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

Re: Music Notation on the Web

From: Joseph Berkovitz <joe@noteflight.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 13:55:51 -0500
Cc: "Tom White (MMA)" <lists@midi.org>, <public-xg-audio@w3.org>
Message-Id: <835FC481-CAB7-4C83-81C7-78A49340BA6B@noteflight.com>
To: "Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler)" <RogerCutler@chevron.com>
Hi Roger,

I'm going to speak directly to your particular need because I like  
real-world examples so much better than abstractions ;)

I'm familiar with the CPDL site and others like it. The reason that  
many such sites don't offer semantic markup is not because there is no  
viable standard on the ground, but because of three factors: 1) the  
high cost (and correspondingly low adoption by the musical public) of  
much notation software, 2) the varying degrees of enthusiasm shown by  
vendors in supporting the standard, and 3) the distance that has  
historically existed between notation apps and the Web.

The cost issue is rapidly becoming moot -- we have Noteflight,  
MuseScore, LilyPond and other free offerings of high quality.  These  
programs all support MusicXML.

The vendor adoption problem remains an issue.  For instance, when we  
say that Sibelius "supports" MusicXML for export, this actually means  
that the support is available if and only if one buys a MusicXML  
plugin from Recordare.  Older versions of Finale also had this problem  
(Finale does now support MusicXML export out of the box.)  Naturally,  
few users of these programs buy the plugins until they actually need  
them, and so export to MusicXML is not available at the spur of the  
moment. Who of the CPDL contributors would stop and say, "I really  
need to buy a plugin for $100+ so I can export semantic markup"?

The final point is changing rapidly, in that notation tools are  
becoming part of the web.  Correspondingly online communities  
incorporating their own tools such as Noteflight.com, and sites with  
built-in semantic processing such as Wikifonia.org, provide libraries  
of scores in which *every single score is available in MusicXML*. So  
it's not that it never happens -- it's just that there are barriers.

We will lower these barriers in time. It will take more than a new  
standards effort to do it: it will take a standards effort that  
understands the history of the problem, brings in the right players,  
and creates the right incentives for those who do not choose to play.


On Dec 13, 2010, at 1:08 PM, Cutler, Roger (RogerCutler) wrote:

> I think that the specific site I posted is more relevant.  I want to  
> be able to get the scores out of that site and transpose or  
> otherwise modify them.  Simple requirement.  Huge potential user  
> community (particularly if you include similar sites focused on  
> other instruments or genres).    To repeat,
> http://www3.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
> From: public-xg-audio-request@w3.org [mailto:public-xg-audio-request@w3.org 
> ] On Behalf Of Tom White (MMA)
> Sent: Monday, December 13, 2010 11:46 AM
> To: public-xg-audio@w3.org
> Subject: RE: Music Notation on the Web
> Roger,
> Iím sorry Ė I didnít really mean that all I care about is pitch and  
> rhythms.  Music notation carries a ton of other stuff too.  However,  
> itís not clear to me that subtleties like the exact positioning of a  
> crescendo wedge are necessary.  I agree that there is meaning in  
> that positioning, but my instinct is thatís going ďtoo farĒ for a  
> Web display technique.
> Maybe it would help if we got specific about what you are interested  
> in and what not. Obviously you are interested in all of the  
> performance instructions (note values and pitches, key, tempo and  
> volume markings, etc.).... is it only the position (placement on the  
> page) of the instructions that you do not care about?
> Descriptions of problems you had with specific products may not be  
> the best way to describe your concerns... I think that may tend to  
> lead people think your concern is limited to some specific  
> implementation. Or is that actually the case?
> Tom White

Received on Monday, 13 December 2010 18:56:28 UTC

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