Mainz, 26./27. April 2018


Digitalität in der Renaissancemusikforschung - Digital Renaissance Musicology

Leitung: Prof. Dr. Klaus Pietschmann, JGU Mainz, in Verbindung mit Dr. Laurent Pugin, RISM CH, Bern



Zum Thema

Die diesjährige TroJa-Tagung „Digital Renaissance Musicology“ thematisiert zentrale Bereiche der Renaissancemusikforschung im Zeitalter der Digital Humanities: die Erfassung und Untersuchung größerer Gattungs- oder Quellengruppen mit Hilfe digitaler Methoden und insbesondere deren möglichen Beitrag zum Verständnis künstlerischer Produktionsprozesse im improvisatorischen wie im kompositorischen Bereich. Dabei liegt der Schwerpunkt im Sinne von „Big data“ auf der Erfassung ganzer Werkcorpora und ihrer analytischen Auswertung, aber auch der Quellenerschließung im Bereich des frühen Musikdrucks und nicht zuletzt der digitalen Edition.




Donnerstag, 26. April

Hörsaal der Abteilung Musikwissenschaft


18.00 Uhr Begrüßung und Einführung

Klaus Pietschmann (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)


Moderation: Peter Niedermüller (JGU Mainz)


18.15 Uhr Eröffnungsvortrag

Advancing Music Scholarship in a Digital Age:  A View from the Renaissance

Richard Freedman (Haverford College, Pennsylvania)




Freitag, 27. April

Fakultätssaal (Philosophicum)


Moderation: Nicole Schwindt (Musikhochschule Trossingen)


9.15 Uhr

Why Should Musicologists Do Digital Humanities?

Julie Cumming (McGill University, Montréal)


10.00 Uhr Kaffeepause


10.30 Uhr

Searching the Notes – All of Them: The Josquin Research Project

Jesse Rodin (Stanford University)


11.15 Uhr

The Catalogue of Early German Printed Music ( Experiences and Perspectives of Building a Multi-Faceted Database as a Research Tool

Andrea Lindmayr-Brandl (Universität Salzburg)



12.00 Uhr Mittagspause



Moderation: Jürgen Heidrich (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster)


14.00 Uhr

Ricercar’s Projects in Digital Humanities

Camilla Cavicchi (Centre d'études supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours)


14.45 Uhr

The Marenzio Project / Aruspix

Laurent Pugin (Répertoire international de sources musicales, Bern)


15.30 Uhr Kaffeepause


16.00 Uhr

The Palestrina work catalogue and the idea of a Renaissance music database

Peter Ackermann (Hochschule für Musik, Frankfurt a. M.)




Why should musicologists do digital humanities?

Julie E. Cumming (McGill University, Montréal)


There are at least three reasons musicologists should do digital humanities: to do a better job at the things we already do; to do new kinds of research; and to learn to think in new ways. An example of the first is a better critical edition on the web, in which variant readings and images of the original sources are a click away. The second two reasons are perhaps even more important. I will discuss examples of these from my experience in the digital humanities. 


New kinds of research. Corpus studies and machine learning allow us to ask new questions and answer them with great precision.  Did Palestrina use parallel fifths? Yes! Can we tell the difference between Palestrina and Victoria?  Yes, but only with machine learning – and it can teach us which features distinguish them. How does counterpoint change over the Renaissance? The distribution of contrapuntal patterns changes, and types of dissonance become more limited. 


Thinking in new ways. In order to communicate a research question to a computer, you have to be very clear and rigourous about what you are looking for, and you often have to reformulate your question. I wanted to quantify repetition as a style feature in different kinds of music. I realized that there are several different kinds of quantification: the length of the repetition; the number of times something is are repeated; and the number of different things that are repeated. Even though we talk about repetition all the time in music research, I had never worked this out before.


Thinking in new ways points us toward new kinds of research; it also allows us to find new answers to old questions.




Searching the Notes – All of Them: The Josquin Research Project

Jesse Rodin (Stanford University)


To understand a musical corpus one must attend to its details. But musical details are notoriously hard to control: without months or even years of close study, how can one know if a given melodic gesture is rare or commonplace, a given contrapuntal progression mysterious or mundane? Drawing on the resources of the Josquin Research Project (, this paper uses a series of case studies to show how digital resources can facilitate finely tuned musical search and analysis of a sort that is otherwise all but impossible—and how research of this kind can profitably change our engagement with musical corpora.




