[originally posted May 26, 1997]

A Musical Markup Problem

A text markup language leaves structural markup of other media with problems. Here is a simple example: a 16-measure chorale from Bach's St. Matthew Passion. Structurally, this chorale is simple: four voices; two halves; repeated phrases. A markup language could make this clear and simple, identifying voices (no HTML equivalent), groupings and phrases ("paragraphs"), and make good use of internal anchors in the score and Midi files. This is a very simple rendering of a markup at the very first level of analysis: two halves, with voices in any combination.

To illustrate how I might see this structured, I've used frames, tables, and embedded Midi. It suffers from portability problems, and I'm asking that you use a frames- and embed-compatible browser for this example ... just to see what I'm trying to demonstrate. Since I threw this together this morning just to provide an example for c.i.w.a.h. folks, the graphics aren't precisely the same size, and HxW attributes are missing. Likewise, there are many conceptual flaws, but as you can see, there is no easy way to mark up this non-text document in H(*)ML -- and I believe there should be.

Click here to enter this frameset. I don't think any links are broken, but please forgive any mistakes. Thanks for your indulgence on the frames and other nasties.

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