W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-svg@w3.org > March 2011

Re: SVG and MIDI

From: James Ingram <j.ingram@netcologne.de>
Date: Thu, 24 Mar 2011 15:37:28 +0100
Message-ID: <4D8B5728.8000804@netcologne.de>
To: www-svg@w3.org
Hi Domenico,

Thanks for the rave review. :-)

This is really all about symbols.
A symbol has a graphic representation (SVG) and a meaning. In this case, 
temporal meaning.
All I'm proposing is that the meanings should be embedded in the symbols 
[1]. Its really that simple.
And because its that simple, there are a large number of applications.

The MIDI standard should not be underestimated. There is a whole 
hardware industry devoted to it, and it is used heavily in the 
live-music business. I think it has been used successfully outside music 
too, but I'd have to research that some more to give any examples.

 > ...I still haven't gone through all there is on your site,
 > did you do anything about filters yet?
What's a filter? :-)

 > How would you feel about making a group so that some can jump in? (I
 > certainly would). Perhaps implementers?
Yes, of course.
Ideally, we would need at least three types of member: SVG specialists, 
MIDI specialists and maybe those with an interest in symbols who have a 
background and interest outside these areas (e.g. mathematicians or 
As I understand it, I would have to become an invited expert before 
joining or starting a W3C Working Group, so I'd like to ask anyone who 
is interested in joining such a WG to say so, so that we can move on.

I've been working on my own for a rather long time. Not because I'm a 
loner by nature, but because its been difficult to see quite how anyone 
else could help. Also, my background is as a professional music copyist. 
Breaking into the appropriate institutions sideways has not been possible.
As an (advanced amateur) programmer, my programs are really just proofs 
of concept. I program in order to make the concepts precise. And my 
programs really do work. So it would be nice if the some of the projects 
I have in mind could be professionally programmed. That will only happen 
if there's a standard to which the programmers can work. Yes, of course 
I'd like to be part of a group developing this into a public standard.

 > If there is need for argumentation we can provide it, don't you think?
Of course.

 > I would like to be able to hear soon your and other scores played 
natively by the browsers.
Me too, but not because I'm a composer on an ego-trip. I want to see 
written music developing again.
There are several reasons why written music stagnated in the 20th 
century, not least of which was the invention of recordings. But writing 
is a key cultural technology. Western harmony and counterpoint would 
never have developed without it. I think recorded music is currently 
stagnating, so something has got to happen.

Apart from getting the browsers to play such scores by themselves, I 
also want to enable their live performance by the browser's users. This 
can be done for users of all levels of competence using software-assistance.

 > I reckon that the browser must be able to address the sound
 > hardware resources the same as it can address the graphic hardware
 > resources. Is this correct?
As far as I know, practically every computer has a simple, built-in MIDI 
synthesizer nowadays. Presumably, users would be able to route the 
browser's MIDI output to an external synthesizer if they have one 
I'd like browsers to be able to take MIDI input too. Maybe one could 
implement a MIDI-keyboard on a touch-sensitive screen? Do 
touch-sensitive screens register the speed at which the finger hits the 
My Assistant Performer software can take input from an ordinary querty 
keyboard, but that's not the best solution.

 > I think it's important to make it clear that we don't need to physically
 > write or see a score to hear it, correct?
Yes. SVG-MIDI files can be thought of as MIDI files in which the MIDI 
info has been spread around and attached to the symbols arranged on the 
page. If you want to play the MIDI info, you just have to align the MIDI 
commands in time before playing them back. You don't need to look at the 
graphics to do that.

 > ...standard notation's inadequate (Ptolemaic) time-paradigm.
:-) Wheels within wheels got left over from the Middle Ages which had it 
from the Antique.
The underlying problem with standard notation is that it measures time 
with rational numbers. Nowadays, especially when computers are involved, 
we measure time with integral numbers: The number of oscillations of a 
particular crystal. Remember the introduction of digital clocks? Time 
hasn't been the same since...

All the best,

[1] The current state of my SVG Score Extensions is at:
Received on Thursday, 24 March 2011 14:38:27 UTC

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