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Palaeography and Musical Edition

Coordinator: João Pedro d’Alvarenga


This thematic line involves all CESEM research groups dealing with source studies, systems of music notation and the editing of music and other historical or theoretical texts. As most of the research carried on in CESEM is based on written documents, musical or literary, this ensures consistency on their assessment and treatment.

Although it constitutes an informal network within CESEM, this thematic line has a supporting structure: the LAPEM–Music Palaeography and Editing Lab. Depending on the ongoing research projects, LAPEM groups a variable number of researchers with particular expertise in Palaeography and Diplomatic, Music Palaeography (of both monophonic and polyphonic notational systems, vocal and/or instrumental) and contemporary music notational systems, Codicology, Liturgy, Music Philology and Analysis, Critical Editing and related fields, relying not only on CESEM integrated members but also on external collaborators and consultants whenever deemed advisable.

The objectives of the Music Palaeography and Editing thematic line can be briefly outlined as follows:

‐Promote uniform and updated criteria in source description and indexing, providing proper terminology based on unambiguous concepts, and compatibility with international standards. This is especially relevant for the Portuguese Early Music Database.

‐Provide methodological assistance in preparing and presenting various kinds of editions (diplomatic, comparative, critical, or practical‐performing editions).

‐Assist researchers on specific issues related to philological analysis as, for instance the dating of sources or their place within the source tradition for a given text, musical or literary.

‐Develop innovative methodologies and tools for source and musical and/or literary text analysis, transcription and editing.

‐Promote the study of particularly problematic types of musical notation, such as early semi‐mensural notations, twentieth‐century, post‐War notations and contemporary notations.

‐Regularly offer tuition and training in its fields of expertise. This is particularly important for students and young researchers wishing to pursue work in fields requiring skills in philology and related areas like palaeography and editing, given that these subjects are no longer part of the undergraduate programmes in Musicology.