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27.7.2018 | Leipzig IAML Leipzig 2018


Interlinking Musicological Repositories


Anna Neovesky & Frederic von Vlahovits | @digicademy | Github digicademy | CC-BY 4.0 Digital Academy, Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz


  1. The idea behind IncipitSearch
  2. Incipits in musicology
  3. The IncipitSearch web application
  4. Integrated data
  5. API and reintegration
  6. Outlook and Conclusion


The idea behind IncipitSearch

The idea behind IncipitSearch

1. Institutional impetus

The idea behind IncipitSearch

2. Generic approach

The idea behind IncipitSearch

3. Why?


Incipits in musicology

What is an incipit?

The beginning or characteristic sequence of a music piece

“It should contain at least 3 bars or 10 non-repeated notes.”
Plaine & Easie Code Documentation, IAML

Plaine & Easie Code

P&E Example

“La donna è mobile” in IncipitSearch


%G-2$bB@3/8 8AAA/6.''C3'B4G/8GGG/6.B3A4F/


The webapplication IncipitSearch

Functionality of IncipitSearch

Architecture and components


Integrated data

Preliminary considerations

  • What kind of music repositories can be integrated?
  • What kind of annotations are used?
  • Which content is openly available?
  • Which overall (metadata) standard to use for IncipitSearch?

Music Annotation

Standards and formats for encoding of incipits

General standards

  • marcXML
  • RDF

Plaine & Easie as main standard:
⇒ Rich information, frequently in use, different ways to embed

Different types of repositories

Digital repositories:

  • Library catalogues
  • Specific collections
  • Digital editions

Italian National Library

Scans or analogue:

  • digitized music pieces
  • analogue only catalogues

Breitkopf: Catalogo delle Sinfonie 1762

IncipitSearch metadata format

RDF metadata format using

  • simple data format to structure data on websites
  • vocabulary for semantic information
  • musicComposition with own extension "MusicIncipit"

Integration of non-digital content

Standalone RDF metadata format (TURTLE)

Breitkopf Catalogo delle Sinfonie, 1762. Full markup.

Integration in existing markup



API and reintegration

API documentation:
JSON output when searching the incipit "CGCEG".

Reintegration in other repository

  • search interface in own repository
  • communicates with ElasticSearch server of IncipitSearch via JSON API
  • display of results in own repository
  • IncipitSearch offers search server and searching functionalities


Outlook and Conclusion

Future directions


Growing platform

Perspectives for (Digital) Musicology?

Try and participate!

Integrate your repository in IncipitSearch? Use incipit search on your site? Get in touch!