Formats used within each Fronimo file

Apart from the musical part of each Fronimo file, I have given standard meaning and format to the various fields of Fronimo, so that these fields can be mined for data by a perl script I wrote,, that can read everything in from the Fronimo files and spit out a tab-separated file containing database-ready information.

I apologize if I seem pedantic in what follows, but computer programs are the most pedantic thing of all, requiring a very strict format.

1. The Title field gives the name of the piece.  I have tried, here, to adhere to the more or less "standard" names as given in H. M. Brown's book, Instrumental music printed before 1600.  These often differ from the names given in the particular source the piece comes from, if it is commonly called something else or spelled differently elsewhere.  Titles and subtitles have the first letter capitalized, but otherwise lower case except for proper nouns.

2. The Subtitle field, which can give information about the section of the piece, original composer, author of lyrics or poetry, etc.  When enclosed in parentheses, it is "Original composer".  So if, say, de Rippe does an intabulation of  "Douce memoire", the Title would be "Douce memoire", the composer would be "Albert de Rippe", and the subtitle would be "(Pierre Sandrin).  If there is a " - " string in the middle of this field, the part to the left of the " - " is the subtitle proper, and the part to the right is the original composer.

3. Footnote:  Footnotes in my Fronimo files have a particular format also.  There are three separate parts of a footnote, separated from each other by two or more spaces:

a. source
b. editor, encoder, arranger, etc.
c. comment
The "source" part of the footnote includes library data, manuscript or book title, date, and page or folio number[s], in that order.  Library or anthologist field is separated from the MS or book title by a comma and a space. If missing, this field is the same as "composer". Date is four digits surrounded by parentheses, preceded by a space and followed by a comma. Page reference is what follows the date, up to the end of the "source" field, is followed by a period and 2 spaces, and is of form [f.p].  [a-z]<digits>[v][a-u].  If pages are contiguous, the page reference shows where the piece starts. If the pages are not contiguous, this field is in form  ff. or pp., followed by a comma-separated array of page references. 
The "editor" part is parsed to provide data about who encoded, who edited, and who arranged, realized, transposed, or transcribed the piece.
The "comment part" is not mined but simply included as a comment.
4. Key: the musical part of Fronimo allows the assignment of a key, which will pick up as well.
5. Section annotations (Edit/Sections/Section Annotations)

This consists of a text field of arbitrary size.  If a line contains text (at least three characters) followed by a colon,  the text on the right side of the colon is the value of  the field given by what comes before the colon. only looks at the first three characters of the text before the colon, case insensitive.  Any of the data collected from Title, Subtitle, Composer, Key, and Footnote fields is pre-empted by the fields in the Section Annotation field.


For a printed work, this would be the publisher or anthologist, e.g., Attaingnant or Bésard. For an unpublished MS, it would be the library containing the work, e.g. British Library.

volume: This is the designation of the work itself, e.g. Mus MS 1512, MS Dd.2.11, "Intabolature di liuto, v.1." To save space, for multi-volume works, I use v.1, v.2, etc, instead of "Libro primo" or some such.  If there is no page designation, the title ends with a ".".  Otherwise, it ends with a , and a space.

page: This is the page or folio number where the current piece starts.  This begins with p. or f., followed by the page designation, such as 15, 17v, a3, c5v and ending with a ".".  If there is more than one work on a page, they are designated with the page number, followed by a, b, c, etc., e.g., 15b or a3vc. If the pages are not in order and continguous, this field begins with ff. or pp. and is a comma-separated list of page designations, such as 16c, 15vd.  In manuscripts, it is fairly common for a work to be on a page and the bottom of the preceding or following page, and, rarely, on some other arbitrary page. 

key:  For pre-baroque stuff, this is somewhat arbitrary, but I have tried to identify a tonal center, at least, for each file.

type: a comma-separated list of tags, such as "lute song, madrigal, lament, duet"

difficulty:  0-5, or beginner, easy|simple, medium, challenging, hard|difficult, very hard|virtuoso|killer  I have not been able to learn or even play most of the pieces in this collection, and what I think is hard others may not see that way, so this is somewhat of a guess.




a comma-separated list of all voices or instruments played in the piece.  Where a lute in vieux ton or Renaissance tuning instrument is specified, only the number of courses is given.  Hence, for a 6-course renaissance lute or vihuela, the designation is "6-course".  The possibilities here are: 5-course, 6-course, 7-course, 8-course, 9-course, and 10-course.  If the lute is to be tuned to a different key,  I have used a designation of, for instance, "6-course A lute" for a lute in A, "8-course F lute" for a lute in F, etc.  "7-course D lute" means a bass lute in D with seven courses; "6-course D descant" means a treble lute in D. "C lute" always designates a treble lute in C.  "E lute" always designates a bass lute in E.    For lutes in baroque tuning, the designation is, for instance, "11-course baroque".  "Archlute" means an archlute in G.  "Theorbo" means a theorbo in A.  If a theorbo in G is meant, the designation would be "G theorbo".

