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TEI Music SIG Initial Meeting November 8, 2008, London

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13/11/2008 - TEI Music SIG: meeting November 8, 2008, London

The first meeting of the Special Interest Group in Music has been held on the 8th of November 2008 within the TEI Members Meeting at King's College London.

During the meeting, the major pre-existing XML-based encoding formats for music notation have been considered. This includes

  • MEI, which is currently developed by Perry Roland at the University of Virginia
  • MusicXML, which is developed by Recordare LLC (Michael Good)
  • MPEG-4 part 23, which was formerly known as Wedelmusic.

The SIG will concentrate on MEI first, as it is designed for critical music editions. This decision does not exclude the other formats from further evaluations.

Long-term agenda:

The SIG has to provide recommendations and examples for the integration of music encoding within TEI. This will start with music examples in Common Western Notation, but shall be extended to other notations as much as possible.

The question of integration v collaboration of MEI and TEI was left open until further evaluations: it is not yet sure if the (digital-)musicological community (which is not as large as the TEI community) will accept to definitively incorporate MEI into TEI. This political question will be addressed later.

In the long term the SIG will work on determining the actual similarity of the header parts and the textCrit / meiCrit modules. It would be desirable to allow TEI encodings in a MEI document (at appropriate locations) and vice versa.

For example, a musical document with text considered worth to be encoded in TEI could be represented as a MEI document with TEI inclusions,

or it could be represented within TEI, where the <teiHeader> is mandatory and the MEI element <mei:work> could substitute or go alongside with <text> and/or <facsimile>.

On the other hand, mainly textual document with music embedded could make use of the latter example.

On order to reach this interoperability, the technical improvement of MEI is a first objective to be reached .

For all of these tasks, Johannes Kepper suggested that the SIG might cooperate with the research project called Digital Music Notation Data Model and Prototype Delivery System (conducted by Roland and Kepper). This project will translate MEI from a one-man-show to a community-based project, and will discuss the political issues concerned with the collaboration / integration with TEI.

MEI will have to consider to refer in its documentation to the authority lists and controlled values defined by the MPEG4.23 standard wherever appropriate. This has no consequences on the concepts and model of MEI, but helps to standardize the interpretation of certain basic symbols and elements. For the MPEG4.23 standard documentation please refer to:

Furthermore, the development of tools for WYSIWYG generation and dynamic rendering of MEI should be supported by the SIG as much as possible.

Short-term agenda - first steps:

For the further discussion about MEI's independence it is important to compare the headers. A first question to be addressed is: "is it possible for MEI to use an extended TEI header?"

A first attempt to answer that question might be to "oddify" MEI, as this allows an easier comparison of individual parts. At the same time, it allows the generation of different schemas as well as DTDs.

At the same time, the primitive objects and values of MEI shall be compared to their equivalents (if existing) in the MPEG standard.

16/10/2008 - Agenda for the SIG meeting: London 8th of November 2008.

  • 2.00 – 2.30: Open discussion (setting SIG agenda)
    • music notation as text and music notation in relation with “extra-musical” text
    • harmonization of core TEI and music. I.e. using TEI elements for text in the musical notation
    • aural common elements between different notation systems
    • musical text v layout
    • musical text / performance (the case of IEEE 1599)
  • 2.30 – 3.00: Open discussion (setting SIG agenda)
    • new encoding model or namespace recommendation?
    • MusicXML, MEI, IEEE 1599, others
    • publishing: what are the possibilities at the moment?
  • 3.00 – 3.30: Workshop/Brainstorming
    • Perhaps work together on an example
    • Defining long-term work of the group
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