It is often necessary to render an account of any changes made to a musical text during its creation (and any subsequent editing) and to accommodate editorial comment necessitated by an editorial process. The elements and attributes described in this chapter may be used to record such editorial interventions, whether made by the composer, the copyists of the manuscript, the editor of a earlier edition used as a copy text, or the current encoder/editor.
The scope of the elements described herein is therefore the description of features relating to the genesis, later revision and editorial interpretation of a text. Mechanisms for describing multiple sources are described in chapter
Critical Apparatus of these Guidelines.
The elements described in this chapter may be contained by a wide range of other MEI elements and, in turn, may contain a variety of elements. The encoder must assume responsibility for the appropriateness of the markup; that is, a great many combinations of editorial and transcriptional markup are technically possible, but care must be taken to see that the encoding does not contravene the rationale of these Guidelines.
For most of the elements discussed here, some encoders may wish to indicate both a responsibility; that is, a coded value indicating the person or agency responsible for making the editorial intervention in question, and an indication of the degree of certainty which the encoder wishes to associate with the intervention. Because these requirements are common to many of the elements discussed in this section, they are provided by an attribute class,
att.edit, to which these elements subscribe. Any of the elements discussed here thus may potentially carry the following optional attributes:
Captures information regarding responsibility for some aspect of the text's
creation, transcription, editing, or encoding. Its value must point to one or more
identifiers declared in the document header.
Many of the elements discussed here can be used in two ways. Their primary purpose is to indicate that their content represents an editorial intervention (or, in some cases, the lack of intervention) of a specific kind. Sometimes, pairs or other meaningful groupings of such elements can be recorded, then wrapped within the special purpose
Groups a number of alternative encodings for the same point in a text.
Wrapping elements this way enables the encoder to represent, for example, a text in its ‘original’, uncorrected form alongside the same text in one or more ‘edited’ forms. Making use of this style of representation, software may dynamically switch between the Urtext ‘view’ of the text and one or more ‘views’ of the text after the application of the encoded editorial interventions.
Elements which can be combined in this way constitute the
model.choicePart class. The default members of this class are
del; their functions and usage are described in greater detail below.
Three categories of editorial intervention are discussed by the remainder of this chapter:
indication or correction of apparent errors;
indication of regularization of variant, irregular, non-standard, or eccentric forms; and
editorial additions, suppressions, and omissions.
MEI offers methods for marking abbreviations in prose, as in the following example:
or abbreviations in the music itself, as in the following example:
The type attribute may be used to classify the abbreviation according to a convenient typology. Sample values include:
suspension: the abbreviation provides the first letter(s) of the word or phrase, omitting the remainder;
contraction: the abbreviation omits some letter(s) in the middle;
brevigraph: the abbreviation comprises a special symbol or mark;
superscription: the abbreviation includes writing above the line;
acronym: the abbreviation comprises the initial letters of the words of a phrase;
title: the abbreviation is for a title of address (Dr, Ms, Mr, …);
organization: the abbreviation is for the name of an organization;
geographic: the abbreviation is for a geographic name.
This tag is the mirror image of the
expan tag (not to be confused with the
expansion element described in
Content of Musical Divisions). Both
expan allow the encoder to transcribe an abbreviation and its expansion. In the case of
abbr, the original is transcribed as the content of the element and the expansion as an attribute value, while
expan reverses this. The choice between the two is up to the user. For example:
abbr tag is not required; if appropriate, the encoder may transcribe abbreviations in the source text silently, without tagging them. If abbreviations are not transcribed directly but expanded silently, then the MEI header should indicate this is the case. The @cert attribute signifies the degree of certainty ascribed to the expansion of the abbreviation. The @expan attribute gives an expansion of the abbreviation. The @resp attribute contains an ID reference to an element containing the name of the editor or transcriber responsible for supplying the expansion of the abbreviation.
