Humdrum Representation for Absolute Time Period


**Zeit -- absolute period of time


The **Zeit representation is used to represent spans of time, such as the life-span of a composer, or the chronology of a rehearsal. The syntax for **Zeit is nearly identical to the **date representation. Since **Zeit represents a span of time, two date tokens must be specified and separated by a dash (-). For example, the **Zeit data token 1770/-1827/ represents the period from 1770 to 1827.

The **Zeit representation includes all of the features of **date for signifying approximation (~), uncertainty (?), approximate value (x), uncertain value (z), as well as between-range (^), either-or (|), prior (<) and after (>) boundaries. Either one or both of the dates specified in a **Zeit data token may encode complex degrees of approximation or uncertainty.

Conceptually, **Zeit data tokens consist of two **date "sub-tokens." Zeit tokens are encoded according to the following basic syntax:


The data tokens making-up the **Zeit information may be encoded in full, or may consist of isolated elements or parts. The following table shows the most succinct ways of encoding single date values within sub-tokens in **Zeit:

.11eleven one-hundredths of a second
1111th second
11:11th minute
11::11 o'clock
11/A.D. 11
//1111th day of the month
Examples of date sub-components
Notice that if a single numerical value appears, it is interpreted as seconds; if a single value appears followed by a slash, it is interpreted as a year; if a single value appears followed by a colon, it is interpreted as a minutes. Days and hours require two leading or two trailing delimiters respectively. In general, abbreviated forms of date sub-tokens tend to favor the two extremes of time: seconds and years. These are the time frames that are typically of greatest interest to music scholars.

The **Zeit representation makes use of the Gregorian calendar and the 24-hour clock. Dates prior to the year 1 A.D. can be specified by prepending a minus sign to the year.

The **Zeit representation provides three distinct means for representing approximate moments. It also provides two independent means for representing uncertainty, as well as mechanisms for representing time boundaries (prior to ...; after ...). For the appropriate representation syntax refer to **date.


It is recommended that files containing predominantly **Zeit data should be given names with the distinguishing `.zt' extension.


The following table summarizes the **Zeit mappings of signifiers and signifieds.
-sub-token separator (from-to); (must appear
in each **Zeit data token)
0-9decimal values
@year B.C. rather than A.D.
/year-month, month-day and day-hour delimiter
:hour-minute and minute-second delimiter
.fractional second delimiter; null token
?date uncertain
zvalue uncertain
~date approximate
xvalue approximate
<sometime prior to
>sometime after
^"between" conjunction
|"or" conjunction
Summary of **Zeit Signifiers


Several examples of **Zeit data tokens are identified below:
**Zeit tokensmeaning
1939/-1945/From 1939 to 1945.
1817/06/02/-1817/6/15From June 2nd to 15th, 1817.
1817/6/02/-1817/06/15From June 2nd to 15th, 1817.
///10::-///11::From 10 AM to 11 AM.
10::-11::From 10 AM to 11 AM.
~10::-~11::From approximately 10 AM to approximately
11 AM.
>22::-<23::From sometime after 10 PM to sometime
before 11 PM.
:11:51-:12:35From 11 minutes 51 seconds to 12 minutes
35 seconds.
.001-.008From 1 millisecond to 8 milliseconds.
23.8-41.3From 23.8 seconds to 41.3 seconds.
//12/31-//1/1From December 31st to New Years' Day.
From before perhaps 1231 to March 9th 1283.
<1724/2//-1724/4z/2From before Feb. 1724 to April (?) 2nd 1724.
1848/|1849/-1851/From 1848 or 1849 to 1851.
/5/9/^/5/11/-//8/23Starting sometime between May 9th and 11th
ending August 23rd.
Examples of **Zeit Tokens
The following examples illustrate the use of the **Zeit representation:
?1644/-1737/12/18Stradivari, Antonio
1794/4/9-1881/11/25Boehm, Theobald
1797/2/15-1871/2/7Steinweg, Heinrich
1814/11/6-1894/2/4Sax, Adolphe
**Zeit**recording log
/4/9:20:18-/4/9:20:20Aria - Take #1
/4/9:20:20-/4/9:20:22Aria - Take #2
/4/9:20:23-/4/9:20:25Aria - Take #3
/4/9:20:25-/4/9:20:27Var.1 - Take #1


Currently, no special-purpose Humdrum commands produce **Zeit as output, or process **Zeit encoded data as input.


The following tandem interpretations can be used in conjunction with **Zeit:
meter signatures*M6/8
Tandem interpretations for **Zeit


**date, **dur, **metpos, **ordo, **recip, **takt, **time