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 which would have been sung to the same music.

Our song editions combine Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) and Music Encoding Initiative (MEI) files for individual songs. TEI files include metadata about the source and all text (including textual underlay). 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, with editorial brackets, in stanzaic shape. Stanza indentation approximates 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. In MEI files, word segmentation and placement of lyrics correspond to modern singing practices for divisions in English. Ampersands in the original sources have been retained.

Notational Appearance:

Notational practices including beams, ties, first and second endings, and bars have been modernized. While original rhythmic values have been maintained, the visual appearances have been changed to conform with modern notational practices. In transcriptions of manuscript sources, irregular barring (double-length measures) has been retained to give a sense of the original metrical and phrase units.

Key Signatures and Accidentals:

Key signatures have been modernized and any redundant accidentals within measures have been removed. Sharps raising flat notes within flat key signatures in the original songbook have been changed to naturals. Cut time has been represented as 2/2. Archaic triple time (3) is modernized as 3/2 or 3/4.

Clefs and Figures:

Vocal clefs in C1 have been modernized to treble clef. Tenor (C4) clef has been kept for dialogues to facilitate range and positioning on the staff. Continuo is notated with a modernized F4 (bass) clef. Original figuring for the basso continuo—in terms of position and appearance—has been maintained.

Sources Used:

BL_53723. Henry Lawes, autograph songbook, British Library, Add. MS 53723.

L638_1. Henry Lawes, Ayres and Dialogues, For One, Two, and Three Voyces (London, 1653), Folger Shakespeare Library, L638, copy 1.

C709. William Cartwright, Comedies, Tragi-Comedies, with Other Poems (London, 1651), Folger Shakespeare Library, C709.

S5983. William Strode, The Floating Island: A Tragi-Comedy, Acted before his Majesty at Oxford (London, 1655), Early English Books Online, copy from the British Library.