When the content of the @abbr or @expan attributes requires additional markup, an attribute cannot be used. In this case, the abbreviated and expanded forms must be presented within elements. Furthermore, as alternatives to each other, the
expan elements must be wrapped by the
choice element, as described above. The previous example, where the ‘o:’ in ‘pno:’ is written as superscript, would be encoded as:
Many musical scores make use of various kinds of shorthand notation which omit some parts of the score that have already been written elsewhere. Typical exampleS for this are symbols that indicate repetition of the preceding measure or beat. In MEI, these symbols can be encoded using the
beatRpt elements respectively. Often, similar graphical symbols (often one or two slashes, “//”) are used to mean that the current staff should have the same or similar content as another staff.
colla parte directives have a less strictly-defined scope than the ‘Rpt elements’ (
multiRpt). That is, rather than specifying the repetition of content of a particular duration, like a measure or beat, colla parte instructions can refer to material of any length. In order to encode such scribal shorthand, MEI offers the
cpMark element, which allows filling of blank spaces in the score with horizontally and/or vertically distant material.
(copy/colla parte mark) – A verbal or graphical indication to copy musical material
Like any other ‘controlEvent’,
cpMark is placed in the score using the @staff and @tstamp attributes. The end point of the mark itself, when necessary, may be indicated using the @tstamp2 attribute. The source material, which is intended to be inserted in the space indicated by the copy mark, can be identified by the attributes @origin.tstamp, @origin.tstamp2, @origin.staff and @origin.layer. While @origin.tstamp provides the relative distance from the beginning of the “gap”, @origin.tstamp is relative to the position identified by @origin.tstamp. However, @origin.tstamp defaults to the same value as @tstamp2 and should only be provided when necessary. When neither @origin.staff nor @origin.tstamp are not provided, they take the same values as the cpMark’s @staff and @tstamp attributes; that is, they indicate a strict ‘vertical’ or ‘horizontal’ copy.
In the example above, there are no less than three different copy instructions, which need to be encoded with four
cpMark elements. First, Weber inserts characters from “a” to “f” in red ink to identify filled measures. Then, he repeats the same characters in empty measures, which indicates that the content from the filled measures should be copied here. While one could try to encode this with just one
cpMark element, it is both clearer and easier to process when using two elements.
The second and third shorthand indications are written in the second violin (lower staff). Here, Weber writes “unis.[ono]”, silently omitting the reference to the first violin. His next shorthand (“in 8va”) additionally instructs the copyist to double the written material in another octave. This information can be captured using the @dis and @dis.place attributes on
Text used as a copy mark, like the letters in the Weber example, may be encoded as content of the
cpMark element. In the case of non-text marks, the @altsym, @extsym and @facs attributes may be used to refer to a graphical surrogate.
Depending on the purpose of the encoding, the omitted parts in the score may be filled with
mSpace elements of appropriate duration or silently overwritten with the content that the
cpMark identifies. Also, these two options may be combined through the use a
choice element whose
expan children explicitly encode a transcription of the original ‘gap’ (in abbr) and the result of the insertion of the indicated material (in expan).
11.2. Apparent Errors
When the source material to be encoded is manifestly faulty, an encoder or transcriber may elect simply to correct it without comment, although for scholarly purposes it will often be more generally useful to record both the correction and the original state of the text. The elements described here enable all three approaches, and allows the last to be done is such a way as make it easy for software to present either the original or the correction.
(correction) – Contains the correct form of an apparent erroneous passage.
The following examples show alternative treatment of the same material. The text to be encoded contains a chord (c4, e4, g4, a4), where c4, e4, and a4 are quarter notes, but g4 is a half note.
