[tei-council] Two music FRs

James Cummings James.Cummings at oucs.ox.ac.uk
Wed Oct 13 12:21:37 EDT 2010

Gabriel Bodard wrote:
> The TEI Music SIG have just submitted two Feature Requests via 
> SourceForge 
> (https://sourceforge.net/tracker/?func=detail&aid=3086720&group_id=106328&atid=644065 
> and 
> https://sourceforge.net/tracker/?func=detail&aid=3086726&group_id=106328&atid=644065). 
> Is it two late to get these included in the discussion in the next 
> couple weeks?

One of these is fairly uncontroversial (the first) which the MEI 
people are adamant that the 'musicNotation' element is really 
mis-named.  It contains a description of the musical notation in 
the manuscript and not music notation itself.  They argue that in 
parallel to its siblings (like sealDesc, bindingDesc, etc.) that 
this really should be either musicDesc or musicNotationDesc.  The 
  latter of these is preferred by them because it is a 
description of the music notation (since manuscripts don't 
contain music, they only contain music notation... ignoring 
embedding mp3s in modern manuscripts for now).

I think that is either a yes/no based on how serious a breakage 
of backwards compatibility this is.

The second of these is more complicated... to add an entirely new 
element to contain music notation as a figure-like element (and 
they suggest part of the figures module).  The intention is to 
give a way to describe music notation as it appears in a text(or 
document?) and alternatively for this to be used as a place to 
replace the content with references to MEI elements in a TEI 
customization much like some do with figure+svg or 
formula+mathml.  (We have already created a basic functioning 
TEI+MEI ODD which embeds certain MEI elements at different 
levels, but this certainly needs more work.) The MEI is now 
expressed as an ODD, and though it contains much that is directly 
lifted from TEI currently these are all in the MEI namespace. 
Having this as a starting place would certainly be a good move in 
rationalising TEI and MEI.

However, if we were to do this it seems to me that figure and 
this new element should be added to a class of model.figureLike 
and any place figure is specified it be replaced with 

Moreover, the naming of the element is slightly problematic. 
Ideally, they would want it called musicNotation since we'd be 
freeing up that name if we agree to the first feature 
request...but that might be confusing and have 
backwards-compatibility implications, so they also suggest 
musicalNotation.  'music' sadly doesn't really make sense, since 
semantically what is in the document is notation rather than 
music itself.

I have no problem with us discussing it in the next two weeks, 
but want to make sure that we don't rush things and 'get it 
right' because I think further incorporation of MEI into the TEI 
where reasonable to be a good thing.


Dr James Cummings, Research Technologies Service
OUCS, University of Oxford

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