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Tools for critical apparatus

From: Jiri Zurek (Prague)
Subject: Tools for critical apparatus
Date: Sat, 31 Oct 2009 04:40:49 -0700 (PDT)

lengthy discussion with David Kastrup  about the mixing pieces of text with
fragments of score inside a markuplines block (by the way, I am still
waiting for a solution at that thread - although we have got very close to
it) revealed to myself that sometimes it is good asking oneself the very
basic and preliminary questions. Such a questions would now be: what am I
trying to achieve by using Lilypond? This question must be answered before I
start looking for solutions in particular problems (like that with
non-breaking score inside markuplines). And since there always may be people
who went through the same path before myself, I decided to ask directly at
the forum, possibly getting useful directions for my own work.
Well, what am I trying to do with Lilypond? I would like to prepare a
critical edition of 16th century plainchant pieces from Czech region. It is
all mediaeval monody (1 voice only + lyrics). Putting it into simple words,
we may say: Typically, such a chant is conserved in many manuscripts, each
exhibiting distinct variants (scribal errors, alterations of all kind,
unreadable spots due to the degradation of paper ...). Therefore, I have to
gather all the extant variants, critically examine them, having from them
distilled the possibly pure form of the chant. This form of the chant will
be published in a book. This is extremely easy to achieve with Lilypond. But
it is not all. I must also present, why I chose to publish certain form of
the chant and not another one. So, the variants must be commented on and
presented in so called
critical apparatus . These are mainly omisions, additions or alterations of
the music or lyrics or both (music+lyrics) of the chant. It is usually
presented in a form of footnotes or endnotes to the individual words,
noteheads or so where the variant reading occurs (endnotes appear to be
preferable - they do not disturb the flow of the main body: after all, it is
only tiny minority of users who care about critical notes anyway, vast
majority skips them without looking at them not even once in life). And this
is now my question: what are the tools which I can use in Lilypond to form
such a critical apparatus? Did anyone tried to do similar project? Did
anyone found reasonable solution to provide the critical apparatus for
music? Yes, I read the Lilypond documentation for musicological papers and
suggestions for mixing text and music, but please understand that this is
profoundly different work. In a musicological paper, you have 90% of text,
and only 10% of musical examples to illustrate what you are saying. However,
here, I am aiming at producing 100% musical score (entire songbook, a hymnal
if you like) but with a lot of something what could be described as
explanatory notes (i.e. the critical apparatus) accompanying the music.
Here, I sould stop and wait for the reactions. But to reveal my thoughts
further, I present my own solution:
Since Lilypond has no footnotes/endnotes, I will gather all the critical
apparatus in separate markuplines block at the end of each piece (or at the
end of the entire book). It is the same as producing endnotes, just that I
have to watch for the correct numbering of variants myself. The location of
the variant in the main body will be done by means of markup (simulating
footnote numbering). In the critical apparatus itself, I thought it would be
very good idea to present the musical variants by means of putting short
score blocks (music fragments) into the markuplines. This will work for 85%
of variants, since their extent is only 1-3 notes, or one syllable, one word
of the lyrics or so. Inline presentation of these is without any problem (on
the other hand, it would be a problem presenting musical variants at
separate lines, since such a weird line of music would only contain a single
note or so - therefore the approach Lilypond+LaTeX does not seem ideal to
me). However, since the variant may at times span accross several (2-3)
lines of music, I needed that there may be multi-line score fragments inside
the markuplines. This functionality was kindly supplied by Neil Puttock in
the above mentioned thread. So, now I have all I need for my work, except
that the multi-line score inside markuplines does not behave perfectly - it
is described there at lenght, no need to reproduce the problem here.
However, David Kastrup in that discussion commented, that it is perhaps not
the best idea to want to do it that way. Since he is extremely experienced
in the book preparation for publishing, it is serious comment and objection.
And it inspired me to ask publicly, what would be the best way (please
except magic, as he already suggested) to prepare the musical edition and
the critical apparatus for publication? 
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