An encoder may choose to silently correct the engraver’s error:
or the correction may be made explicit:
Alternatively, the encoder may simply record the typographic error without correcting it, either without comment or with a
sic element to indicate the error is not a transcription error in the encoding:
If the encoder elects to record the original source text and provide a correction for the sake of transparency, both
corr may be used, wrapped in a
choice element. The order of the
corr elements is not significant:
An indication of the person or agency responsible for the emendation can be provided as follows:
Here the @resp attribute has been used to indicate responsibility for the correction. Its value (#editTrans.JK) is an example of the pointer values discussed in section
Pointers and References. In this case, the @resp attribute points to a
name element within the metadata header, but any element might be indicated in this way, if the correction has been taken from some other source. The @resp attribute is available for all elements which are members of the
att.responsibility class. The
att.edit class makes available a @cert attribute,which may be used to indicate the degree of editorial confidence in a particular correction, as in the following example:
Where, as here, the correction takes the form of amending information present in the text being encoded, the encoder should use the
corr element. Where the correction is present in the text being encoded, and consists of some combination of visible additions and deletions, the elements
del should be used. For additional information on the use of
del, see section
Additions and Deletions below. Where the correction takes the form of an addition of material not present in the original because of physical damage or illegibility, the
supplied element may be used. Where the ‘correction’ is simply a matter of expanding abbreviated notation, the
expan element may be used.
11.3. Regularization and Normalization
When the musical source makes extensive use of unusual symbol shapes or non-standard notation features, it may be desirable for a number of reasons to regularize it; that is, provide ‘standard’ or ‘regularized’ forms that are equivalent to the non-standard forms.
As with other such changes to the source text, the changes may be made silently (in which case the MEI header should still specify the types of silent changes made) or may be explicitly marked using the following elements:
Groups a number of alternative encodings for the same point in a text.
Consider this traditional soprano clef appearing somewhere in the course of a musical piece:
An encoder may choose to preserve this original clef, but flag it as nonstandard from the perspective of current practice by using the
orig element with no attributes specified, as follows:
Alternatively, the encoder may indicate that the clef has been modernized into a G-clef by using the
reg element with no attributes specified, as follows:
As another alternative, the encoder may encode both the old and modernized shapes, so that applications may render both at the reader’s will:
As described above, the @resp attribute may be used to specify the agent responsible for the regularization.
11.4. Additions, Deletions, and Omissions
The following elements are used to indicate when single notational symbols have been omitted from, added to, or marked for deletion from, a musical text. Like the other editorial elements described in this chapter, they allow for a wide range of editorial practices:
(deletion) – Contains information deleted, marked as deleted, or otherwise indicated
superfluous or spurious in the copy text by an author, scribe, annotator, or
11.4.1. Omissions, Unclear Readings, Damage, and Supplied Readings
Encoders may choose to omit parts of the source for reasons ranging from illegibility, (making transcription difficult or impossible), to editorial policy, e.g., systematic exclusion of poetry or prose from an encoding. The full details of the policy decisions concerned should be documented in the MEI header (see section
Encoding Description). Each place in the text at which omission has taken place should be marked with a
gap element, optionally with further information about the reason for the omission, its extent, and the person or agency responsible for it, as in the following examples:
Note that the extent of the gap may be marked precisely using attributes @unit and @quantity, or more descriptively using the @extent attribute.
Unlike TEI, MEI does not offer a desc element for further description of the reason for a gap. Instead, an
annot may refer to the gap via its @startid, @endid, or @plist attributes and provide additional information.
unclear element is used to mark passages in the original which cannot be read with confidence, or about which the transcriber is uncertain for other reasons, as for example when transcribing a illegible source. Its @reason and @resp attributes are used, as with the
gap element, to indicate the cause of uncertainty and the person responsible for the conjectured reading.
Where the difficulty in transcription arises from an identifiable cause, the @agent attribute signifies the causative agent. The @cert attribute signifies the degree of certainty ascribed to the transcription of the text contained within the
unclear element. Where the difficulty in transcription arises from action (partial deletion, etc.) assignable to an identifiable hand, the @hand attribute may record the hand responsible for the action.
