8. Lyrics and Performance Directions Edit this section

Attention

This Chapter of the MEI Guidelines is based on the older MEI v3 release. It may contradict the current state of the MEI specifications as documented in the Elements, Attribute Classes, Model Classes, Data Types and Macro Groups sections. The Community is currently working to update these Guidelines. Of course, help is greatly appreciated. In case you would like to contribute, please reach out to us.

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8.1. Basic Text Features Edit this section

This section lists elements declared in the shared module that pertain to the encoding of prose.

8.1.1. Paragraphs Edit this section

A paragraph is a structural unit of a larger text. Usually, it is typographically distinct; that is, it usually begins on a new line and the first letter of the content is often indented, enlarged, or both. This element has a similar meaning as the corresponding elements in Encoded Archival Description (EAD), Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), and HTML.

p
(paragraph) – One or more text phrases that form a logical prose passage.

In MEI, a p is used in many different situations, including transcriptional use within a titlePage or descriptive purposes as in a changeDesc.

8.1.2. Text Rendition Edit this section

Sometimes, it is desirable to capture the typographical qualities of a word or phrase without assigning it a special meaning. For this purpose, MEI offers the rend element, similar to TEI’s hi element. Using CSS-like values, its @rend attribute can be used to specify many typographic features, such as font style, font variants, and relative font size and weight. In addition, text decoration, direction, and enclosing ‘boxes’ may be captured. While @rend is used to record relative font size and weight, absolute values for these qualities (measured in printer’s points) should be specified using the @fontsize and @fontweight attributes. In addition to commonly found typographical qualities, MEI provides the @altrend attribute for the capture of additional, user-defined rendition information.

(render) – A formatting element indicating special visual rendering, e.g., bold or italicized, of a text word or phrase.
Captures the appearance of the element's contents using MEI-defined descriptors.
Used to extend the values of the rend attribute.
Holds the name of a font.
Indicates the size of a font expressed in printers' points, i.e., 1/72nd of an inch, relative terms, e.g., "small", "larger", etc., or percentage values relative to "normal" size, e.g., "125%".
Records the style of a font, i.e, italic, oblique, or normal.
Used to indicate bold type.
Records horizontal alignment.
Records vertical alignment.

8.1.3. Transcription of Titlepages Edit this section

A specialized element is furnished for the capture of titlepage information.

Contains a transcription of the title page of a text.

The titlePage element, modelled after a similar element in Encoded Archival Description (EAD), may occur within the textual matter preceding or following the musical content of the encoding. Since a diplomatic transcription of the titlepage is often necessary to accurately identify musical material contained within a source, titlePage may also be used within the metadata header as a child of the physDesc element.

8.1.4. Names, Dates, Numbers, Abbreviations, and Addresses Edit this section

8.1.4.1. Names and Dates Edit this section

The name and date elements may be used to mark up portions of a text that function as names or dates.

Proper noun or noun phrase.
A string identifying a point in time or the time period between two such points.

The name element is intended for generic applications and may be used to identify any named entity, such as a person, item, application, place, etc. The namesDates module documented in Names and Dates offers the more specific elements persName, corpName and geogName.

8.1.4.2. Numbers Edit this section

The num element may be used to identify any numeric information in a text. The @unit may be used to specify the unit of measurement.

num
(number) – Numeric information in any form.
Indicates the unit of measurement.

This element is useful when it is necessary to provide specific information about numeric data, such as the unit of measurement or the kind of quantity described, or when it should be displayed in a special manner.

8.1.4.3. Addresses Edit this section

Addresses may be encoded using the address element, which itself may hold an arbitrary number of addrLine elements.

Contains a postal address, for example of a publisher, an organization, or an individual.
(address line) – Single line of a postal address.

It is important to note that the address element does not hold a reference to the person or organization whose address is specified. This must be provided in a separate element, as in the following example:

<p>
   <corpName>Universität Paderborn</corpName>
   <address>
      <addrLine>Warburger Straße 100</addrLine>
      <addrLine>33098 Paderborn</addrLine>
      <addrLine>Germany</addrLine>
   </address>
</p>

8.1.5. Annotations Edit this section

Annotations are one of the most versatile features of MEI. They are provided using the annot element.

(annotation) – Provides a statement explaining the text or indicating the basis for an assertion.

This element may be contained by a wide range of other elements and may contain a large number of other elements. While this offers great flexibility in addressing the wide variety of textual features that might occur within an annotation, it may lead to markup that cannot be effectively processed mechanistically.

