Dr. Jennifer Thomas
Associate Professor
Music History
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What the Database Can Do


The purpose for creating the database catalogue is to gain control of the motet repertory and its sources for the purpose of determining generalizations about the genre as a whole and of facilitating all aspects of motet research. The database will allow scholars the flexibility to investigate the motet and its many contexts from multiple vantage points simultaneously by enabling sorting on various fields separately and in combination. This kind of investigation is simply not possible on a large scale with printed books, which must limit the number of ways material can be presented. Besides simply sorting, users of the database can search for specific words or groups of words, for particular names, or for many items in combination. Scholars with specific questions will be able to isolate the portions of data that will best serve their needs.



            In spite of the advantages of the database format, there are still problems and shortcomings inherent in this catalogue. Reliance on secondary sources produces some unavoidable inconsistencies and discrepancies in the database. Sometimes older inventories do not agree with more modern ones. Where a modern inventory omits a work included in an earlier study, for example, I have merged the two inventories, reasoning that a source examined before the two world wars may have been more complete than the same source examined several decades later. The discrepancies, however, may simply be errors, which now become part of this database. In most cases, the inventories of the Illinois Musicological Archives have served as the final arbiters.

            The information in the database is also skewed by the interests of modern scholarship. Naturally, certain composers are of greater interest to scholars than others; scholars have diligently searched out and documented appearances of these composersí works in greater proportion than is representative of their place in the entire motet corpus. The most striking example is the attention paid to all sources containing music of Josquin for the production of the forthcoming New Josquin Edition. Since the inventories prepared for this edition have been reliably documented and conveniently collected, they are valuable resources, but they certainly raise the number of identified occurrences disproportionately for works by Josquin and for other composers whose music happened to appear in the same sources. Other composers whose works may be as numerous and as widely circulated may appear less frequently in the database because modern scholarship has not sought out sources containing their works or because unattributed works by them simply have not been identified.






Copyright © 2003 [University of Florida Associate Professor Jennifer Thomas]. All rights reserved.
Webpage design: Alison Grimes
Revised: May 10, 2008