Database Structure and Terms

The Differentiae Database is a research and/or indexing tool. To take full advantage of the database, the user should understand its construction, content types, fields, and taxonomies.

There are five main content types at work in the database, each with several fields. The content types and their fields are listed below:

Differentia: Contains information about an individual, unique differentia, independent of manuscript sources

  • Differentia ID (see About page)
  • Melodic transcription (entered using Volpiano font)
  • Saeculorum (first four syllables of the differentia)
  • Amen (last two syllables of the differentia)
  • Mode (octomodal, and tonus peregrinus)
  • Other mode (if manuscript does not use the octomodal system, e.g., Roman modes)
  • Syllabic contour (assignation of alphabetic codes for shape of differentia within each syllable to enable comparison with adiastematic notations: n for neutral, d for down, u for up)
  • Liquescents ("yes" or "no" for whether the differentia includes liquescents)
  • Transposition ("yes" or "no" for whether the differentia is transposed)
  • Contour code (code assigned to the pitch contour of the differentia, e.g., "7" for a-F-G-a-G-F)
  • Indexing notes (used by the indexer to note anything unusual or remarkable about the differentia)

Manuscript: Contains basic information about each manuscript, whose differentiae are included in the database.

  • Title (as assigned in the Cantus Manuscript Database)
  • Siglum (as assigned in the Cantus Manuscript Database)
  • Century (century of manuscript's origin)
  • Date (if specific date of origin is known)
  • Date range (if specific range is known)
  • Provenance (location of manuscript's origin; links to provenance content - see below)
  • Monastic order or cathedral (e.g., Benedictine, Dominican, Franciscan, etc.)
  • Sex (male or female, if the manuscript is for a monastic house)
  • Cantus link (link to complete description and index for the manuscript)
  • Notation (indicate type of notation of the manuscript; entered according to description in the Cantus Manuscript Database and Medieval Music Manuscripts Online Database)
  • Bibliography (secondary sources that discuss the manuscript's differentiae specifically, and image source)

Manuscript Differentia: Information on the differentiae in an individual manuscript, including any previous codes assigned, and linking manuscript and differentia content

  • Differentia ID (links to differentia content - see above)
  • Manuscript (links to manuscript content - see above)
  • Manuscript example (image of the differentia from a digital, microfilm, or print facsimile of the manuscript)
  • Old code (previous code assigned to the differentia by manuscript indexer)

Theorist Tonary: Information pertaining to tonaries from medieval theoretical sources, from Thesaurus Musicarum Latinarum (TML). [Forthcoming]

  • Title
  • Author (if known)
  • Century
  • Date (specific, if known)
  • Date range (if more specific than a century)
  • Provenance
  • Link to TML source
  • Bibliography (including citation for theoretical source included in TML)
  • Description (including any pertinent details about the source)

Theorist Differentia: Information on theorist's differentia, linking theorist source to standardized Differentia ID. [Forthcoming]

  • Theorist (links to theoretical source, see above)
  • Differentia ID (links to standardized differentia, see above)

The fields within these content types are also controlled by taxonomies and secondary content types that limit the possible values allowed in each field. Taxonomies are used for controlled fields where metadata about each list item is not required. Secondary content types are used for controlled fields that require additional information for each entry.

Provenance: Standardized list of locations from which the manuscripts originated

  • Name (of place, from city to country)
  • Location (latitude and longitude decimal coordinates for the location, derived from USGS Earth Explorer, or a comparably reliable source)

Pitch contour: Unique contours, regardless of mode, neumation, and syllabic grouping

  • Contour code (numeric value assigned to each unique contour)
  • Pitch contour (melodic transcription, in Volpiano font)
  • Overall direction (whether the last note is up, down, or the same as the first note)
  • Overall movement (melodic transcription in Volpiano showing first and last note of the contour)
  • Range (lowest to highest note of the contour, entered in Volpiano)

Taxonomies (listed alphabetically):

  • Amen
  • Century
  • Syllabic contour
  • Liquescents
  • Mode
  • Monastic orders or cathedral
  • Notation
  • Male/Female
  • Overall direction
  • Overall movement
  • Range
  • Saeculorum
  • Transposition

A complete entity relationship diagram is provided below to show the structure of the database and its interaction with Cantus Manuscript Database indices:

Entity relationship diagram