Methodology

The project has had access to a number of manuscripts and has generated copies in a variety of forms, including 35mm colour archive film, microfilm, digital scan and photocopy. These are held by the project and secondary copies made which then go to volunteers for transcription into our chosen format for dissemination – abc code. There is a set project standard for coding which should work on both PC and Mac platforms.

The protocol that we use is defined here and you might find some useful troubleshooting information here if you are having problems.

Once coded, the files are checked by a second coder and can then be published in the manuscript  or published collections rooms.

While we obviously go to great pains to achieve accuracy in our transcriptions, there are inevitable problems which arise. These are mostly due to ambiguity in the hand written original. Sometimes there are what appear to be musical errors in the script and these have to be approached with great care. We rarely¬†‘correct’ a manuscript in the transcription because it cannot be assumed that what is written is not what was intended by the musician. There are instances of the time signature of a tune being different from what we know the time signature to have been from contemporary published versions of the tune. This points to the possibility of transcription by the musician from an oral source and thus possibly containing vital evidence of style etc. When we have spent time playing these tunes we have often found that by living with some of the inconsistencies we uncover more about the tune and the way that it was possibly played.