Conversion of built-in songs to MusicXML

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jimhenry
Posts: 1812
Location: Illinois

Post by jimhenry » 04-14-20 12:51 pm

It has been awhile since the conversion of the built-in songs to MusicXML has been discussed.

Do you still have the in-house resources to do the conversion?

Have you contacted Gilbert DeBenedetti about getting access to the source files for his sheet music as a way to generate MusicXML? (And do you have an on-going permission to bring in the additional songs he creates?)

Would this be a good time to start a community based effort to generate MusicXML files to be included with Synthesia 11?
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/

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jimhenry
Posts: 1812
Location: Illinois

Post by jimhenry » 04-21-20 8:40 pm

I noticed that DeBenedetti has many more songs than those included with Synthesia. Were those consciously omitted or has DeBenedetti added to his library since Synthesia incorporated his songs?

I also noticed that DeBenedetti presents the songs in a graded order. Synthesia presents them alphabetically within grade levels. This loses a lot of the pedagogical value that DeBenedetti has in his library. Any thought of trying to adopt more of DeBenedetti's pedagogy?
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/

Nicholas
Posts: 12431

Post by Nicholas » 05-21-20 1:54 pm

jimhenry wrote:
04-14-20 12:51 pm
Do you still have the in-house resources to do the conversion?
My arranger friend is still off at college becoming a physicist. Although, it's a fairly routine/mundane conversion (more of a copyist's task than an arranger's), so I had been expecting to do it myself.
jimhenry wrote:
04-14-20 12:51 pm
Have you contacted Gilbert DeBenedetti about getting access to the source files for his sheet music as a way to generate MusicXML? (And do you have an on-going permission to bring in the additional songs he creates?)
Nope and (besides his statement that he placed at least those pieces we used ten years ago into the public domain) nope.
jimhenry wrote:
04-14-20 12:51 pm
Would this be a good time to start a community based effort to generate MusicXML files to be included with Synthesia 11?
So much for striking while the iron was hot. I'm not sure what's been going on with me. :?

That said, I do recall the first time I was tinkering with MusicXML (circa getting the music store up and running in 2014), that I ran into some strange problems with compatibility between apps. I forget which direction was bad, but opening a MusicXML file saved from either Sibelius or MuseScore in the other presented all sorts of strange stuff. The worst offender I remember was that all the clefs were "doubled". Like, two treble clefs in a row on each line.

For sure it has been many years and at least MuseScore has gone through several revisions, so hopefully that sort of thing has been stamped out. But I was hoping to learn a little more about the format so I could be sure any effort in this direction wasn't going to be wasted or redundant by using the "wrong" app to generate them.

(I worry that Synthesia is going to need some insider knowledge about what caused the double-clefs so it can work around whatever the editor seemed to think was correct or "buggy MusicXML support" will get pinned on Synthesia.)
jimhenry wrote:
04-21-20 8:40 pm
Were those consciously omitted or has DeBenedetti added to his library since Synthesia incorporated his songs?
Added since then. At the time I got permission to use the whole library.
jimhenry wrote:
04-21-20 8:40 pm
I also noticed that DeBenedetti presents the songs in a graded order. Synthesia presents them alphabetically within grade levels. This loses a lot of the pedagogical value...
It could be done pretty easily by adjusting the "difficulty" metric in the metadata for each group. Right now that field is kind of wasted with each song in the same category showing the same difficulty. Instead of being some absolute measure, it could be relative to that category. (It would only get confusing in the "All Songs (one big list)" context.)

This would have a little less dynamic range, but it could be made to work both ways by just using the tiny step in difficulty between groups. If "Easy" is 20 today and "Medium" is 40, we could use Gilbert's list to re-difficulty all the Easy songs between 20 and 39, for example. Then the "All Songs (one big list)" view would still make sense.

At the risk of increasing the number of lines in the task list, this is a good idea. The best news is that it would be super easy, too.

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jimhenry
Posts: 1812
Location: Illinois

Post by jimhenry » 05-22-20 11:46 am

How close are you to the milestone of Synthesia reading a MusicXML file? And of rendering sheet music from a MusicXML file?

I think using Difficulty in a more nuanced way for the built-in songs would be a worthwhile improvement. In that vein, how would you feel about changing the range from 0-100 (is it really 0-to 99?) to 0-9,999? And adding a numeric display to the bars?
difficulty_01.png
difficulty_01.png (4.46 KiB) Viewed 1710 times
Would it be too hard to sort songs without Difficulty metadata after songs with Difficulty metadata when sorting on Difficulty?
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/

Nicholas
Posts: 12431

Post by Nicholas » 05-22-20 11:59 pm

jimhenry wrote:
05-22-20 11:46 am
How close are you to the milestone of Synthesia reading a MusicXML file? And of rendering sheet music from a MusicXML file?
Not even a little. The graph will show ~150 lines remaining when the "We can load MusicXML" preview goes out the door.
jimhenry wrote:
05-22-20 11:46 am
And adding a numeric display to the bars?
Is the number the valuable part? Or is it the relative ordering? If it really came down to it, a Dewey Decimal System-style numbering could work, too: say, "Easier" is always 20 but the third song in the list could have a difficulty of 20.003. The number itself seems pretty arbitrary, so putting it on the screen might be less helpful.
jimhenry wrote:
05-22-20 11:46 am
... sort songs without Difficulty metadata after songs with Difficulty metadata...
Right now if the field isn't populated it counts as a zero. So they're sorted ahead of those with those fields filled out. Did you have a use-case in mind about why you'd like them to show up afterward?

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jimhenry
Posts: 1812
Location: Illinois

Post by jimhenry » 05-23-20 3:00 pm

Nicholas wrote:
05-22-20 11:59 pm
Is the number the valuable part? Or is it the relative ordering? If it really came down to it, a Dewey Decimal System-style numbering could work, too: say, "Easier" is always 20 but the third song in the list could have a difficulty of 20.003. The number itself seems pretty arbitrary, so putting it on the screen might be less helpful.
I think the number has value IF the range is increased to 9,999. With the expanded range each bar represents 100 levels. There is value in being able to see how far apart things are within what is represented by one bar.
Nicholas wrote:
05-22-20 11:59 pm
Right now if the field isn't populated it counts as a zero. So they're sorted ahead of those with those fields filled out. Did you have a use-case in mind about why you'd like them to show up afterward?
All Songs (one big list) with 1,000 downloaded songs ahead of the graded songs. Except for it being un-intuitive, I would say don't even show songs without a difficulty rating when the sort is by difficulty. When someone asks for a sort by difficulty it implies that they are most interested in difficulty. Putting all the songs without difficulty information ahead of all the songs with the information of interest seems perverse.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.Miditzer.org/

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