Re: Music Notation on the Web - Last Call?

Hi, folks-

I think this thread has drifted away from productive technical 
discussion into less harmonious exchanges.  I think it would be valuable 
for everyone to step back and look for common ground, understanding each 
others' positions.

Everyone agrees that a common music notation system, which can satisfy 
the richness of international music traditions, would be a good thing.

Roger, I think it's reasonable that Michael Good, who has been working 
on MusicXML for several years and had good success with its deployment 
as an open format, would not take too kindly to criticisms of it that he 
feels aren't justified.  He is very familiar with the current 
marketplace, and in fact makes his living from revising and adapting 
MusicXML; I think we can trust his expertise there, and recognize that 
he doesn't want anything to undermine the success of MusicXML.  Just 
because some authoring tools don't give you the results you want doesn't 
mean that the underlying MusicXML format can't support them.  And while 
there are many places where sheet music is prevalent, that doesn't 
necessarily immediately equate to a large market for web-based music 
notation; this isn't the sheet-music heyday of the early 1900s; most 
music now is electronic audio, not notation... but I'm not dismissing 
the usefulness, just tempering the claim.

Michael, I think it's fair that people are approaching you with use 
cases that they've found where MusicXML doesn't meet their needs, even 
if it's the fault of authoring tools or other infrastructure and not 
MusicXML as a format; unifying the market is often done more effectively 
by an large organization.  And the market itself may be changing; if 
music notation is supported natively in browsers (which seems realistic, 
giving the new emphasis on audio and multimedia, and the increase in use 
in ABC-notation script libraries), you have a whole new kind of user 
agent, which may well alter the market.  I wouldn't assume that things 
are going to continue as they have been, with niche uses of music 
notation, and the only browser rendering done through script libraries 
and plug-ins.  I understand that you want to keep making money off your 
stewardship of MusicXML, and that you genuinely believe that it is the 
most functional technical approach to music notation available.  But you 
shouldn't be surprised when people push back on what and where they can 
discuss music notation formats.  That said, I'm glad you've provided 
what seems like a good and open format, and are committed to evolving 
it; I think you deserve to be paid for you're doing.

So... I hope that clears the air rather than muddying the waters.  I am 
personally interested in seeing more technical discussion on this list 
of use cases and requirements for music notation formats, and 
comparisons and critiques of existing formats, in the spirit of 
advancing the state of the art, regardless of whether W3C is where that 
happens. (Though, as Michael knows, my preference is that it would 
ultimately happen at W3C.)

-Doug Schepers
W3C Team Contact, SVG, WebApps, and Web Events WGs

Received on Wednesday, 15 December 2010 23:12:36 UTC