E-LAUTE: Electronic Linked Annotated Unified Tablature Edition - The Lute in the German-Speaking Area 1450-1550

We are creating an open-access comprehensive and interactive edition of the lute tablatures (special notations for lutes) of the German-speaking area between 1450 and 1550. The corpus (2,000 pages) has not yet been investigated as a whole and is barely accessible to scholars and professional musicians as well as to the broad public, has not been deciphered and has therefore been evaluated only selectively. The reasons for this being the notation (‘German lute tablature’), which is little used today, the sites of the manuscripts scattered throughout Central Europe, and the fact that consistent adequate research methods have not yet been worked up.

The main aim is to create a novel form of music edition: an ‘open knowledge platform’ in which musicology, music practice, music informatics and literary studies intertwine and transform the ‘classic’ edition into a space of interdisciplinary and discipline-specific work. In order to create a comprehensive, complete modern scholarly edition, we synchronise high technology informatics in the fields of encoding, linking, recognition (OMR) and automatic transcription with manual music transcription and musical performance practice. We consider recordings of lute music a conceptual component of the edition. All components will be enriched with music-historical and performance-practical information and interlinked. The edition will be permanently hosted by the Austrian National Library and integrated into RISM Catalogue of Musical Sources. The edition we bring into being is dynamic: We are developing an annotation tool for posting and discussing comments, observations and interpretations that enables our users to co-edit.

As scholars, we are also working on five pilot studies on our platform that cover some current gaps in the research and practice of music before 1600: Variance and Retextualisation in the Music and Text of the Love Song (I), On the Origin of German Lute Tablature (II), Tablature Notation as Reflective Images of 16th-Century Culture (III), Dialogues About Music (‘interactive annotations’) (IV) and Hybrid Editions (V). As part of our project, the first hybrid edition in the Denkmäler der Tonkunst in Österreich series will be produced.

The E-LAUTE project brings together international and interdisciplinary researchers to achieve desiderata in the evaluation of this cultural heritage. It is funded by international programm WEAVE in cooperation of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF, Lead Agency, I 6019-G), the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF).