Text Encoding

Du Chemin Texts

Related Literary Collections

Next Steps

Queries and Forms

Bibliographical Resources:

Lachevre, Frederick.  Bibliographie des recueils collectifs de poèsies du XVIe siècle (du Jardin de plaisance, 1502, aux Recueils de Tousssaint du Bray, 1609).  Paris:  Leclerc, 1901.  Digitized U of Texas library

Frank Dobbins, “Recueils collectifs de musique et de poèsie,” in Poète et son oeuvre:  De la composition à la publication, ed. Jean-Eudes Girot, pp. 147-72.  Geneva:  Droz 2004.  WorldCatRecord

Literary Texts and Encodings:  Questions for Discussion

One of the goals of our project is to present the literary texts of the chansons in various ways.   David Fiala and his students have already made considerable progress in transcribing the texts of the chansons (see the companion web site here).  We nevertheless need to make some basic editorial decisions the sorts of scholarly questions we want to address in our study of these texts, and thus how we want to encode them using TEI and other tools.  Do we want …

  • notes on verse and rhyme structure (as an aid to analysis of the music)?;
  • English translations?;
  • information about differences among the texts as presented in each of the four voice parts?;
  • information about abbreviations, and notation of mute “e”?;
  • with information about the circulation of the poetry in other musical settings, and in literary sources, too (both for critical study of the texts and also for their reception history).  Thus notes on authorship, sources, and textual variants in sources beyond the Du Chemin books?
  • How will users want to consult these various encodings?

For notes and ideas see the following documents:

C_DuChemin_Newberry_10_4_2011   Notes from the Newberry Library conversations in Sept 2011.

DuChemin_TEI_Specs_2011.   Notes from the conversations in Tours, Oct 2011.

D_Marot_O_cruaulte_TEI_2 A series of images showing how one might encode a sample literary text from the Du Chemin set.  TEI and Facsimiles.

7 thoughts on “Text Encoding

  1. I think that notes on the prosody of poetic texts set into music would be welcome. They would help to identify some potential/probable metric models chosen by the musicians for their specific rhythmic value. Notes and comments on prosody should include remarks and analysis of metres, stanzas, rhymes and rhythm (accents, etc.).
    The user could compare three levels of reading the chansons at the same time: metric, semantic and musical.

  2. Some thoughts on text encoding:
    • I understand that repetitions of phrases, divisions of syllables, abbreviations etc. would be something offered in the modern editions, where variants among voice parts also might be highlighted or hyperlinked, as Susan Boynton suggested. The interesting thing would be to have a “best text” (plus the critical notes) and see what a composer or different composers decided to do with it. Encoding text repetition in Du Chemin might mislead a researcher about the text, since he/she would be exposed to only one particular reading. Differences between the music source and the literary source (if any) should be addressed. May be a link with a digital image showing the text in the literary source(s) or in other musical sources (something that could be added over time by users as well).

    • Non-musical sources of the texts: I think it is a long-awaited task for the study of chanson composition to make available the literary sources. One manageable way of doing it would be to start with the anthologies in which the poems from Du Chemin appear and then proceed to other sources.

    • And a question: would there be 2 different text resources, the Fiala FilemakerPro and the BVH? And where would the text encodings take place?

  3. We need to tackle Richard’s list of questions, but first I’m going to veer off in a different direction. Richard suggested in a recent email that this would be a good moment (in the planning of the literary part of the Du Chemin project) to be provocative. So I’m going to play devil’s advocate, just for a moment, because something has been nagging at me….

    I suspect that when we begin to work intensively with a selection of the poetic texts found in the Du Chemin prints, this component of the project will rapidly take on a life of its own. Our current plan is to deal with the literary texts within the context of the Du Chemin project, and to adopt encoding standards and a database structure that will be compatible with the CESR’s Bibliothèque virtuelle humaniste project. But I wonder, will this impose constraints that will later prove too limiting, as we go about studying the poetic texts? (This is not a rhetorical question – I really do not know the answer.)

    Eventually, many types of sources and study materials could potentially be incorporated in this part of the project. A few that come to mind: literary anthologies and volumes of collected works by individual poets, in print and in manuscript; editorial commentary on such matters as prosody and vocabulary; translations into English and other languages; comparison with other musical settings of the same texts and with intabulations (do they retain the “readings” offered by the chanson composers?); links to recordings; pictorial sources that widen the context for understanding the poetry.

    To push this rough line of thinking to the limit: Should the literary project perhaps be a companion site, one that “talks to” Du Chemin, but also has a separate identity, outside of Ricercar and the BVH? Should we even consider using an exhibit-type software, with a database that’s more image-driven? By using crowdsourcing, could we allow the literary part of the project to be more ambitious than what’s implied by the rubric of “text encoding”?

    (I promise, in my next post I’ll get back to the business of thinking about encoding…)

  4. To speak to Rich’s specific questions for discussion:

    I am glad to see notes on number of lines and syllables per line already included in the Filemaker Pro database. I didn’t see a heterometric example, but presume there are some as well. Searchable notes on rhyme schemes and poetic forms would be very useful to include.

    For English translations, I think Renaissance translations are more interesting than modern ones.

    I love the proposed links directly to Gallica (or other) digital facsimiles of poetic sources. As with so many other elements of this project, the sources speak for themselves. The possibility of accessing them directly means less detail to encode and post on the site itself.

    Like Carla, I can imagine the poetic sources element becoming its own site, a highly valuable one.

    As for sources themselves (and here I’m speaking generally, not with specific reference to the Du Chemin chansonniers), Annie Coeurdevey’s fantastic Marot bibliography is a wonderful resource. A number of the recueils from later in the century are also listed in the appendix to my 2001 RQ article.

    Wish I could be there with all of you. Hope to see some of you at RSA in Washington.

  5. Thank you to Kate for clarifying about the translations. I too was thinking of contemporaneous translations (when they exist), with perhaps a few of our own translations added, whenever it would be useful for the purpose of making a particular point in the editorial commentary.

  6. Ok, I’m trying out the forum as a place to continue/open up the email discussions between myself and Richard and Carla.

    I got the set up for the voice parts today and successfully used the apparatus, lemma, and reading tags to start our ‘pilot’ of what it would look like to encode the typographical variants between the voice parts. Now that I understand the interface better, I also got a better estimate of how long it will take me to really properly “clean up” the base transcription that we have and do the basic encoding. Even just on the basis of punctuation, true spelling variants, etc., there are a lot of variants between the voice parts, so making sure that the base transcription is correct adds a lot of time to my original estimate. I would say we should assume it’s more like 30 mn/song, and probably more than that if I’m going to actually encode all the variants.

    A question for the group: we had talked about just using a number instead of a descriptor for the type attribute, but TEI won’t let me put in a number value for this. What if we just put “chanson” (instead of “huitain, dizain, whatever)? This is actually what appears in portions of our TEI plan anyway.


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