(January 2008)

Traités français sur la musique (TFM) is an evolving full-text database of writings in the French language on music. It is designed to extend the Thesaurus Musicarum Latinarum (TML) and to continue the endeavor of capturing Western European texts on music theory and aesthetics in electronic form. The TFM focuses on the major treatises written in French but also incorporates other texts involving music, allowing them to be downloaded, browsed, and searched. The database will eventually comprise all relevant manuscript and printed materials from the Middle Ages through the nineteenthth century. The development of the TFM is being undertaken at Indiana University, where it is affiliated with the Center for the History of Music Theory and Literature, which provides technical support, web server space for the database, and a search engine. The TFM was initiated and is directed by Peter Slemon. The members of its international Advisory Board are Professor Albert Cohen (Stanford University), Professor Mary Cyr (University of Guelph), Dr. Don Fader, and Professor Samuel Rosenberg (Indiana University).

The TFM database comprises both text and graphics files for most treatises, and it can be tailored to each subscriber's interests. Any part will run separately (text without graphics, graphics without text, or text and graphics), all or any part may be downloaded to an individual's machine, and all text and graphics can be viewed online.

The TFM is indebted to the TML, which granted kind permission to adapt not only the TML's system of handling graphics but also the Hypercard script for the TFM Canon of Datafiles (see below) and most of the following introduction.

TFM Text Files:

Orthography in the TFM text files follows exactly that of the source, even if a word is obviously misspelled. Abbreviations are expanded where possible, maintaining the regular spellings of the particular text. Pagination or foliation of the source is indicated in square brackets (except when a word is hyphenated across a page break, in which case it appears at the end of the word). Full bibliographic information is included at the beginning of each file, as well as in the TFM Canon.

Unlike other types of texts commonly studied by scholars in fields such as classics, literature, and philosophy, those on music theory include abundant figures and musical notation for which no ASCII equivalents exist. This material cannot simply be omitted. Musical notation included within sentences is entered as codes in the text file. Please see "Principles of Orthography and Encoding for Traités français sur la musique."

Full musical examples or figures are scanned and saved in GIF format and keyed to locations within the text files themselves. If the example includes text, this is given in the ASCII file within brackets (e.g. [Rameau, Observations, 47; text: Exemple. Proportion Harmonique. Proportion Arithmétique. Tierce au dessus.]), thereby enabling the search engine to locate and display text strings that appear within figures as well as those within the treatise proper. The text, of course, will also appear in the graphics file that will store the figure, table, or musical example itself.

TFM Graphics Files:

The graphics files, by their nature, are somewhat more complex. The GIF format has been selected in preference to any other format for several reasons. First, GIF files are quite small, and thus they can be downloaded very quickly. Second, the format can be read on any of the major hardware configurations with simple conversion programs available as free- or shareware or viewed by a Web browser accessing files on an individual's personal machine. Third, the graphics files can be displayed directly on the WWW.

The TFM on the World Wide Web:

The text and graphics files of the TFM can be viewed online or retrieved by means of a WWW client. You should first connect to your "Web home page." Once you know how to do this, you should have no difficulty with the following instructions.

The TFM may also be reached through a link from the homepage of the CHMTL:

Searching the TFM:

The TFM may be searched for occurrences of particular words in several ways:

The large number of diacritical marks in French may cause some problems in the final case, depending on the platform and browser being utilized. See "Saving Files to Your Personal Computer".

The TFM Canon:

In addition to the data and graphics files for each treatise, you will find other sorts of documents on the TFM: informational files, such as this Introduction, which provides general information on use of TFM; the "Principles of Orthography and Encoding," which explains the basic orthographic normalization necessary for the TFM; and the TFM Canon, which provides a full bibliographic index for the database.

Some parts of the TFM Canon are available as a HyperCard stack indexing all the treatises in the TFM, which may be retrieved from the TFM Web by clicking here. Each entry in the Canon includes the following fields (in this order): the name of the author of the treatise, as given in the source from which the data was taken; the author's first name; the title of the treatise; the incipit; the source of the data file; the names of the persons responsible for entering, checking, and approving the data; the filename; the filetype; the filelist; the size of the file in kilobytes; annotations; and the type of source (i.e., manuscript or print).

Please note that the HyperCard stack can only be used by Macintosh users, and it must first be decoded before it can run. This will normally be done automatically by web browsers, but if necessary, it can also be done by using the binhex decoding options in StuffIt, CompactPro, or any other binhex decoding program.

Some parts of the TFM Canon are also available as a PDF file, which will display an on-screen print of the contents of the HyperCard stack. PDF files can be viewed on any computer with Adobe Acrobat Reader (available for free at and are also fully searchable. The PDF version of the TFM Canon may be retrieved from the TFM Web by clicking here.

