W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-xg-audio@w3.org > December 2010

Re: Music Notation on the Web

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2010 10:29:50 +0100
Message-ID: <AANLkTikunAiUcLiiKmmy3NR8kw_ABSO9i3+96ZAbkFO2@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Tom White (MMA)" <lists@midi.org>
Cc: public-xg-audio@w3.org
(Roger Cutler writes)
> > As Mr. Berkovitz says, Midi is pure performance data for electronic instruments.  Quoting from Wikipedia, “it sends event messages about pitch and intensity,
> > control signals for parameters such as volume, vibrato and panning, cues, and clock signals to set the tempo.”  That’s very different from a music score and
> > serves a different purpose.

On Sun, Dec 12, 2010 at 7:59 AM, Tom White (MMA) <lists@midi.org> wrote:
> But "Standard MIDI Files" store pitch and rhythm information for every note
> in a musical performance, from which it is possible for computer programs
> (including Sibelius and Finale) to create a musical score (one that is
> lacking in some formatting)... is that not what you are looking for?

Perhaps (given the focus of this list) also worth throwing in a
mention of the old .mod format,

"MOD is a computer file format used primarily to represent music, and
was the first module file format. MOD files use the “.MOD” file
extension, except on the Amiga where the original trackers instead use
a “mod.” prefix scheme, e.g. “mod.echoing”[citation needed]. A MOD
file contains a set of instruments in the form of samples, a number of
patterns indicating how and when the samples are to be played, and a
list of what patterns to play in what order."
Also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Module_file

I tend to associate MOD files with cheesy video game music and the
retro 'demoscene' aesthetic, but as browser-based audio matures, the
combination of audio samples with musical data is sure to be
revisited. The basic approach may be as relevant in schools as it is
to -say- ringtones or games.

>From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Module_file
"A disadvantage of module files is that there is no real standard
specification in how the modules should be played back properly, which
may result in modules sounding slightly different in different
players. This is mostly due to effects that can be applied to the
samples in the module file and how the authors of different players
choose to implement them."

There seem to various versions and variations of '.mod" format(s), eg.

Coming back to the MIDI case (a standard that has a much stronger
professional aura around it, to be clear), that page notes

"Module files also give a list of the order in which to play the
patterns. However, the biggest advantage of MOD family over standard
MIDI files is that MODs include their own audio samples and should
sound exactly the same from one player to another (barring
interpolation methods and any errors in players)."

Is this still the case?  Looking again to Wikipedia (I hope these
pages are accurate...:)
lists a variety of MIDI-derrived formats, including one for "MIDI
Karaoke (.kar)" which is perhaps another use case to note here: song
lyrics, plus several that address 'downloadable sounds'. For lyrics,
the closest relevant W3C specification I know of is the Timed Text
format (http://www.w3.org/TR/ttaf1-dfxp/), which may be directly or
partially applicable here.

All that said, I'm very much out of my depth, and have no specialist
knowledge. I just have some feeling that these worlds are all about to
collide within the browser, so it might be worth poking around to see
what has worked and failed to work in each of these rather diverse


Received on Sunday, 12 December 2010 09:30:23 UTC

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