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    Studies in Text with Music

    edited June 2016 in Theory


    This is not a post about Nate Mitchell's query concerning dividing up Lewin's Morgengruss for discussion, but a separate issue that arises out of the publication of Morgengruss.

    In the Preface David Bard-Schwarz writes

    'One unusual feature of this essay is the embedding of graphic images into sentences, where they act as subjects and objects that integrate into the textual flow.'  (David Bard-Schwarz. Preface to David Lewin's Morgengruss: Text, Context, Commentaries. OUP 2015)

    Lewin's idea – not yet really recognized today let alone seriously addressed – quite possibly originated  with a frustration over the fractured nature of our traditional ways of communicating ideas about music. This is not the same as the problem of music notation, but the two are not unrelated.

    This idea of combining in-line examples with the usual (in music writing) off-set example possibly came from David's familiarity with published text in mathematics & hard sciences where one or the other is used depending on context as much as typsetting. He was likely experimenting with a typesetting technique (not available from music publishers) that came from a desire to 'speak' the music example into the sentence rather than only present an example and then talk to or talk at the example, which creates a distance between the analysis and its object. This also gets around the problem of talking about a single line of music, say one or two bars, by putting it dirctly into the text rather than getting the reader to turn back a page to Example 7b, mm36-37 in the right hand, then flipping back and forth between text & example.

    I recall visiting him to look through the material he was donating to LC. We were in his office & I was looking through a file cabinet when he walked across the room with a book in his hand &  asked me if I had ever seen it. As it happened, I had, but at the time it didn't occur to me why he seemed so enthusiastic about it. The book was Envisioning Information by Edward Tufte. The pages it opened to as he showed me were Tufte's examples of how to put tiny statistical graphs inline so they could be read as part of the text. It only dawned on me later that he wanted to put music samples inline. This was before I had seen any copy of the Morgengruss paper. I've wondered since then if part of the trouble he might have had getting it published was finding a publisher to do the inline examples which are essential to the flow of the paper. Showing me Tufte's book seemed like he might have looked on it as a vindication. I can't recall seeing any other text on music with this feature, and special kudos go to David Bard-Schwarz and Richard Cohn for insisting on it & Reiner Kra:mer for the hard work of setting it.

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    • 8 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
    • Steve, thanks for sharing that story about Lewin and Tufte. There is a significant precedent for the setting of music and graphics inline:  the books of Victor Zuckerkandl, published by Princeton U.P. starting with Sound and Symbol of 1956. The third of those books, Man the Musician, was published posthumously in 1973, a year before Lewin wrote the Morgengruss essay. Some of its pages are just a riot of inline staff examples, ranging from single notes to single chords to melodic pairs to snippets of melody. See especially the section of the classical development, from around page 255. 

      It would be interesting to learn about other antecedents to this practice.

      I wish now that we had thought to mention Zuckerkandl in the preface or introduction. In my correspondence with OUP I recommended Zuckerkandl as a model, and supplied them with some sample scanned pages. (By the way, the composing of the pages was overseen by OUP using their own professionals; Reiner Krämer's contribution was to prepare the individual graphs, working from Lewin's manuscript. I also don't want to leave the impression that we needed to insist; Oxford Universty Press was completely committed to doing this project in the right way.) 

      I do agree that there are certain kinds of analytic or theoretic writing where in-lining of  short single-staff examples could be used to good effect, and that authors and publishers might want to experiment with it. It would be especially good if there were an easy way to export short staff examples directly from Finale or Sibelius into an ongoing prose flow, using standard text software such as MS Word, but I'm not aware of any. 

      I do often use a durational symbol in place of an expression such as "sixteenth note," since this is just a font substitution. This is more efficient and also gets around the issue of deciding between British or American names. But I haven't yet solved the problem of how to distinguish augmentation dots from periods.  --Rick Cohn




    • @RichardCohn, I am at loss to imagine what you are looking for as an easy way to insert short examples (or any other image) in a text flow in MSWord. I cannot imagine that your problem is of producing the image itself, from Finale or Sibelius. I suppose then that your difficulty is in inserting the image inline. I'll continue in MSWord itself, it will be simpler:

      Inserting an image



    • Nancy Garniez

      Since the name Zuckerkandl entered the discussion I feel compelled to point out that his thoughtful consideration of issue of notation in relation to dynamic listening, led to my work, Tonal Refraction.  It has been called a reverse notation in that it visualizes what is effectively heard, rather than how the sounds were preconceived or how they are accounted for in standard notation.   A considerable departure from academic music theory, it is the result of years of listening without recourse to the printed score in order to hear as uninhibited musicians (mostly children and amateurs) hear.  www.tonalrefraction.com.  I welcome comments.


    • I just wanted to note that there are some more convenient tools available for editing in-line music and text simultaneously, for those who are willing to step off the "mainstream" MS Office/Finale path.  I know a number of music theorists make use of Lilypond, a text-based (and free, open-source) application for typesetting music. When coupled with LaTeX, a typesetting language commonly used for text in mathematics and the sciences, one can use Lilypond-book, a common that allows easy insertion and modification of musical examples within text.  For those who prefer graphical interfaces, the word processor LyX (also free) allows editing of LaTeX files in a GUI environment, along with a plug-in that allows direct editing of the Lilypond musical examples in-text.