Saving Files to Your Personal Computer:

Because there is as yet no fully implemented standard for assigning letters with diacritical marks (i.e., acute, grave, and circumflex accents, cedillas, diairesis, etc.) to locations in individual fonts, saving files from the TFM site will involve a certain amount of trial and error. In general, copying a full file as it is displayed in your browser and then pasting it into your preferred word processing program should preserve all the diacritical marks because they have already been mapped to your computer's font set in the process of displaying the text in the browser.

It is also possible to use your browser's "Save As ..." feature, but the various versions of Netscape and Internet Explorer have a variety of options that function in differing ways, depending on the platform, operating system, and so on. Here are some general procedures.

On Macintosh computers running Netscape, you should save files in the format "Text" rather than "Source"; running Internet Explorer, you should save files in the format "Plain Text" rather than "HTML Source" or "Web Archive." In both these cases, the proper diacritical marks should be preserved, and the plain text files will be searchable by UltraFind or any other plain text search engine.

On Windows running Netscape, you should first save files in the format "HTML Files" or "Web Files" (depending on the version of Netscape) rather than "Plain Text"; then, open the file in your word processor, select "HTML Document" as the decoding option (if you are running Microsoft Word, or a similar option in other word processors), and then save the file once again as "Text Only" or "Plain Text." This will result in a file that can be searched by Eureka! or any other plain text search engine. On Windows running Internet Explorer, files should be saved in the format "Text File." This will result in a file that can be searched by Eureka! or any other plain text search engine without any further conversion. The two other options "Web Page, complete" and "Web Page, HTML only" can be used, but in that case the file must subsequently be opened in your word processor, decoded with "HTML Document" selected as the option (if you are running Microsoft Word, or a similar option in other word processors), and saved again as "Text Only" in order to produce a file that can be searched by Eureka! or any other plain text search engine.

Using UltraFind:

When you have transferred the data files of the TFM to your personal computer, they may be searched or otherwise manipulated using any one of a number of programs. Although the files may be searched or otherwise manipulated using any one of a number of programs, at present the TFM recommends UltraFind as the engine to be used for searching the database when it resides on a Macintosh (running any MacOS system, including Classic under OSX). UltraFind is available from for a free 30-day evaluation; registration (US $39.95) is required following the evaluation period.

UltraFind provides both simple and Boolean structures, as well as retrieving information even in unspecified variant spellings through a thesaurus--an important advantage when searching texts in early languages.

UltraFind provides an online help manual with instructions for its use and configuration, and these instructions need not be repeated here. A few recommendations, however, may be helpful.

After the desired material has been located, any number of further actions are possible: a detailed report may be printed, showing the number of "finds" and their location (in as large or small a context as may be specified); passages located may be readily imported into a word processing document; the entire text of the treatise containing the passage may be opened and printed; and so on.

Using Eureka!:

As the engine to be used for searching the database on a Windows machine (runnning Windows98, NT, 2000, XP, or Vista), the TFM at present recommends Eureka!, a program developed by the CHMTL. Persons interested in purchasing a copy of Eureka! should retrieve the order form from the CHMTL by clicking here.

Because Eureka! was developed specifically for use with the full-text databases of the CHMTL, the brief instruction manual included with the program will provide all the necessary information on its use. Like UltraFind, Eureka! allows for complex Boolean searches, including proximity searches; the production of detailed reports showing the number of "finds" and their location (in as large or small a context as may be specified); and nested searches.

Because the TFM is composed of ASCII text and GIF graphics, it can be used by any machine with its own search program. This structure is intended to make it easy to adapt the files to other systems of delivery that may become popular in upcoming decades, such as the CHMTL CD-ROM.


The Center for the History of Music theory and Literature at Indiana University maintains a LISTSERV site through which announcements of new additions to any of the full-text databases (TFM, TME, TML, and SMI) and other announcements of general interest to users of these databases will be circulated.

The address of the Indiana University LISTSERV site is:

To subscribe to the CHMTL-L, send the command: For example, a subscription message might look like this: Your subscription will be processed by the list owner, who will in turn send a request for a short statement of interest in CHMTL (this has become necessary to exclude those who would use CHMTL for mass mailings or similar purposes: "spams," in the common Internet parlance). Once your statement has been received, the subscription is processed by the list owner (normally within a day), and LISTSERV will send two introductory mail messages: one providing general information on communications with LISTSERV, the other providing information specific to CHMTL.

To cancel your subscription and sign off the list, send the command:

If you have any problems with the TFM or suggestions for its improvement, please contact the Project Director, Peter Slemon (telephone: [812] 855-6889; Internet:; mail: Dr. Peter Slemon, School of Music, Indiana University, Bloomington IN 47405).

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