In all cases, annot provides a comment upon a feature of the encoding, but never contains textual transcription. Depending on its context, an annotation will deal with either its parent element, or, more usually, with the element(s) specified in its @plist attribute. This attribute uses URI references to link to one or more other elements using their @xml:id attribute values, as in the following example:

<note xml:id="shared.someInterestingNote"></note>
<!-- elsewhere in the document: -->
<annot plist="#shared.someInterestingNote">
   <!-- additional information about this note -->
</annot>

8.1.6. Bibliographic Citations and References Edit this section

The following element is used in the encoding of bibliographic citations and references:

(bibliographic reference) – Provides a loosely-structured bibliographic citation in which the sub-components may or may not be explicitly marked.

The bibl element may contain a mix of text and more specific elements, including the following:

(annotation) – Provides a statement explaining the text or indicating the basis for an assertion.
A person or organization who transcribes a musical composition, usually for a different medium from that of the original; in an arrangement the musical substance remains essentially unchanged.
The name of the creator of the intellectual content of a non-musical, literary work.
(scope of citation) – Defines the scope of a bibliographic reference, for example as a list of page numbers, or a named subdivision of a larger work.
The name of the creator of the intellectual content of a musical work.
Non-bibliographic details of the creation of an intellectual entity, in narrative form, such as the date, place, and circumstances of its composition. More detailed information may be captured within the history element.
A string identifying a point in time or the time period between two such points.
Person or agency, other than a publisher, from which access (including electronic access) to a bibliographic entity may be obtained.
(edition designation) – A word or text phrase that indicates a difference in either content or form between the item being described and a related item previously issued by the same publisher/distributor (e.g. 2nd edition, version 2.0, etc.), or simultaneously issued by either the same publisher/distributor or another publisher/distributor (e.g. large print edition, British edition, etc.).
The name of the individual(s), institution(s) or organization(s) acting in an editorial capacity.
Used to express size in terms other than physical dimensions, such as number of pages, records, bytes, physical components, etc.
Names of individuals, institutions, or organizations responsible for funding. Funders provide financial support for a project; they are distinct from sponsors, who provide intellectual support and authority.
Term or terms that designate a category characterizing a particular style, form, or content.
An alpha-numeric string that establishes the identity of the described material.
Information relating to the publication or distribution of a bibliographic item.
Person or organization who is a writer of the text of an opera, oratorio, etc.
Person or organization who is a writer of the text of a song.
(physical location) – Groups information about the current physical location of a bibliographic item, such as the repository in which it is located and its shelf mark(s), and its previous locations.
Name of the organization responsible for the publication of a bibliographic item.
(publication place) – Name of the place where a bibliographic item was published.
The name of the individual(s), institution(s) or organization(s) receiving correspondence.
(related item) – Contains or references another bibliographic item which is related to the present one.
Institution, agency, or individual which holds a bibliographic item.
(responsibility statement) – Transcription of text that names one or more individuals, groups, or in rare cases, mechanical processes, responsible for creation, realization, production, funding, or distribution of the intellectual or artistic content.
Contains information about the serial publication in which a bibliographic item has appeared.
Names of sponsoring individuals, organizations or institutions. Sponsors give their intellectual authority to a project; they are to be distinguished from funders, who provide the funding but do not necessarily take intellectual responsibility.
(text language) – Identifies the languages and writing systems within the work described by a bibliographic description, not the language of the description.
Title of a bibliographic entity.

These elements fall into the following categories:

  • identification of the bibliographic entity and those responsible for its intellectual content
  • publication and distribution data for the bibliographic entity
  • description of the physical characteristics of the item
  • annotation of the bibliographic citation and additional details regarding the item’s intellectual content

The elements title, edition, series, and identifier fall into the first category as do the elements arranger, author, composer, librettist, lyricist, funder, sponsor, and respStmt. The respStmt element is provided for marking responsibility roles that cannot be recorded using more specific elements. The biblScope element also carries information of an identifying nature.

The identifier for a given item may be an International Standard Book/Music Number, Library of Congress Control Number, a publisher’s or plate number, a personal identification number, an entry in a bibliography or catalog, etc.

To classify the title according to some convenient typology, the @type attribute may be used. Sample values include: main (main title), subordinate (subtitle, title of part), abbreviated (abbreviated form of title), alternative (alternate title by which the work is also known), translated (translated form of title), uniform (collective title). The @type attribute is provided for convenience in analysing titles and processing them according to their type; where such specialized processing is not necessary, there is no need for such analysis, and the entire title, including subtitles and any parallel titles, may be enclosed within a single title element. Title parts may be encoded in title sub-elements. The name of the list from which a controlled value is taken may be recorded using the @authority attribute.

