/music-encoding/pull/722> there was
> lots of discussion around October of last year in the MEI Slack
> server #ig-mensural
> For my continuing work I have largely moved away from MEI until
> someone (perhaps yourself!) can add support. My own project at the
> time was attempting to encode modal notation as succinctly as
> possible (due to time constraints) which eventually became
> <https://gitlab.com/yockyrr/w1-ndp> with a parser
> <https://gitlab.com/yockyrr/ndp> and discussion can be found in my
> Master's thesis: <http://theses.gla.ac.uk/79015/5/2020StutterMMus.pdf>
> How I would approach this nowadays if I had more time would be to
> pragmatically attempt to fit and stuff modal rhythm into the mensural
> module as best as possible, but bearing in mind what I know now that
> any "rules" that the mid-twentieth century writers came up with are
> broken time and time again in actual sources.
> Good luck, and feel free to reach out to me for more info as someone
> who would love to use more MEI in my projects for want of support!
On Fri, 16 Apr, 2021 at 20:34, Eleanor Selfridge-Field
<esfield at stanford.edu> wrote:
> If you look broadly at other music-encoding systems, you will find
> periodic coverage in our yearbook Computing in Musicology
> (1985-2008), which are indexed in RILM and now included in the
> extended RILM subscription. Brief title information can be found at
> <http://www.ccarh.org/publications/books/cm/>. Later issues are
> available from the MIT Press. Various issues in early notational
> styles are presented in Vols. 6, 8, 10, and 12.
> Digital Resources for Musicology (drm.ccarh.org) contains information
> on open-access projects. Its companion ADAM (Archive of Digital
> Applications in Music) features projects that originated in the
> mainframe era. See especially the work of Nortbert Böker-Heil:
> Eleanor Selfridge-Field
> Stanford/CCARH/Parkard Humanities Inst.
> Braun Music Center #129
> Stanford University
> Stanford, CA 94305-3076, USA
> esfield at stanford.edu <mailto:esfield at stanford.edu>
> Profile: https://profiles.stanford.edu/eleanor-selfridge-field
> *From:* mei-l <mei-l-bounces at lists.uni-paderborn.de> on behalf of
> Janek Spaderna <janek.spaderna at pluto.uni-freiburg.de>
> *Sent:* Friday, March 19, 2021 12:21 PM
> *To:* mei-l at lists.uni-paderborn.de <mei-l at lists.uni-paderborn.de>
> *Subject:* [MEI-L] First efforts to bring modal notation to MEI
> Hello everyone,
> as a project for university I am looking into the challenges of
> support for modal notation to MEI. I am quite new to both modal
> notation and
> MEI so please don’t hesitate to let me know in case I mix things
> up, miss
> something or end up writing straight up wrong stuff.
> Instead of directly thinking in terms of a (potential) concrete
> encoding I
> would like to discuss the elements and concepts of modal notation
> Below you can find the thoughts I had so for in this regard.
> In my opinion thinking this through beforehand can help because we
> can get a
> feeling on which level an encoding should work (rather purely visual
> or should
> it include/require analysis of some (which?) sort).
> The only prior discussion about this I could find is a thread
> initiated by
> Joshua Stutter about two years ago . (Did I miss something?) It
> touches on
> some of the concepts which exist in modal notation but have
> disappeared in
> mensural music but is mostly concerned with finding a concrete
> encoding for
> some piece of music.
> # Visual elements of modal notation
> The distinctive visual elements are only very few: lines, clefs,
> notes, tractus
> and lyrics.
> Regarding notes there are some special cases:
> a) notes can be grouped into ligatures
> b) a note can have a plica attached
> c) notes can be followed by currentes, making it a coniunctura
> d) the last note in a ligature can also be coniunctura
> Cases a) and b) also occur in mensural notation; about c)/d) I am
> not sure, at
> least I think I do not have seen a way to encode it in MEI?
> Also for c) there is a difference in musical meaning wether there is
> a note
> followed by up to three lozenges or if there are more than three.
> The former
> corresponds to a ternaria whereas only the latter is truly a
> Tractus serve multiple purposes:
> 1. It groups notes into ordines.
> 2. It indicates syllable changes.
> 3. It indicates alignment of different voices in organum passages.
> # Concepts of modal notation
> ## Tempora, perfectiones, ordines
> The rhythmic feeling is based on perfectiones which consist of three
> If not changed by context a brevis has a length of one tempus, a
> longa of two.
> Only having seen a few transcription I still got the feeling that it
> is quite
> common to number the perfectiones.
> Notes are grouped by tractus into ordines. The duration of an ordo
> is not fix
> and can encompass one or more perfectiones. The tractus which ends
> an ordo is
> usually transcribed as a rest with a context dependet duration.
> ## Discantus/organum purum
> On one side there is the discantus, on the other the organum purum.
> In between
> the two lives the copula.
> In discantus passages each voice follows a mode which can be
> recognized by a
> specific pattern of ligatures. The mode then tells which notes in
> the ligatures
> are longae and which are breves. Additional notes---be it from
> ligatures not fitting the patterns or coniuncturae---live outside the
> longa/breve classification.
> This concept does not apply to organum purum. As I understand it the
> important bit here is finding a way to encode the visual alignment
> of the
> voices. Karen Desmond writes in one of her responses to the
> thread on the mailing list 
> > Ideally you would probably want to number the perfections and then
> you would
> > simply tag your tenor notes as occurring within a certain
> Whilst she notes other problems with this idea I am wondering if
> this would
> even be feasible in organum purum passages as I thought we do not
> know which
> notes are longae and which are breves. As I read it, Joshua shares my
> sentiment 
> > I'm against tagging in a particular perfection as that is implying
> that the
> > music proceeds in a constant modal rhythm and has length, which
> may not be
> > exactly correct.
> The copula is used to connect discantus passages with organum purum
> During these connecting sections the duplum operates as in discantus
> whereas the tenor holds notes as in organum purum passages.
> Overall it can be said that a way to encode alignment is important
> in organum
> purum and copula passages. In discantus passages however this is not
> as the modal rhythm used in all voices carries enough information;
> moreover the
> visual alignment usually does not even correspond to the musical
> What are your thoughts so far? I am looking forward to your feedback!
> Joshua Stutter’s initial message
> Karen Desmond in response to Joshua
> Joshua in response to Karen
> mei-l mailing list
> mei-l at lists.uni-paderborn.de
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the mei-l