NEumed Unicode[tm] Manuscript ENcoding Standard


First Meeting of the Project Advisory Board
Department of Music, Harvard University
October 6 - 7, 2001



Dear Colleagues,

Thanks you for agreeing to participate in the first meeting of the NEUMES project. Louis Barton and I look forward to welcoming you to Harvard. We are grateful for your willingness to contribute your time and expertise to this project.

As you know, our chief task is to review the outlines of the project for which we anticipate support from the Mellon Foundation; to consider current and future timetables; to give some thought to collaborative efforts; and in particular to consider a taxonomy of Western medieval neumatic notation.

None of us, perhaps, is at all certain that such a taxonomy is possible, but this project allows us to give serious consideration to issues that have long been problematic. I hope that each of us will bring any examples that come to mind which may challenge any effort at classification.

I look forward to our discussions, from which I expect to learn much; and I look forward equally to the opportunity of more informal, but no less fruitful, interactions.

With best wishes,

Tom Kelly

List of Participants

  • Prof. Louis W. G. Barton
    Software Engineering Programme
    University of Oxford
  • Prof. John A. Caldwell
    Faculty of Music
    University of Oxford
  • Dr. Annalisa Doneda
    Scuola di Paleografia e Filologia Musicale
    University of Pavia, Italy
  • Prof. Ugo O. Gagliardi
    Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences (retired)
    Harvard University
    General Systems Group, Inc. (Salem, New Hampshire)
  • Prof. James Grier
    Faculty of Music
    University of Western Ontario
  • Prof. Thomas Forrest Kelly, meeting moderator
    Chair, Department of Music
    Harvard University
  • Dr. Brad Maiani
    University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

    Prof. Andreas Haug (Center for Medieval Studies, NTNU), Dr. Peter Jeavons (Oxford University Computing Laboratory) and Dr. Ruth Ripley (Department of Statistics, Oxford University) will not be attending due to conflicts.

  • Goals

    Project Abstract

    Phase One of the NEUMES project will develop the software infrastructure necessary for consistent, reusable digital transcription of medieval chant manuscripts. Phase One is scheduled to run from October 2001 through March 2003. It will design a unified data representation covering all neume notational 'families' (or, genres), so that future transcriptions can be compared and studied with little or no loss of information.

    Transcription files should be interoperable across computer platforms, be suited to a variety of uses, and have long-term viability. Expected uses include public access to manuscript content, programmable analysis or comparison of chants, easier creation of chant examples for books or articles, computer-based training of musicology students, and so on.

    Before the software infrastructure can be built, we need to catalogue all the neume features one might encounter during transcription, and we must construct an 'abstract' classification scheme that encompasses all these features and will enable any of the intended uses of the data. So that comparison of large amounts of data is feasible, the data representation will be made computationally efficient by use of unambiguous codes in the Private Use area of the Unicode™ Standard.

    Mandate of the Advisory Board

    During Phase One of the project, the Advisory Board will have three general functions:
    1. participate in all major project decisions;

    2. establish criteria for evaluating progress; and

    3. review progress made.
    Toward these ends, the Advisory Board will meet twice at Harvard (this meeting plus a second meeting in October 2002).

    As computer software emerges from the project, members shall test and critique the software using Louis Barton's Neume Notation Editor, the Oxford Chant Group's programs, or other means provided. Members of the Advisory Board shall assist in testing the NEUMES data representation and NeumeXML DTD by making sample transcriptions from a variety of neumed sources. Conclusions drawn from these evaluations will be included in the publication of Phase One results.

    After Phase One, the Advisory Board shall have on-going authority for mediation of changes to the NEUMES encoding standard.

    Purposes of this Meeting

    The key goals of this meeting are as follows:
    1. compile a thorough taxonomy of neume forms, including all notational families;

    2. correlate these forms across notational families in order to arrive at a catalogue of 'abstract' neume forms;

    3. resolve in the abstract taxonomy such difficulties as unheighted neumes, compound neume forms, and uncertainty in neume identification; and

    4. discuss problems and strategies for Phase One, discuss the management plan and the role of Advisory Board members, and draw up guidelines for progress review.
    It is unlikely we can actually complete any of the tasks during this meeting. We do hope, however, to make substantial progress and establish a dialog that can be continued via e-mail.

    Because our time together is very short, please familiarize yourself with the On-Line Resources listed later on this page. If each of us is 'up-to-speed' on the work that has already been done, our time together can be more productive.

    Meeting Schedule

    Friday, October 5

    Check-in at the Sheraton Commander Hotel (Barton and Doneda at Irving House).
    7:30 Dinner
    Harvard Faculty Club.
    Recessed from Quincy Street, across from east side of Harvard Yard,
    ph: (617) 495-5758. Tie and jacket suggested.

    Saturday, October 6

    Breakfast ad libitum
    9:15 Meeting
    Harvard Music Department, Classroom Three.
    Coffee, tea, and pastries available.
    1. Goals of Phase One of the project (Kelly).

    2. Encoding strategy and salient difficulties (Barton).

    3. Round-table discussion: taxonomy of actual and abstract neume forms.
    12:00 Lunch
    Catered in the Music Department.
    1:00 Meeting
    Harvard Music Department, Classroom Three.
    1. XML transport layer and compatibility with Digital Scriptorium DTD (Barton).

    2. Round-table discussion: supplemental XML tags needed for neumed transcriptions.

    3. Difficulties with unheighted and compound neumes (Barton).

    4. Round-table discussion: abstraction solutions for unheighted and compound neume forms.
    5:00 Break
    7:00 Dinner Reception
    Home of Tom Kelly, 31 Wendell Street, ph: (617) 441-0124.

    Sunday, October 7

    Breakfast ad libitum
    9:15 Meeting
    Harvard Music Department, Classroom Three.
    Coffee, tea, and pastries available.
    1. Management plan for Phase One and the role of Advisory Board members in decision-making. (Kelly)

    2. Round-table discussion: problems and strategies for Phase One; draw up guidelines for progress review.

    12:30 Lunch
    Restaurant Changsho, 1712 Massachusetts Avenue, ph: (617) 547-6565.
    6:30 Dinner
    Informal get-together for those staying over Sunday night,
    Bangkok House, 50 John F. Kennedy Street, ph: (617) 547-6666.

    Directions and Map

    Please Note: Due to the recent tragedy and heightened security at Logan airport, Tom and I have decided that I should not try to meet in-coming flights. Please obtain receits for your ground transport; submit original receipts (including air fare receipts) to Tom or Louis for reimbursement. Thanks for your understanding. -LB

  • Contact person at the Music Department
    Mary Gerbi
    On-duty Monday - Friday, 9:00 - 5:00.
    Ph: (Area Code 617) 495-2791.
  • Sheraton Commander Hotel
    16 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA
    Ph: (Area Code 617) 547-4800
  • Irving House
    24 Irving Street, Cambridge, MA
    Ph: (Area Code 617) 547-4600

  • Directions from Boston's Logan Airport to Harvard

    ¤ By taxi: 30-40 minutes (costs about $30).

    - OR -

    ¤ By subway (the "T"): 35-50 minutes (costs $1 for subway token).
    1. Take the free airport shuttle bus to the AIRPORT subway station (Blue Line).

    2. Take the Blue Line inbound four stops to GOVERNMENT CENTER.

    3. At Government Center station change to the Green Line. Go westbound one stop to PARK STREET.

    4. At Park Street station, change to the Red Line, outbound toward ALEWIFE. Travel outbound four stops to HARVARD SQUARE station. At Harvard station, the exit marked "Harvard Square" is closest to your destination.

    5. Proceed on-foot to your hotel (5-10 minute walk, see map).

  • Getting around Harvard

    Everything is within walking distance. Please see map [JPEG image, 177kB].

  • Directions from Harvard to the Airport

    ¤ By taxi: Cabs queue at the Sheraton Commander Hotel and at Harvard Square.
    Note: Taxi is best if you are short of time.

    - OR -

    ¤ By subway: Allow one hour to get to your terminal.
    1. At the Harvard Square "T" station, take any inbound train four stops to PARK STREET.

    2. At Park Street station, change to the Green Line. Go eastbound one stop to GOVERNMENT CENTER.

    3. At Government Center station, change to the Blue Line. Go outbound four stops to AIRPORT.

    4. At Airport station, take the free shuttle bus to your departure terminal (ask the driver).

  •     Copyright © 2002 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.
        Contains software or other intellectual property licensed from Louis W. G. Barton,
        Copyright © 1995-2001 by Louis W. G. Barton.