About the Project


The current project is focused on encoding musical incipits (initial melodic line of a composition or each movement) that can be used as a thematic index for locating compositions by women, people of color, and underrepresented composers. We are currently focusing on compositions available in the Lilly Music Library collection at Tufts University.

The incipits are transcribed and reviewed by student contributors (listed below) under the direction of music librarian, Anna Kijas (Head, Lilly Music Library). In addition to making works by underrepresented composers in our collection more visible and discoverable, the students are developing expertise in transcription and editing methods, as well as expanding their knowledge of a diverse music repertoire.

Student Contributors at Tufts University

  • Ismenia Ginebra (Spring 2020-current), undergraduate
  • Chelsea Hong (Spring 2020), undergraduate
  • Simon K. Perry (Spring 2021), undergraduate
  • Delilah Righter (Spring 2020-current), undergraduate
  • Victoria K. Rose (Spring 2021-current), undergraduate
  • Joanna Strogatz (Spring 2021-current), undergraduate
  • Sebastian Tringale (Spring 2020-current), undergraduate
  • Hailing Wang (Spring 2020), undergraduate
  • Phillip G. Wright (Spring 2021-current), graduate


The initial project began with a goal of transcribing and encoding a selection of musical works from the Music Theory Examples by Women (MTEW) project, which features excerpts and complete musical compositions by women composers, including women of color. It is used by music theory, history, and performance faculty, and students, as well as secondary music teachers. MTEW has a diverse corpus of music by women from which we can draw, and the data we extract and encode will be made available via their project for greater visibility and reuse.

The list of compositions and composers that we worked with is drawn from the MTEW project and can be viewed in this spreadsheet. The extracted data was checked against the score listed in the spreadsheet and can be found as a PDF on the MTEW site. We do not store the score PDFs in this repository.


Data was extracted from music scores (PDF) using optical music recognition (OMR) tools, edited with notation software, and transformed into symbolic music notation (encoded data) in MusicXML and MEI XML formats. An MEI template and files were created according to the MEI guidelines. The music data was organized into three buckets: Extracted Data, Corrected Data, Encoded Data. The data can be accessed in the repository.

Student Contributors at Boston College

  • Gina Chun (2018-2019), undergraduate
  • Emma Grimm (2018-2019), undergraduate


Ben Parsell and Molly Murdock of the Music Theory Examples by Women project were kind enough to share the music score PDFs during the initial project.