as this list was silent for a month now, I suggest to start the
discussion again. We had some introductions of different file formats,
but I'm not sure if it is really the time to discuss them yet. It
might be better to discuss our needs first, and then have a look at
the different formats in a second step.
As James suggested, there should be a possibility to encode _easy_
examples directly within TEI, without the need of namespaces. When
there is just a short melody to be encoded, a whole music encoding
format might be too complicated and talkative. On the other hand, it's
perhaps not the best idea to introduce more than one possibility to
The main question is which kind of music should be covered: Shall we
only concern with music from 1700 to 1900? What about twelve tone
music / serial music, where we have a completely different concept of
modes? In the opposite direction, do we have to cover Gregorian modes?
Trecento notation? Modal or mensural music? In case we cope with these
differing repertoires, do we want to encode modern transcriptions, or
will we use the original concepts and terminology, e.g. semibrevis
instead of a whole? What about tablatures and non-european notation
systems? Is there anything we can exclude, and what is essential for
our needs? Where is the tradeoff between flexibility and complexity?
Is it really a good idea to use different formats for different
repertoires as Michael suggested? I don't think so, as there is always
a gentle transition between these repertoires, and we might get
problems to choose the best format for a certain situation. But as I
said, I think it is more important to come to a wish list than to
discuss individual formats right now. We have to do this, but first we
should come to an understanding on what we really need.
The other important question is which concept (or better: usage) of
notation we want to support. For the Paderborn conference Michael has
mentioned, I prepared a paper with requirements for music encoding in
the field of scholarly editions. It can be obtained from
However, this paper does only concern with the needs of historio-
critical editions. There are lots of different usages for encoded
music notation. What are the specific needs of MIR, music printing,
audio / MIDI generation, multimedia integration and interchange? We
should be aware of these very different requirements before discussing
possible solutions, even if we probably cannot address all of them.
The third important question seems to be answered already. As James
pointed out, we should cope with all mixtures text and music, no
matter which ratio they have.
From my point of view it is essential for us to discuss these
questions. Although I see the point of external namespaces, which
allow the usage of the most appropriate format for every imaginable
application, we should spend some thoughts on these formats (again: in
a second step). The TEI recommends SVG and provides examples for this,
it's not left to the user. Of course everyone can use the vector
graphics format he wants to use, but it is recommended to choose SVG.
We should try to do the same for music encoding.
(sorry for the long post)