Music Encoding and Early Chant at UVA

This summer I will be studying Latin under the 2017 Summer Language Institute program (SLI) at the University of Virginia. I have created an independent research project that pairs the UVA language institute with the UVA Music Encoding Initiative (MEI) and the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections.

The Music Encoding Initiative “is an effort to define a system for encoding musical documents in a machine-readable structure” and Perry Roland at UVA started a MEI community in the McIntire Music Department a few years ago.

I will be working with UVA Special Collections to digitize Habetis Dei Ministri, an Antiphonal music score from the early sixteenth century. The Antiphonal dates to 1509, and was published by Peter Paul Porrus of Turin, Italy. Once classes with the language institute have started, I will be collaborating within the offices of the MEI director Perry Roland, Special Collections with Samuel Pierceall and Lois Widmer, and Winston Barham in the music library to encode and study part of the digitized rare book.

The questions that I hope to answer with my research pertain to how music encoding is beneficial to my understanding of historical performance practice, how the University of Virginia is presently influential in the greater Music Encoding Initiative community and what work there is left to be done in the field of music encoding as it pertains to the survival of early church music in the modern age, specifically, the vocal performer and modern choral ensemble.