James, Dot and list,
As creator of the MEI DTD, I'd like to point out that MEI can deal with
notation other than the "standard" kind. This is accomplished via the
same mechanisms as the TEI DTD, i.e., modules, parameter entities, etc.
In its unmodified, "out of the box" state, MEI is somewhat biased toward
common western notation simply because that will be its most common use.
However, MEI can be used for virtually any notation where pitch and
rhythm are specified independently of each other and where these have
distinct values. For example, the pitch names might be "huey", "dewey",
"louie", and "donald", while the rhythmic values might be "duck1",
"duck2", "goose3", and "goose4". Of course, rendering of such markup is
the responsibility of the encoder! In fact, all rendering is the
responsibility of the encoder since MEI is not tightly coupled with any
MEI makes a distinction between the written and performance domains.
The written pitch name can be encoded separately from the performed
pitch name. This can be done for rhythmic value as well. In the case
of mensural notation where the performed rhythmic value is unclear, only
the written value need be recorded. In other words, there is no
built-in assumption that the written value and the performed value are
MEI can even be useful for the early neumatic notation which Dot
mentions below. Rhythmic value is not required for a note. Therefore,
only the pitch need be recorded. The pitch can be specified in relative
rather than absolute terms. At some point, however, this early notation
is not really music notation at all but an annotated text.
Lest I give the impression that MEI is perfectly suited to all music of
all times, I should say that MEI is the result of a single person's
efforts and could benefit from a rigorous examination by others. I
welcome all inquiries and suggestions. I'm particularly interested in
extending MEI's usefulness into music before the common notation era.
I've drawn on TEI a great deal -- not just the similar name, but the
design principles and philosophical ideals (I think!). I'm keenly
interested in how it could fit with TEI in a more formal way.
University of Virginia
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