Standard Music Description Language (SMDL)

3 Definitions

The definitions in ISO/IEC 10744:1992 (HyTime) also apply to this document.

The terms for SMDL constructs are chosen with care, but some may be different from conventional music terminology, in the following ways:

Terms not defined here are defined when introduced in the body of the document.

3.1 active:

As applied to an event, causing an effect, such as the sounding of a pitch. (In simple terms, a note is active if it is audible.) The active portion of an event will often be shorter than its duration. (See articulation.)

3.2 anacrusis:

A partial measure that occurs before the first complete measure of a piece. Notes in the anacrusis are usually unstressed.

3.3 analytical domain:

The portion of an SMDL work which contains music theoretical analyses.

3.4 analysis:

A music theoretical analysis of the piece, such as a Shenkerian analysis. An examination of the piece as opposed to a rendition ornotation of the piece.

3.5 articulation:

The ratio of the time an event is active tothe total duration of the event.

3.6 bibliographic data:

Library identification information used to catalog and archive pieces of music (or any other works.)

3.7 cantus:

The SMDL representation of the logical domain.

The literal meaning of "cantus" is a song ormelody, especially the principal part. Its appropriateness here derives from "cantus firmus" -the thematic foundation of a historically important contrapuntal compositional process.

3.8 cent:

Hundredth of a semitone; a frequency ratio equal to the 1200th root of two.

3.9 chromatic:

Conventionally means "half-step-wise. " However , in SMDL, the definition of a half step is not restricted to the definition ordinarily used (i.e., 100 cents, or the smallest available interval in 12-tone equal temperament). In precise SMDL terms, "chromatic" means "gamut-step-wise. "

3.10 common practice music notation:

Common graphic music notation employing five-line horizontal staves f or pitch and notes whose duration is measured in virtual time, such as is used to notate classical Western music.

3.11 diatonic:

Conventionally means "scale-step-wise. " However , in SMDL the definition of a scale step is not restricted to the definition ordinarily used. In precise SMDL terms, "diatonic" means "name-step-wise. "

3.12 meter:

That property of music which inv olves cyclic stress patterns invirtual time. The notational concepts of "measure" and "time signature" are expressions of meter.

3.13 music event:

An event of the kind that is normally represented in a musical score; in common practice music notation, for example, a note or rest.

3.14 music time:

Time in the conventional musical sense , as measured in beats, quarternotes, etc; also known as "virtual time. "

In the logical domain of SMDL, music time is measured invir tual time units (VTUs), which are independent of music formatting considerations. For example, an event whose duration is one-quarterof a four-beat stress pattern could be format-ted in several w ays, e.g., a quarternote in 4/4 time or an eighth note in 2/4 time.

3.15 microtuning unit:

The smallest representable pitch difference. (This may often be one cent, but it can be finer or coarser if needed.)

3.16 NIFF:

"Notation Interchange File Format. " This on going initiative by music publishers and music in-formation processing systems vendors is intended to result in a RIFF-based file format for interchange of music information among several existing music information processing systems.

As such, NIFF files will probably be regarded as both an exceptionally useful type of for matted output instance of an SMDL document, and as the source format of a plentiful supply of music information that can be converted in to SMDL for applications in which NIFF is not ideal. SMDL and NIFF are notreally in competition with one another. Forall application-neutral archival storage purposes, and formost research purposes, SMDL is the best choice. For delivery of music information quickly and in a maximally useful form in particular application contexts, NIFF is the best choice. (The difference between SMDL and NIFF is similar to the difference between the HyTime International Standard and the HTM hypertext delivery language used in the World Wide Web.)

3.17 normalization:

The application of a set of rules during the transcription of a piece into SMDL, so as to ensure that a particularone of the potentially unbounded number of possible valid representations of that piece will always result. (In other words, if several people encode the same piece using the same normalization algorithm, they will get identical results.)

3.18 performance:

A particular realization of a piece, either by mechanical means or by a musician.

3.19 pick-up:


3.20 piece:

A musical composition.

3.21 pitch:

The fundamental audio frequency of the sound generated by an event; the tone.

The psychoacoustic distinction between perceived pitch and measured frequency has been deliberately disregarded. This International Standard ignores this subtle distinction, which was first rev ealed by the Fletcher-Munsen experiments in the early twentieth century, just as musicians almost universally ignore it. As f aras SMDL is concerned, the fundamental fre-quency is the pitch, and viceversa.

3.22 requirement:

In this context, a normative part of this International Standard that is required and binding. (This is a special use of the term, which differs from the normal meaning of, e.g., a "user requirement. ")

3.23 reportable SMDL error (RSE):

An error in SMDL usage which must be reported by a conforming SMDL application.

3.24 resource:

A collection of information, often alist ortable, which is globally available, e.g., a pitch gamut definition, which may be referenced by every note in the piece.

3.25 RSE:

(See reportable SMDL error .)

3.26 score:

A written, printed, and/or display ed piece of music; an edition.

3.27 tuplet:

A group of notes whose durations are derived from the duration of a containing element, e.g., a quintuplet (five in the space of n, where n is some ordinary duple ortriple subdivision of some integer number of beats).

3.28 work:

The SMDL representation of a piece. A musical composition.

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