Neumed & Ekphonetic Universal Manuscript Encoding Standard

Neumed and Ekphonetic Universal Manuscript Encoding Standard
A lossless data representation for digital transcription of Western medieval and Byzantine chant sources

The NEUMES Project. Copyright 2005. Graphic design by Louis W. G. Barton. Graphic design by Louis W. G. Barton. Copyright 2005.

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Phase Two Initiative
"Developing the infrastructure for a distributed e-library of medieval music transcriptions in standardised format."

Funding Agency
The Eduserv Foundation

Project Co-ordinator
Prof. Peter G. Jeavons
Professor of Computer Science, University of Oxford;
Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford

Software Engineer
Prof. Louis W. G. Barton
St Anne's College, University of Oxford

Domain Expert
Prof. John A. Caldwell
Emeritus Professor of Music, University of Oxford;
Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford

Advisory Board
Prof. Dino Buzzetti
Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia,
Università di Bologna

Prof. Jim Davies
Director, Software Engineering Centre, University of Oxford
Dr Annalisa Doneda
Facoltà di Musicologia,
Università di Pavia

Prof. James N. Grier
Faculty of Music,
University of Western Ontario

Rev. Dr Constantine J. Terzopoulos
Monastery of Holy Trinity,
St Nektarios, Aegina (Greece)

Technical Team
Dr Jacqueline Elemans
Dr Debra Lacoste
Koon Shan Barry Ng

Adjunct Technical Help
Dr Maria Alexandru
Hans Bickel
Samuel H. Byland
Dr David Halperin
Dr Jeni Tennison
Mark Watson

The thousands of medieval manuscripts containing musical notation are among the monuments of Western culture. Their study, over many generations, has allowed scholars to retrace the foundations and the development of Western music and have contributed to many scholarly disciplines.

These documents are best studied comparatively, and much work has been done in this area. But comparison is limited by the varieties and styles of musical notation which, although they have basic conceptual elements in common, vary enormously in detail, and as to what information is transmitted.

The detailed comparative study that digital transcription will allow, will permit highly important insights into the nature and development of medieval music which are not possible at present.

Many of the comparative operations that have become increasing possible and increasing important with computer-aided methods, are hampered by the intractability of neumes with respect to modern musical notation.

Clearly, our methods of comparison and description remain woefully inadequate, and we still lack the tools for comparison and description that we might wish in order to be 'scientific'.
– Thomas Forrest Kelly

"NEUMES" is an acronym for Neumed & Ekphonetic Universal Manuscript Encoding Standard.

The purpose of the Project is to design and build a software infrastructure for digital transcription and description of medieval chant manuscripts. The goal is a uniform means by which the content of manuscripts can be viewed, searched, and analyzed by computer.

The Phase One initiative has realized important progress toward an effective data representation for neumed chant, such that: (a) melodic patterns can be compared across all types of Western and Eastern neume notation; (b) a diplomatic facsimile of a source can be derived from the data; (c) hyperlinks tie transcriptions to images, database indexes, or other online content; and (d) large sets of online transcriptions will be searchable with computational efficiency.

Our work has focused on resolution of basic technical problems and 'boundary conditions' of early types of notation. Results include the NEUMES taxonomy and the NeumesXML Schema.

Phase Two will continue to expand and refine the data representation, improve our software for data-entry and visualization, and work on melodic pattern matching.
– Louis W. G. Barton

  Eduserv Foundation   Supported by Eduserv. Phase Two of The NEUMES Project is funded by a Research Grant awarded to the University of Oxford by the Eduserv Foundation ["Developing the infrastructure for a distributed e-library of medieval music transcriptions in standardised format"; March 2005 - August 2007 (extended to February 2008); Prof. Peter G. Jeavons, Project Co-Ordinator].  
The Andrew W. Mellon Phase One of The NEUMES Project was funded by a Scholarly Communications Grant awarded to Harvard University by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation ["Digital Encoding for Medieval Chant Transcription; Phase One Project"; October 2001 - March 2003; Prof. Thomas Forrest Kelly, Principal Investigator].

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Copyright © 2005-2007, The University of Oxford.
Copyright © 2003-2005, Louis W. G. Barton.
Copyright © 2002-2003, 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.

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