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allis Offline OP
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I idly looked into the free notation program MuseScore, since it makes decent scores, and its users sound pleased. Turns out the current version will not only dig melodies out of BiaB files, but it will also fetch the chords! Transcribing a MIDI melody is easy, but getting the chords has been elusive.

It took PGMusic 15 years to get around to adding limited window-size scaling. Instead of waiting for them to get interested in providing Music XML support at a speed like that, we might learn to use this to get nicer leadsheets.

Is anybody else using MuseScore this way? Any tips?

Last edited by allis; 03/27/11 12:26 PM.

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Nice to know that, thanx. Just tried it. Looks good. Later, Ray


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Yes, I tried it too. I see a lot of possibility here. Of course, without reading the manual, I ran into a few problems, like double-bars every part marker, and some chord names that ran into each other or appeared on the wrong staff after apparently wrapping around. It totally mistook quarter note triplets where the first note was a rest. But it is nice that this program understands the BIAB native file format, especially the chords.

Thanks for finding this, Larry. I did not see BIAB mentioned on their website, so how did you know it would work?


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Hi, Ray and Matt.

I only noticed BiaB files mentioned in File|Open. Apparently the publisher is not advertising the feature, and I suspect perhaps we're not supposed to pay much attention to it yet. That same menu also lists SMF, Overture files, Capella, and some others.

I found the same unruly stuff Matt did.

The melody line shifting between two different treble-clef staves is a bit creepy. I am sorry to hear it confirmed. The idea of melody wrapping around its own saddle horn and popping out The Other Side in some Stephen Hawking maneuver may be the explanation, after all. Maybe it clears up when you peel down to a single leadsheet staff, once there's no wrong place left for it to stagger off to.

Double bars at the Style Markers are actually likable, if you're expecting them; that can be turned to account to denote song sections clearly. It is less handy if you have added many extra markers for kickers. BiaB does it, if you set the option

In a stock state, MuseScore was touchy and literal-minded about timing, which had to be miserably near nominal. It notates too many rests. A first-beat note pulled by a normalish amount yields a holdover from the previous measure. It mostly failed to handle mild eighth-note swing -- all sorts of 16th notes end up in the beams.

The mess all this makes is especially noticeable considering BiaB had already interpreted the same MIDI data in a musical, sane way. I hope that familiarity will enable some leeway dialed into MuseScore by the user to average things out more humanely.

It's free software, so we mustn't rely on changes from the publisher. But boy, don't those chords look good? That's an achievement, that right there


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Actually I did not have any trouble with the melody (except the triplets); it was some chord symbols that admittedly are close to each other in BIAB that ran together in MuseScore, or one got bumped to the beginning of the next staff. To be fair, the chords in MuseScore looked better than in my BIAB chordsheet, even before adjusting the spacing, because BIAB uses a smaller font for long, complex chords.

Yes, I'm not complaining about the part markers; I like double bars for sections. If PG Music could implement the Wishlist feature suggested by Ian, Jford and others to differentiate part markers from fills, it would work better. Read more here: http://www.pgmusic.com/forums/showflat.p...true#Post277811

My next experiment will be to try exporting from MuseScore into other notation programs that I know better. I don't care how convoluted that sounds; it sure beats re-entering the chords.

And, maybe PG Music could partner up with these folks.

Last edited by Matt Finley; 03/28/11 06:38 AM.

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Quote:

My next experiment will be to try exporting from MuseScore into other notation programs that I know better. I don't care how convoluted that sounds; it sure beats re-entering the chords.



Agreed! The extra step need not add much effort, anyway, especially for the three or four leadsheets a week I make. These programs slurp up files instantly; re-import is likely faster than learning a new way of editing.

Users claim MuseScore is easy to learn, but I don't think they grasp how dumb I am.



PS EDIT:

Import into MScore is sometimes unable to handle repeats at all -- it may bail out and stop converting after the first ending. In other tunes, it transcribes the whole piece pretty nicely with complicated repeats, but always in an "unfolded" form.

It oddly prints the Time and Key signatures on a separate line at the end.

It sometimes leaves out notes in the pieces I've tried.

So the process will not be automatic, and there's plainly going to be a fair amount of editing to do somewhere. That's not a shock.


I haven't seen again the bad note timing I originally complained of. I may have arbitrarily grabbed a sloppy melody for the first go. The notes actually look pretty good, including most triplets. There's never many notes missing; at their worst, they could be moused in quickly.

Last edited by allis; 03/28/11 01:19 PM.
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allis Offline OP
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Got bad results using Overture 4 (the only capable program I have) to open XML exported from MuseScore.

Notes and staves were successful -- they transfer EXACTLY as they appeared in the original, but no chords survived the trip. Sad surprise. I tried this with tunes converted from BiaB files, and also some from native MScore sheets. In no case did chords come through.

So MScore may need more work, unless I am doing it wrong. Or perhaps Overture is flunking the course. MScore BiaB import is clearly labeled "Experimental" in its menu, so they know they are not done with that.

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