Editorial Statement

In early modern sources, songs commonly appear with textual underlay, that is, with the words beneath the musical notes to which they were sung. Many songs include subsequent stanzas printed below the musical notation, indented in the stanzaic shape of written poetry. These subsequent stanzas would have been sung to the same music as the underlaid text.

Our song editions combine Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) and Music Encoding Initiative (MEI) files for individual songs. TEI files include all text and metadata about the source. MEI files include music and textual underlay. TEI files reference corresponding MEI files where the music and textual underlay appear in the source.

In our viewer, songs appear with musical notation and textual underlay followed by the entire song text. That is, the initial stanza or stanzas in textual underlay are repeated in stanzaic shape, with editorial brackets to indicate that the repetition does not occur in the source. In these initial stanzas, indentation approximates that of subsequent stanzas in the source. In cases where the source includes only textual underlay (and therefore no stanzaic shape), indentation is an editorial choice based upon period conventions.

We define variants as differences between sources that are limited (in text) to phoneme or punctuation and (in music) to pitch, rhythmic values, key signature, time signature, fermatas, formal elements such as first and second endings or repeat signs, barring, and dal segno. We do not view alternate spellings as textual variants. Musical variants are determined by individual part.

Our transcription practices are as follows:


We regularize f, i, j, s, u, v, and w characters. Capitals subsequent to ornamental initials are changed to lowercase. Abbreviations display in their expanded versions and are encoded in TEI files. Ampersands in the original sources have been retained. In MEI files, word segmentation and placement of lyrics correspond to modern singing practices for divisions in English, and text has been underlaid editorially.

Notational Appearance:

Early Modern Songscapes aims to appeal to a broad range of scholars, practitioners, and pedagogues from a variety of disciplines. In that spirit, transcriptions of sources are modernized standardized for readability among non-specialists, accompanied by images of primary sources. Notational practices including slurs, beams, ties, first and second endings, brackets, dal segno indications, repeat signs, rest forms, first and second endings, stem directions, and bar lines, have been modernized and standardized. Double-length measures in the songbook have been indicated with dashed bar lines. Likewise, slurs absent from the primary sources are indicated with dashed lines.  Final breves (double whole notes) have been modernized with dashed bar lines at the cadence. In transcriptions of the manuscript sources, however, irregular barring (double-length measures) has been retained to give a sense of the original metrical and phrase units and to serve as variant examples.

Key Signatures and Accidentals:

Key signatures have been modernized and any redundant accidentals within measures have been removed. Sharps and flats signifying naturals have been notated as such. Accidentals rendered superfluous by a modern key signature have been eliminated.


Cut C and C meters are modernized as 4/4. Archaic triple time (3) is modernized as 3/2, 6/4, or 3/4 depending on the original barring.

Clefs and Basso Continuo:

Vocal clefs in C1 have been modernized to treble clef with pitches transposed. Tenor (C4) clef has been modernized to octave treble clef. Continuo is notated with a modernized F4 (bass) clef. Basso continuo figures are modernized and notated above the staff; placement corresponds to the indicated harmonic change.