[b-hebrew] Cantillation Mark Database

Scott Reiss sagreiss at sbcglobal.net
Thu Dec 27 05:13:21 EST 2007


Thank you for the, um, encouragement.

I am a linguist and technical writer, not a
mathematician and programmer, which is why I have
approached this project ass-backwards, if I may use
that phrase on this list. I imagined the program I
wanted, then wrote the documentation as if it already
existed, including mock screen shots and all. I
understand that this may not be the most efficient way
of doing things, but I had little choice.

Cantillation marks may indeed be linguistic data, or
not. Literary texts often contain other kinds of
semiotic data, images, musical notes, etc., generally
referred to as metatext. I have retained the only two
comprehensive theories of cantillation marks that I
could find, rabbinical semantic and syntactic
analysis, and an alternative theory that considers
cantillation marks to be a system of musical notation.

Cantillizer will allow users to do traditional parsing
as well as set the whole Bible to music. It will
provide statistical and distributional analysis of all
cantillation marks, independent of the text, to find
out what patterns may exist and, if possible, the
meaning of the signs, as if they were an unknown code,
which in fact they are. The data can then be
reinterpreted in conjunction with the text.

I have been thinking about cantillation marks for
three years, so I am in this for the long haul. I have
already found one musician/programmer, so I am sure I
will find a CTO for the project.

Best Regards.


At 02:23 27-12-07, Yitzhak Sapir wrote:
On Dec 26, 2007 8:29 PM, Scott Reiss wrote:
> Friends,
> I conceived and designed the application, and have
> acted as project manager, writing the documentation
> at:
> http://www.sagreiss.org/Cantillzer.zip
> I have help from a good musician/programmer.
> What we need now is a chief technological officer to
> make strategic decisions (XML or SQL) and implement
> the system.

I don't think you are going to get very far this way,
that is my own personal opinion.  I suggest you try
making those decisions yourself, start writing the
code (not the docs, and if you need to, learn a little
programming), and then try to approach other
programmers after you have an initial working

> We have a pretty good method of extracting
> cantillation data from the linguistic data (letters
> and vowels) of the Bible.

The cantillation is also linguistic, and the
vocalic, consonantal, and cantillation data are
all intertwined for any particular Masoretic text.

Yitzhak Sapir

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