Thesaurus Musicarum Germanicarum

The Thesaurus Musicarum Germanicarum project aims at studying German music theory from Conrad von Zabern (1474) to Athanasius Kircher (1650) considering the history, evolution and theorization of musical language. These sources constitute essential keys to an understanding of Western music. They provide special access to musical knowledge and reflect the growing influence of humanist thought that brought about major changes in Western music in the 17th century.

The electronic edition of writings on music started as soon as the 1990s through projects focusing on Latin, Italian, English, French and Spanish sources. Due to their theoretical, linguistic but also typographic complexity, writings from the German area have however been left aside of the process and have not yet been the object of systematic musicological exploitation via digital means.

TMG fills this gap thanks to an international and multidisciplinary collaboration, gathering musicologists, researchers in digital humanities, historians (of societies, philosophy and sciences), philologists and book specialists, with three goals : at hand, 2. making available the digital tools necessary to the study of the circulation of knowledge and  by means of a thesaurus.

1. Providing integral access to the sources. The status of German sources is partly ascribable to italic and gothic characters that OCR software is as of now unable to process. TMG inputs digital versions of texts, musical examples and tables after post-processing. Critical digital editions in XML format (TEI.P5) are realized on this basis according to the standards of scientific edition (with a reliability of 99,95%), allowing a syncretization in several layers of informations from the original (variants in typography,  punctuation or abbreviation) with the critical modern edition

2. Making available digital tools. Inspired by the methodology of the TRéMir project, TMG gathers different textual tokens in indexes that give access to editorial notes with cross-references to external databases (Europeana, Grove, TGN, etc.). The Index generalis lists all the occurrences of names of persons, works and places and provides informations related to geographical, chronological, cultural and intellectual references. The Exempla index contains all the quotes and paraphrases, provides further information and lays, together with the aforementioned table, the foundations for a study of the circulation of knowledge, the auctoritates and the intertextual networks.

3. Contributing to the systematic study of the contents. A thesaurus gathers all musical terms encountered in the sources and proposes, using statistical and textometrical tools (TXM), to comprehend the content based on semantic networks. Touchstone of the project, this index enables one to tackle the concepts on a synchronic and diachronic level and constitutes both the starting point and the goal of a thematic exploitation (1. systems and scales, 2. monodies, 3. polyphony and counterpoint, 4. instrumentation, performance and interpretation) and a transverse exploitation (1. edition and lexicography, 2. intertextuality, 3. pedagogy, 4. philology) of the corpus.

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