The Catalogue of Early German Printed Music (
Experiences and perspectives of building a multi-faceted database as a research tool

Andrea Lindmayr-Brandl (Salzburg University)


In my paper I will present the project “Music printing in German-speaking Lands", focusing particularly on the creation of the bibliographic database vdm. This ongoing project, which is funded by the Austrian Research Council, records all music published north of the Alps from the advent of printing (c.1470) until the middle of the sixteenth century. At the centre of our research interests stands the technical challenges of printing notes together with staff lines as well as repertoire development. Thus, the database includes a broad array of sources containing printed notation. In addition to books with sacred and secular polyphony, it encompasses theory books with musical examples, broad­sheets with music, liturgical books, instrumental tablatures, hymnals, humanist dramas with odes and pedagogical books with examples. This broad perspective provides a deep insight into the musical world of the period under investigation. Yet, the wide range of material was also one of the challenges in creating the database which currently lists 1,179 editions and almost 8,000 copies.

First, I will discuss the problems we encountered when recording printed objects in a database. Since an edition is not a physical entity but an ideal copy – at least in these early times –, we established a second dimension that documents all extant exemplars of the edition. Within this structure, the complex relationship between earlier and later editions of the same print as well as copies bound together with copies of other editions are represented.

A very detailed search mask, allowing for a multi-faceted analysis of the recorded data, has already brought several new insights into the world of early music printing. However, one of the central research questions, which concerns the dissemination of prints in time and space, cannot be addressed with this kind of data inquiry. For these purposes we have developed a mapping tool that is directly related to our database and enables us to visualize and thus understand developments within larger amounts of data, filtered by certain criteria of research interest and tracked in time.

Visualisation also stands at the centre of the last issue. I will discuss ideas about how the presentation of the individual editions within the database vdm can be improved. Being aware that an image of the title page of a book succinctly conveys an idea of the object, we intend to add images to the information provided in words, and present both side by side. A page with music notation would illustrate the detailed technical data that are already recorded in the database. However, realizing this plan wouldn't be a question of technique but one of copyright and cost.




Ricercar’s Projects in Digital Humanities

Camilla Cavicchi (Centre d'études supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours)


This paper aims to present Ricercar’s actions in the field of digital musicology. After a long experience in producing of tools for the musicological research in Renaissance studies – such as online editions, data bases of repertoires and biographies–, Ricercar’s team is also working on projects related to our environment and the cultural heritage. The purpose of the latter group of projects is to spread out the musicological research, to promote the musical heritage and to create new tools and methodologies. This paper will present more specifically two projects, the Gesualdo online and the Cubiculum musicae, in view of the future developments.




The Marenzio Project / Aruspix

Laurent Pugin (Répertoire international de sources musicales, Bern)


In this paper I will discuss how the creation of critical editions of Renaissance music is continuously changing, both conceptually and technically, with ongoing digital innovations. The Aruspix project, a software application suite for working with early music prints, and the Marenzio Online Digital Edition (MODE), will be used for illustrating the discussion. Underlying these two projects is the Music Encoding Initiative (MEI), a collaborative effort for enriching and standardizing the representation of musical text in the digital domain. I will take a look at Renaissance music notation idiosyncratic aspects in this context and at the new possibilities and new challenges arising.




The Palestrina work catalogue and the idea of a Renaissance music database

Peter Ackermann (Hochschule für Musik, Frankfurt a. M.)


This project of an online work catalogue has the goal to gather all known sources for every extant work by Palestrina, to catalogue and describe them, and to settle numerous remaining questions of authenticity. A new point of departure is creating a digital score (based on LilyPond) for all the sources (before ca. 1620) of each individual work which diplomatically reproduces the mensural notation of the source and arranges the parts, score-like, underneath each other. The different sources of a work can be automatically compared and the textual and musical deviations are displayed accordingly. In addition, there are various, especially musical search functions (e.g. polyphonic full text search) which can be combined without restrictions.

In the context of this project, the idea of a database has arisen in which digitized, i.e. the data of encoded musical works (possibly based on MEI) from current and future projects could be collected, to be available for further research.

Prof. Dr. Klaus Pietschmann
Institut für Kunstgeschichte und Musikwissenschaft – Abteilung Musikwissenschaft Johannes Gutenberg-Universität
Jakob-Welder-Weg 18
55128 Mainz