Publication and distribution data may be captured using pubPlace, publisher, distributor, and date elements directly inside bibl when the citation is unstructured. However, these elements should be grouped within imprint whenever practical.

The physical characteristics of the cited item may be described using the extent element.

Annotation of the bibliographic citation and the provision of other pertinent details are addressed by several elements. Commentary on the bibliographic item or citation is accommodated by the annot and creation elements. The annot element is provided for generic comments, while creation is intended to hold information about the context of the creation of the cited item. Terms by which the bibliographic item can be classified may be placed in genre. For letters and other correspondence, recipient captures the name of the person or organization to whom the item was addressed. The natural language(s) of the item may be recorded in one or more textLang elements. Finally, a holding institution may be documented using the repository element directly within bibl, but physLoc should be used whenever possible as a grouping mechanism for location and shelfmark information. To identify sub-units of the holding institution, repository sub-elements may be used. The name of the list from which a controlled value for the agency name is taken may be recorded using the @authority attribute.

When supplied with a @target attribute, bibl may function as a hypertext reference to an external electronic resource. In addition, other related bibliographic items may be described or referenced using the relatedItem element.

<bibl>
   <genre>letter</genre>
   <author>Carl Nielsen</author>
   <recipient>Gustav Hetsch</recipient>
   <creation>
      <date isodate="1915-04-08">1915-04-08</date>
   </creation>
   <physLoc>
      <repository>
         <identifier auth.uri="http://www.rism.info/" auth="RISM">DK-Kk</identifier>
      </repository>
      <identifier>CNA IAc</identifier>
   </physLoc>
   <relatedItem rel="host">
      <bibl xml:id="shared.bibl_d1e380372">
         <title>CNB</title>
         <biblScope>V/210</biblScope>
      </bibl>
   </relatedItem>
</bibl>

Please consult Names, Dates, Numbers, Abbreviations, and Addresses and Names and Dates for more information about recording the names and dates frequently found in bibliographic citations.

8.1.7. Related Items Edit this section

In some situations it is necessary to provide references from one bibliographic item to another. For these situations, MEI offers the relatedItem element. A relatedItem may be used inside of bibl, and may either point to a different entity using its @target attribute, or may hold the related item as a child.

<bibl>
   <genre>letter</genre>
   <author>Carl Nielsen</author>
   <recipient>Gustav Hetsch</recipient>
   <creation>
      <date isodate="1915-04-08">1915-04-08</date>
   </creation>
   <physLoc>
      <repository>
         <identifier auth.uri="http://www.rism.info/" auth="RISM">DK-Kk</identifier>
      </repository>
      <identifier>CNA IAc</identifier>
   </physLoc>
   <relatedItem rel="host">
      <bibl xml:id="shared.bibl_d1e380372">
         <title>CNB</title>
         <biblScope>V/210</biblScope>
      </bibl>
   </relatedItem>
</bibl>

In this example, the nested relatedItem / bibl provides information about the ‘container’ where the outer bibl may be found. The kind of relation is expressed using the @rel attribute. It describes the relationship of the child bibl to the relatedItem’s parent bibl.

Describes the relationship between the entity identified by the relatedItem element and the resource described in the parent element, i.e., bibl, source or relatedItem.

In these relations, the subject is always the relatedItem, and the object is always the parent of the relatedItem. Thus, a value of @rel=”preceding” indicates that the resource described within the relatedItem (or referenced by its @target attribute) precedes the bibl containing the relatedItem. Following MODS, both values of “preceding” and “succeeding” indicate a temporal order.

It is important not to confuse relatedItem with the concepts of Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR); see RelatedItem vs. FRBR.

8.2. Vocal Text Edit this section

This chapter describes how to encode words and syllables in vocal notation. This text is typically written under a staff to indicate the text to be vocally performed. As such, this text should not be confused with other text on the score, for which see Basic Text Features and Text in MEI

These guidelines suggest two methods for encoding text in vocal notation: encoding syllables as Vocally Performed Text Encoded Within Notes and encoding performed text as Vocally Performed Text Encoded Separately after the notes (and other staff events) either within layer elements or within measure elements when available (for example in a Common Music Notation context). Each method may be more convenient depending on the source text and on the textual phenomena that the encoding intends to record.

Both methods eventually rely on the syl element, which is part of the ‘shared’ module and is therefore available in all MEI files. The following sections will begin by introducing the general use of syl and then show in detail the two different encoding methods.

