The Beggar’s Opera: A Site for Scholars, Performers, Teachers and Students offers the only freely-accessible edition of The Beggar’s Opera that integrates what scholars agree is the authoritative edition of the text (the first) and the music (the third), with some textual changes in the second and third that seem to have authorial warrant. Recent excellent editions by Lewis (1973), Fuller (1983), and Gladfelder (2013) do not include the music, reasoning that it can be found elsewhere, as in Barlow’s standard edition of the music only (1990). But this splits apart the essential twinning of text and music, word and song at the heart of the play. This edition also seeks to acknowledge recent challenges to authorial intent as the determining criterion by retaining inconsistencies in printing where there is no good reason to assume authorial intent, thereby acknowledging the contingencies of the publication process.
This site aims to help others who seek to make works combining music and text accessible in a digital format, including ways to combine the two standard languages for the scholarly presentation of text and music, the Text Encoding Initiative Extensive Markup Language (TEI-XML, or TEI for short) and the Music Encoding Initiative Extensive Markup Language (MEI-XML, or MEI for short). These languages, which provide a rich lexicon for noting the features of texts and music, from speakers to locations to musical tempi, have rarely been brought together in a single project.
Explore the text and score of The Beggar’s Opera at https://beggarsopera.net/text/.