When the reason for a gap in the encoding is damage of the document carrier (the paper on which the document is written, for example), the
damage element should be used instead of the
gap element. In the case of damage resulting from an identifiable cause, the @agent attribute signifies the causative agent. The @degree attribute signifies the degree of damage according to a convenient scale. A
damage tag with this attribute should only be used where the text may be read with some confidence; data supplied from other sources should be tagged as
supplied. The @extent attribute indicates approximately how much text is in the damaged area, in notes, measures, inches, or any appropriate unit, where this cannot be deduced from the contents of the tag. For example, the damage may span structural divisions in the text so that the tag must then be empty of content. In the case of damage (deliberate defacement, etc.) assignable to an identifiable hand, the @hand attribute signifies the hand responsible for the damage.
Sometimes the editor provides information not present in the source material. These conjectures or emendations are marked up in MEI using the
The following example demonstrates the use of the
supplied element in combination with
When the presumed loss of text arises from an identifiable cause, @agent signifies the causative agent. When the presumed loss of text arises from action (partial deletion, etc.) assignable to an identifiable hand, the @hand attribute signifies the hand responsible for the action. The @reason attribute indicates why the text has to be supplied, e.g. ‘overbinding’, ‘faded ink’, ‘lost folio’, ‘omitted in original’, etc. The @source attribute contains the source of the supplied text. The editor(s) responsible for supplied material may be recorded in the @resp attribute. The value of @resp must point to one or more identifiers declared in the document header. The @cert attribute signifies the degree of certainty ascribed to the supplied material.
11.4.2. Additions and Deletions
del elements may be used to record where material has been added or deleted in the source material.
The following example demonstrates the usage of
add to mark up a note being added to an existing chord:
The next example shows how
del may be used to capture the information that two measures have been cancelled. As seen in this example, the @rend attribute is used to specify the method of deletion.
Additional information for both elements may be specified using attributes. Whereas the @hand attribute marks responsibility for the textual change, the @resp attribute is used to refer to the editor who identified this textual change as such. The @cert attribute signifies the degree of certainty ascribed to the identification of the hand of the deletion or addition.
add element should not be used to mark editorial changes, such as supplying a note omitted by mistake from the source text or a passage present in another source. In these cases, either the
supplied tags should be used instead.
11.4.3. Substitutions, Restorations, and Handshifts
When several interventions to the musical text are to be regarded as a single action, they may be grouped using the
subst element. The most common combination is a replacement of portions of the musical text using both the
del element, as seen in the following example:
An intervention closely related to substitution is the restoration of a previously deleted section. For this purpose MEI offers the
restore element, which may contain a
del or other content directly.
The following example illustrates an instance where a lyric which was cancelled and later restored by overwriting it:
The @desc attribute gives a prose description of the means of restoration. The @cert attribute signifies the degree of certainty ascribed to the identification of the hand of the restoration. The @type attribute may be used to indicate the action cancelled by the restoration. The @resp attribute contains an ID reference to an element containing the name of the editor or transcriber responsible for identifying the hand of the restoration. The @hand attribute signifies the hand of the agent which made the restoration.
MEI offers a
handShift milestone element that can be used to mark a change of scribe or scribal style.
The @character attribute describes characteristics of the hand, particularly those related to the quality of the writing, e.g., ‘shaky’, ‘thick’, regular’. A description of the tint or type of ink, e.g., ‘brown’ or the writing medium, e.g., ‘pencil’, may be placed in the @medium attribute.
The new hand may be identified using the @new attribute, while the previous hand may be recorded in the @old attribute. The @resp attribute contains an ID reference to an element containing the name of the editor or transcriber responsible for identifying the change of hand. The @cert attribute signifies the degree of certainty ascribed to the identification of the new hand.
When using this element within a layer, it is important to ensure that all layers and staves are considered. Every
handShift affects only the content of its own layer and staff, even in the following measures. Therefore, there must be a separate
handShift for every
layer. This mechanism allows the description of shifts at timestamps that differ between each staff.