      This is a direct analog to the in-text use of equations that Steve mentions as (maybe?) Lewin's model.  Many mathematicians and some hard science people I know use LaTeX because of this very flexibility in typesetting.

      I frequently use such tools when making music theory handouts, tests, etc.  It is indeed trivial to insert a musical snippet directly in-line once you know the syntax, and generally much faster than going through the hassle of creating a file in Finale, exporting a graphic, and then pasting in Word or whatever.  Actually, the real advantage comes with editing, since I can easily make in-text edits to the musical examples if I want to modify a new version of a worksheet or test or whatever.  The "learning curve" to do advanced typesetting in Lilypond is pretty high, but for including short uncomplicated musical snippets in-text on a single staff, it's quite straightforward.

      Alas, while this works well for handouts and exercises, it may not be a good solution for publication purposes, as most publishers in the humanities tend to like submissions in MS Word format.  Math journals and some presses that do technical scientific or math publications (e.g., MIT Press) are often more welcome to LaTeX files.

      Nicolas's point is important, though: unless the music font size is quite tiny, most in-line musical examples will require playing with the leading (i.e., line spacing) around the example.  This is generally accomplished better in actual publication or typesetting software, either something like LaTeX or a more mainstream publishing product like InDesign.  MS Word is rather inflexible in its options and doesn't tend to do automatic handling of these problems very well.  Alternatively, on a page with a number of in-line musical examples, one could simply increase the leading for all the lines on the page.  (E.g., if you make everything look like double or "1.5" line spacing or whatever and center the musical examples, they won't look as bad from a typographical design standpoint.  If you increased leading slightly on the two facing pages of a book, readers probably wouldn't even notice.)  Anyhow, unless you're self-publishing, it's not really your problem to make it look pretty: the publishers will reformat everything anyway.

    • To piggyback off of John's comment, the lilyglyphs LaTeX package (a quick example of which can be found here) allows one to use all of LilyPond's notational glyphs (and then some) in a Xe/LuaLaTeX document. It's saved me countless hours and quite a few headaches.

      I hope over time more music scholars will consider taking the plunge into LaTeX. There is a decent learning curve, but the benefits far, far outweigh the initial stumbling blocks. Most helpful for me has been the straight-out-of-the-box hyper-referencing feature that creates hyperlinks to examples, foot/endnotes, section headings, page numbers, etc., allowing readers/students to instantly navigate their way through any dense PDF material. (On a related note, I'm personally convinced the future of textbooks lies in LaTeX PDFs, or at least PDFs based off of LaTeX's capabilities.)

      And this is to say nothing about the free software movement, but of course that discussion would take us too far afield of the original (and very interesting!) question by Stephen.

    • I have to replace the image of my previous post in this thread. It is the same as before, but on another hosting website. Here it is:

      Example in Word




    • I think Rick has given the most likely answer as to what inspired Lewin's typesetting adventure - i.e., contact with Zuckerkandl's published work more than Lewin's familiarity with math literature. And it's certainly not surprising that Lewin remained fascinated with design & presentation of information visually -- it is after all a mode of perception.

      John & Sam: Thanks for more info on LilyPond! I've been married to GUI formats Sibelius/Finale for a long time & confess I just didn't get the 'why?' of LilyPond when I first heard of it - so I ignored it. But looking at their web site today, they've made a huge amount of progress toward their goal of sophisticated engraving. For one thing, it's not just LaTeX compatible, but, if I now finally get it, since you're writing code you can place music directly into HTML -- which means you can put it directly into a web site or blog without having to convert a Sib/Fin file into a 'picture' first. So I'm guesing you could place an inline music example directly into the text of a blog entry? (Bonus: It's free!)

    • I had a look at Zuckerkandl's Sound and Symbol, vol. I (in the 1973 printing, however) and, indeed, the inline musical examples are astonishing. Not only because they are inline, which may not have been that easy to achieve in the late '60s, but also because the music itself is quite cleanly engraved. The examples must have been made by etching or by dry transfer. Am I right supposing that Lewin's Morgengruß examples were handwritten?

      One reason why these examples were written inline is that they are short and mostly on one staff only. This is not very common in writings on music. One case in point, which probably influenced both Zuckerkandl and Lewin, is Schenker's writings. But Schenker's examples, including the shortest ones, are usually presented in separate paragraphs. This must have been for technical reasons, as the examples had to be etched. At a quick glance through his published writings, I found only one instance where he presented examples inline, namely in Beethoven's letter reproduced in Der Tonwille 7, p. 39 (see Drabkin's translation, Der Tonwille II, p. 69):


      Schenker copied the letter from the Kalischer edition, vol. 5, 1908, pp. 156-157, which also has the musical examples inline. This (and other similar examples, probably) shows that doing so was technically possible at an early date. That it wasn't commonly done must have been because it was all but easy.