Title Documenting Transmission: The Analysis of the Folk Process using Versioning Machine 5.0

Encoded by   Vanessa Hannesschläger

Encoded by   Daniel Schopper


The Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License applies to this text.


The Versioning Machine (VM) is a framework and an interface for displaying multiple versions of a text encoded according to the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) Guidelines. The most recent release of VM contains a new text-audio linking feature, which has originally been developed by members of the Modernist Versions Project and is now a standard component of VM 5.0. The new text-audio feature facilitates parallel reading of a version of a text and at the same time listening to an audio version. Our project attempts to utilize and extend this new feature of VM 5.0 in order to allow the comparison of different versions of a folk song and analyze the "folk process" .

The "folk process" describes the transmission and transformation of literary and artistic material from person to person in both an oral and literary context. As the stories, art, and musical traditions of a community are passed down from generation to generation, they are subject to organic changes in form, context, narrative, and performance. As song forms or tropes travel, they may adopt new musical characteristics, while maintaining a core lyrical or thematic story. In a Digital Humanities context, this raises the question of whether or not a tool like VM 5.0 can be used to document and observe these changes in a way that extends our consideration of these processes.

Our paper will first introduce the new audio feature of VM 5.0. During his MA thesis, Richard Breen encoded several versions of the folk song "The Unfortunate Rake" . Using the VM, he has linked the lyrics to audio versions of the song, and subsequently was able to observe lyrical comparisons and contrasts. Using this example, the paper will examine the potential of using VM 5.0 to trace the folk process in action.