MEI Score Editor MEISE

Native editor for the encoding format of the Music Encoding Initiative (MEI)

Developed at the Musicology Seminar Detmold/Paderborn (University of Paderborn)


The MEI Score Editor (MEISE) is an Eclipse-based client software for viewing and editing MEI-encoded music documents in CMN (Common Music Notation), facilitating proof reading as well as modifying and correcting MEI files. MEISE was designed to satisfy special requirements of research in musicology, currently unsupported by existing music notation software tools. MEISE should be used especially for working with MEI-data as a processing and editing tool, e.g. for creating variants, generating, completing and modifying MEI-files. As a key merit, MEISE gains of its homomorphic internal data structure to the MEI schema tree, allowing for native support for theoretically all MEI encoding principles. This allows for some unique features arising from the field of scholarly music edition, such as the encoding and visualization of variants of different musical sources in one digital MEI representation.

The main window of MEISE

For download, technical information and installation tips for the MEI Score Editor please go to the Editor's project page on sourceforge. Prerequisites for working with MEISE and MEI requires basic knowledge of musical notations and terms as well as a familiarity with XML-structures. Information about the Music Encoding Format MEI, a comprehensive MEI-Tutorial MEI1st and even the MEI Sample Collection can be found on the MEI's webpage. There is also an overview of MEI and other formats as well as detailed information about musical data and metadata in the DARIAH wiki in chapter 3.3 Musikwissenschaft (MEI) (in german) and furthermore in "Fachspezifische Empfehlungen für Daten und Metadaten" (also in german). A step by step introduction, tutorials and documentation on XML (Extensible Markup Language) are available e.g. on w3schools.

The following chapters should give an overview about ongoing processes, the current state of development, some aspects of history as well as examples of working with MEI-data in the editor. If there are any questions about the editor or the MEI format, feel free to contact the developer at the Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar DT/PB ( 

To the service

Here you can download the service (Version 1.1).

Development history of the service

After the need for an editor, which can render MEI code and especially several sources juxtaposed, was recognized, the development of MEISE starts. After two years a first version was published as a plugin for the TextGridLab. The DARIAH-DE project aussems the further development in 2011. A first standalone version was released in summer 2012.

The main challenges were the correct presentation of the notes and the implementation of native MEI support within the technical limitations of the Eclipse Rich Client Platform. The definition and design of a basic graphical user interface, which can also represent exceptional variants correctly, is another cahellenge. The result is a stable and running tool that is able to display MEI 2013 files using the common music symbols. A further milestone was reached at the end of 2014 and the extensive documentation of the MEI score editor was published.

With the start of the second funding phase of the DARIAH-DE project in March 2014, MEISE was further developed and integrated into the DARIAH service infrastructure. Future work will focus on the further development and improvement of the possibilities for research-related notation. 

Research questions

In addition to the correct representation of MEI codes, MEISE focused on the special needs arising from scientific or philological questions of musicology. The use of MEISE can facilitate this work in a variety of ways (also note workflows and use cases). There you will also find instructions and information about the tool as well as the MEI coding. Prior to the publication of MEISE, there was hardly any active developed tool for displaying MEI data. Compared to similar software, MEISE is the only one that offers the possibility to display and edit variants. The use of the MEI format and its use as an XML standard grew the need for a tool which can represent several sources at the same time. In addition, there was a need for an editor that can display both XML and notation. MEISE meets all these requirements and has become a central tool for working with MEI files.

Requirements and perspectives

In the second development phase of DARIAH-DE, the functionality and usability of MEISE will be expanded and improved. Based on projects described in workflows and use cases, new product requirements were generated, which will be incorporated into the future development of the MEI score editor. These developments are aimed at improving the user experience as well as a significant acceleration of the workflows, especially in comparison with a manual notation. Currently, such basic changes are limited by the technical capabilities of the TextGrid software. Projects that work with MEISE use the editor not only as a tool for displaying MEI files, but also for their own research questions, such as the correct representation of variants. This creates new product requirements, such as the availability of non-verbal annotations. These new requirements go beyond MEISE's current performance.

Together with general improvements, the integration of a new visualization concept will be the main focus of development during the second phase of DARIAH-DE. As a first step, MEISE shall be transferred to a web-based service. A modularized structure will facilitate the connection to existing services such as the Edirom Tools and other DH tools. The implementation of a new concept for the presentation of data as well as other research possibilities to contribute better to one of the core themes of the DARIAH project will be the second step: the techniques of scientific annotation and annotation processes. For this purpose, it will be necessary to continue the previous work on the MEI format and to promote the application of MEISE.

Possible uses

The following descriptions of usage possibilities and workflows should give an overview of the use of MEISE, as well as various research projects in the field of musicology. Nevertheless, a further development of the tool is necessary and problems in the application of MEISE are also documented. The following chapters describe the application of MEISE in the student Bargheer project and the application in the Sarti project as well as the application of MEISE to support the MEI Sample Collection. Furthermore, these examples are intended to demonstrate the handling and, in particular, the conversion of different notation schemes.


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