8.2.1. Lyric Syllables Edit this section

By ‘lyric syllable’, these guidelines mean a word or portion of a word that is to be performed vocally. Each syllable is encoded with the syl element, with which it is also possible to specify the position of the syllable in a word, the type of connectors between syllables, alignment adjustments, and the formatting for each syllable. These are the key components:

syl
(syllable) – Individual lyric syllable.
Records the position of a syllable within a word.
Describes the symbols typically used to indicate breaks between syllables and their functions.
Records horizontal alignment.

The attribute @wordpos is used to specify the position of the marked-up lyric syllable in a word. It allows the following values:

i: Indicates that the current syllable’s position is initial; that is, at the beginning of a word;

m: Indicates that the current syllable is in the middle of a word;

t: Indicates that the syllable’s position is terminal; that is, at the end of a word.

When a syllable is at the beginning or in the middle of a word (in which case it will have the @wordpos attribute set to ‘i’ or ‘m’), it is recommended to specify the type of connector written between the current and the following syllable. This is expressed with the @con attribute, which takes the following values:

s: A space is used as a connector between syllables;

d: A dash is used as a connector between syllables;

u: An underscore sign (indicating prologation of the syllable) is used as a connector between syllables;

t: A tilde is used to indicate elision with the following syllable. This is typically rendered as a small curved line between the syllables.

Occasionally, a word or a final syllable needs to be extended across multiple notes. In this case an ‘extender’ is provided. An extender is a continuous line drawn at the text’s baseline from the end of the syllable associated with the first note until the last note to be sung with the syllable.

The use of syl described in this section is common to CMN and other notation systems, such as mensural notation. Other uses specific to certain types of notation and repertoires are addressed in other chapters. See for example Repertoire: Neume Notation.

8.2.2. Vocally Performed Text Encoded Within Notes Edit this section

Each lyric syllable can be encoded directly within an associated note, either by using the @syl attribute on note or the verse element.

Using the @syl attribute on notes is the simplest way of encoding vocally performed text and is recommended only for simple situations or for those encodings which do not focus on vocally performed text.

The following example from Handel’s Messiah (HWV 56) shows the use of @syl:

musical example
Handel, Messiah HWV 56, Halleluja
<measure>
   <staff>
      <layer>
         <note dots="1" dur="4" oct="5" pname="c" syl="Hal-"></note>
         <note dur="8" oct="4" pname="g" syl="le-"></note>
         <beam>
            <note dur="8" oct="4" pname="a" syl="lu-"></note>
            <note dur="8" oct="4" pname="g" syl="jah,"></note>
         </beam>
         <rest dur="4"></rest>
      </layer>
   </staff>
</measure>

When there are multiple lines of vocally performed text, or the encoder wishes to be more specific about connectors, etc., the use of verse and syl is recommended.

Division of a poem or song lyrics, sometimes having a fixed length, meter or rhyme scheme; a stanza.

The following example from Handel’s Messiah (HWV 56) shows the use of verse:

<measure>
   <staff>
      <layer>
         <note dots="1" dur="4" oct="5" pname="c">
            <verse n="1">
               <syl con="d" wordpos="i">Hal</syl>
            </verse>
         </note>
         <note dur="8" oct="4" pname="g">
            <verse n="1">
               <syl con="d" wordpos="m">le</syl>
            </verse>
         </note>
         <beam>
            <note dur="8" oct="4" pname="a">
               <verse n="1">
                  <syl con="d" wordpos="m">lu</syl>
               </verse>
            </note>
            <note dur="8" oct="4" pname="g">
               <verse n="1">
                  <syl wordpos="t">jah,</syl>
               </verse>
            </note>
         </beam>
         <rest dur="4"></rest>
      </layer>
   </staff>
</measure>

As it is common practice in written text, it is assumed that a space separates words. Many vocal texts, however, introduce elisions and connect two syllables into one unit. For example, the vocal text from Mozart’s Don Giovanni sung by Don Giovanni in Finale II, Ho fermo il core in petto introduces an elision between the word fermo and il and between core and in. An elision can be indicated by placing both syllables within the same note and setting the syl element’s @con attribute value to ‘t’:

<note>
   <verse>
      <syl con="t" wordpos="t">re</syl>
      <syl wordpos="i">in</syl>
   </verse>
</note>

