[tei-council] tei:notatedMusic as a problem of keeping discussions accessible

Martin Mueller martinmueller at northwestern.edu
Mon Jun 20 07:05:37 EDT 2011

This thread on notatedMusic is an excellent example of the strengths and
weaknesses of technical discussion on the TEI-list.  The strengths are
obvious: highly motivated, intelligent, and knowledgeable people
communicating very rapidly across continents and time zones and advancing
the discussion of a topic that at least some people care about a lot.

But it is worth commenting on the weaknesses, which are to some extent
inherent in listserv threads: as the discussion continues, it moves away
from its origins, becomes highly allusive, and difficult to enter or
follow for anybody but the few currently engaged in it.

What would be really helpful in such discussion is a habit of "stepping
back," summarizing where we are, and reframing the original topic in the
light of the discussion it has received. This is not easy and takes time,
but if someone could "take" or "make" that time from time to time, it
would be a very good thing. Perhaps we need a TEI genre with a title "The
current state of X." That might be somewhere on a re-organized TEI web
site (another thing worth discussing).  It would have to be written in a
manner that is intelligible to interested outsiders and updated on a
regular basis. 

For some technical discussions --and notatedMusic is certainly one of
them--it would also be illuminating to have a picture of the phenomenon
that is encoded. That really is one of those occasions where a picture is
worth a thousand worths. And this would be especially true for newcomers
to the discussion.

Would it make sense to turn the writing of such "Current State of X"
reports into a continuing responsibility of the TEI Council? It could be
argued that some such thing is already happening since Sourceforge is the
repository of "tickets" and Council decisions. But Sourceforge is the
"geek space" par excellence. I know many people who are interested in the
TEI and want to know something about it, but they won't go there. Perhaps
they should. But they won't.

To use a very ancient distinction, Sourceforge is like the 'esoteric'
space in which Aristotle lectured to his students. But he had an
'exoteric' mode --and that is in part why he became so famous and
influential.  The TEI could use an exoteric space that is not only public
--as the list is-- but easily accessible by the public. The rate of change
in such a space would be quite slow --monthly or quarterly, rather than
weekly or daily.  If this were well done, it might be a time saver over
time: much of the prose that appears there might make it into the
Guidelines with little or no change.

On 6/19/11 5:16 PM, "Sebastian Rahtz" <sebastian.rahtz at oucs.ox.ac.uk>

>In general, I am in favour, but I have some concerns, sharpened by
>hearing Raffaele explain this and discussing it with James.
>Firstly, it seems clear to me that this <music> (for short) element is
>very comparable to <formula>,
>and so i'd like to make sure they are aligned. That means I worry about
>it being in model.global alongside
>milestone elements and suchlike trash. I'd rather it was in
>model.graphicLike - and if that needs adjusting
>so be it.
>Secondly, I wonder about the <desc>. The example gives <desc>First bar of
>Chopin's Scherzo No.3 Op.39</desc>,
>which looks to me a bit like a <head>. Is this <desc> intended to be a
>caption, or more like a <figDesc>? would
>one normally show it when rendering the doc? what is the difference here
>between a <desc> and a <label>?
>Thirdly, I'd like to generalize the idea of a group of elements which are
>different ways of 
>expressing the same content. The same model could be used for math, and
>for video,
>and for normal graphics. Therefore I wonder if we can name the general
>concept, and be
>clear that <notatedMusic> is just syntactic sugar for  <Thing
>type="music">. If only
>I could think of a name for <Thing> (I suggested <multiGroup> to James
>and he barfed).
>If we have it, can we then use it straightaway for video, please? I am
>imagining this
>grouping mechanism as falling between <figure> (which indicates - to me -
>a break
>in the linear flow of text) and <graphic> (an atomic element which points
>at a single resource).
>Fourthly, the idea of unordered, untyped, bunch of representations  of
>the same
>bit of music (or whatever) is a bit bothersome. I never liked that inside
>and this perpetuates it. Raffaele's examples seem to belie the underlying
>using two _separate_ notatedMusic, and explaining in the desc  in
>words what the representation is - I don't see the point of this. I'd
>insist on mimeType.
> <ptr
>   target="bar1.xml"
>   mimeType="application/vnd.recordare.musicxml"/>
> <desc>First bar of Chopin's Scherzo No.3 Op.39. Encoded in
> <ptr target="bar1.ly"/>
> <desc>First bar of Chopin's Scherzo No.3 Op.39. Encoded in
>and incidentally here, why use <ptr> parallel to <graphic>? one does not
>normally transcude
>the contents of a <ptr> in the same way as one transcludes <graphic>, so
>the semantics seems
>a bit weird.
>Sebastian Rahtz   
>Head of Information and Support Group, Oxford University Computing
>13 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6NN. Phone +44 1865 283431
>Sólo le pido a Dios
>que el futuro no me sea indiferente
>tei-council mailing list
>tei-council at lists.village.Virginia.EDU
>PLEASE NOTE: postings to this list are publicly archived

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