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Brandeis University (Waltham, MA 02453-2700)
Karen Desmond (Project Director: June 2018 to present)
Measuring Polyphony: An Online Music Editor for Late Medieval Polyphony

The development of a prototype of an online music editor to help scholars and students analyze medieval music manuscripts. The project would also convene a workshop for medieval studies scholars, musicologists, and technical specialists to evaluate the prototype.

The development of an online music editor will allow a variety of modern readers (students and experts, musicologists, music theorists, those interested in the history of music notation, counterpoint, medieval palaeography and/or manuscript studies) to access and contribute transcriptions of music directly linked to digital images of the medieval manuscripts, and to learn about the original notation. A two-day workshop will bring together the leading experts in music encoding and medieval musicology to evaluate the prototype editor and to devise plans for its further development and rollout. This tool will offer new possibilities for the analysis and interpretation of late medieval music. In a broader humanities context, the project investigates how modeling the meanings of notational signs can lead to new understandings of the interaction between the sign and the signified, and of the relationship between notational style and changes in musical style across time and place.

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Project fields:
Medieval Studies; Music History and Criticism

Digital Humanities Advancement Grants

Digital Humanities

$46,799 (approved)
$42,479 (awarded)

Grant period:
3/1/2019 – 12/31/2020