When there is more than one line of text, more than one verse element can be used. The following example from a piano reduction of Wagner’s Rheingold has two lines of text, with an English translation on the second line. Note the use of the @xml:lang attribute to differentiate the two languages:

musical example
Example from Wagner's Rheingold with translated text.
<scoreDef>
   <staffGrp>
      <staffDef clef.line="4" clef.shape="F" key.sig="4s" lines="5" n="1"></staffDef>
   </staffGrp>
</scoreDef>
<section>
   <measure>
      <staff n="1">
         <layer n="1">
            <note dur="2" oct="3" pname="f" stem.dir="down">
               <verse n="1" xml:lang="ger">
                  <syl con="d" wordpos="i">Rei</syl>
               </verse>
               <verse n="2" xml:lang="eng">
                  <syl>thinks</syl>
               </verse>
            </note>
            <note dur="8" oct="3" pname="f" stem.dir="down">
               <verse n="1">
                  <syl wordpos="t">fes</syl>
               </verse>
               <verse n="2">
                  <syl>it</syl>
               </verse>
            </note>
            <note dur="8" oct="3" pname="f" stem.dir="down">
               <verse n="1">
                  <syl>zu</syl>
               </verse>
               <verse n="2">
                  <syl>were</syl>
               </verse>
            </note>
         </layer>
      </staff>
   </measure>
   <measure>
      <staff n="1">
         <layer>
            <note dur="4" oct="3" pname="b" stem.dir="down">
               <verse n="1">
                  <syl con="d" wordpos="i">wal</syl>
               </verse>
               <verse n="2">
                  <syl>wise</syl>
               </verse>
            </note>
            <note dur="4" oct="3" pname="d" stem.dir="down">
               <accid accid="n"></accid>
               <verse n="1">
                  <syl wordpos="t">ten,</syl>
               </verse>
               <verse n="2">
                  <syl>now</syl>
               </verse>
            </note>
            <rest dur="4" dur.ges="8p"></rest>
         </layer>
      </staff>
   </measure>
</section>

Optionally, it is possible to include an lb element within verse to explicitly encode line and line group endings. This is specifically meant to facilitate karaoke applications.

Finally, the @rhythm attribute can be used to specify a rhythm for the syllable that differs from that of the notes on the staff.

8.2.3. Vocally Performed Text Encoded Separately Edit this section

Vocally performed text may also be encoded separately from the notes with the lg element. These are the main components:

lg
(line group) – May be used for any section of text that is organized as a group of lines; however, it is most often used for a group of verse lines functioning as a formal unit, e.g. a stanza, refrain, verse paragraph, etc.
Signifies the staff on which a notated event occurs or to which a control event applies. Mandatory when applicable.
Identifies the layer to which a feature applies.

Since this element is separated from the encoding of the notes, it must be associated with a staff that will provide rhythm information when required for automated processing. The @staff attribute gives the associated staff and if there is more than one layer on that staff, the @layer attribute may be used to indicate the layer from which the rhythm should be taken. If there is any divergence between the rhythm of the vocally performed text and the notes, the @rhythm attribute on verse may be used to specify the text’s rhythm.

The following example from Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz illustrates this encoding method:

musical example
Weber, Der Freischütz
<section>
   <measure>
      <staff n="1">
         <layer n="1">
            <note dots="1" dur="4" oct="3" pname="a">
               <artic artic="acc"></artic>
            </note>
            <note dots="1" dur="4" oct="3" pname="a">
               <artic artic="acc"></artic>
            </note>
         </layer>
      </staff>
      <lyrics staff="1">
         <verse>
            <syl>Sturm</syl>
            <syl>und</syl>
         </verse>
      </lyrics>
   </measure>
   <measure>
      <staff n="1">
         <layer n="1">
            <note dots="1" dur="2" oct="3" pname="g" tie="i"></note>
         </layer>
      </staff>
      <lyrics staff="1">
         <verse>
            <syl>Nacht!</syl>
         </verse>
      </lyrics>
   </measure>
   <measure>
      <staff n="1">
         <layer n="1">
            <note dots="1" dur="2" oct="3" pname="g" tie="t"></note>
         </layer>
      </staff>
   </measure>
</section>

In this encoding style, a syl element with its @con attribute set to ‘t’ and the following syllable are presumed to be associated with a single note. In the following example, the first two syllables occur on the first note and the third syllable occurs on the second note.

<staff>
   <layer>
      <note dur="2" oct="3" pname="g"></note>
      <note dur="2" oct="3" pname="f"></note>
   </layer>
</staff>
<!-- later -->
<lyrics staff="1">
   <verse>
      <syl con="t" wordpos="t">re</syl>
      <syl wordpos="i">il</syl>
      <syl wordpos="i">pet</syl>
   </verse>
</lyrics>

8.3. Drama Edit this section

This section is supposed to explain stage directions and speeches in MEI drama.

8.4. Fingering Edit this section

This section is supposed to explain the encoding of fingering information with MEI.