Apart from lutes, the designations "bass", "tenor", "alto", "soprano" indicate vocal parts.  Generally speaking, a part that goes above two D's above middle C is designated as soprano.  Alto starts from there and goes down, perhaps, to middle C or the A below.  Tenor goes down to, perhaps, the C in the middle of Bass clef and up to mid-treble clef, while bass goes to the bottom of the bass clef and up to, maybe, D above middle C.  These are very arbitrary and approximate designations.    Many lute songs can be sung at alto or soprano pitch but may also be sung by a male voice an octave lower.  So a soprano part may be sung by a tenor and an alto part by a bass, etc.

Other designations are also somewhat arbitrary.  A part designated as violin may often be played by a flute, a treble viol, etc., though sometimes these are hardwired.  A bass part may be arbitrarily designated as for bass viol, but it could be for cello, and vice versa.  Where there are two or more of the same instrument or voice, I have numbered them as, e.g., violin 1, violin 2. or soprano 2, soprano 1.  These numbers will be found  next to the corresponding staffs.  One idiosyncrasy of my notation is that, because the lute part is often found on the bottom staff and the focus of this website is lute, I have designated the instruments also in bottom to top order, e.g.: "6-course, bass viol, tenor, soprano, violin 2, violin 1".

part: a comma-separated list of instruments or voices contained in the current Fronimo file. So a piece may have an ensemble of 7-course, bass viol, soprano and the current part may be "7-course, soprano" or "bass viol, soprano", etc.  For solo lute pieces, this field is missing and can be assumed as equal to "ensemble".  Where the value of this is "score", it is also equivalent to the "ensemble" list.

piece: This usually defaults to the Title field of Fronimo, but may be inserted here in those cases where the Fronimo file does not have a title field.

section: a part of a many-part piece.  If there is no section designation, you can assume that the file contains the entire piece.

other fields, such as arranger: intabulator:, encoder:, contributer:, publisher: , facsimile:, source:, , etc., mostly are not used unless these data cannot be extracted from other Fronimo fields, especially the footnote field.

Finally, anything included at the end of this field, after a line starting with three hyphens ("---") is counted as a remark.

If all these data are filled in, as appropriate, then all data needed for the database can be mined from the Fronimo files.

Other Data

The data so collected is contained in a file with the date of creation in format YYMMDD, e.g. 110507.tsv, which is made into an Excel spreadsheet  of format YYMMDD.xls.

Another data file is compdata.tsv, containing a list of composers by first_name, last_name; last_name, first_name; and nationality.  As more composers are added, this list expands.

Finally, there is a list of  "standard" music types in types.tsv.

All these files are in the main directory.

Style conventions

Almost all of my editions, regardless of instrumentation, date, etc., are in the same style.  If you submit pieces, it will save me time if you can use these conventions.

Page size: letter; margins: 10mm at top and bottom and 20 at the sides.
If I need more space, I can reduce the top and bottom margins to as little as 6, but I try to use as wide top and bottom margins as I can.

All text fonts are Times New Roman, regular.
Rhythm flags are barred in a way that readily shows the rhythm.
Notation font: Ouverture, 12 pt
Tab font: Ricercare, 12 pt, regular.
Title 24pt bold -- smaller as needed to fit it in, centered
Subtitle: 16pt bold
Lyrics 12pt
Bar No. 8pt
Staff name: 14pt
Notes font: 8 pt
Page number font: 12 pt, centered. Page No. string #
Footnotes to left, first page only.
Gap between free text and footnotes 5mm
Layout (varies with size of the work and trying to be aesthetic,
    but I aim for:
        Gap between systems: 1.24 minimum to 3.0 maximum
        0 systems per page
        100% note spacing or as close to it as possible.
        Gap between title and staff (11 - 30mm)
        Other boxes under page and layout unchecked.
Measure attributes
        Note references under the note in question (position -190 to -230, as needed), all changed notes bracketed and original notes documented.
        Standard modern double bar and end of piece notations (saves space)
        Standard meter designations.
Midi options
        If there are more than one instrument part in the file, I use "pan position" to try to separate the parts spatially.  I also try to use different-sounding
        instruments for the different parts, e.g. cello or viola for the viol parts. I have found that "oboe" is the clearest for voice parts.
Section options
        I try to use a different file for each section, e.g., of a suite.
        French tablature letters on spaces single right-handed flag = crotchet.
        Flag style second from the top.
        Notation style: modern.
        Note spacing: packed, 400. I may tweak this a very little bit to make pieces fit well on a page. # of bars per system = 0.
        Staves: right justify bars, right justify the last bar. First line indenting = 0, unless I want staff labels.
        Bar numbers: offset = 0, unless the first baris a pickup bar, in which case -1.
        Bar numbering base = 5; first bar to be marked = 0; enclose number in a box.
        Alternative letters: "c" only.