Grace notes - other embellishments

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Pianotehead
Posts: 319

Post by Pianotehead » 02-07-17 2:55 pm

Hi!

Are there any plans for Synthesia supporting grace notes, or some of those other embellishments, trills, tremolos, circling a note - a technique used in gospel and country - and such things?

There are times when I would very much like to include grace notes or circling a note, in a song I'm practising. However, I usually don't, until I've got the barebone song, without all the fun things, only the essential notes, under my fingers.

So I'd like to see things like grace notes as optional. They'll be notated, but you don't have to play them. Like, if there could be two options, Strict, with everything included, and Loose, with only the melodic, and chord notes, mandatory, and the rest optional.

Hope I'm making this clear, if not let me know. I'd like to get your opinion on this, Nicholas, as well as that of other users of Synthesia. Regards!

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jimhenry
Posts: 1757
Location: Southern California

Post by jimhenry » 02-07-17 3:20 pm

I'll add my vote for this. Ornaments don't seem to lend themselves to Synthesia's normal scoring mechanism. I don't have a suggestion on how to recognize or handle "ornaments." But if they could be handled in some appropriate way, that would be great. Glissandos are another type of ornament to put in this bucket.

I haven't had enough formal piano instruction to know how a teacher handles the teaching of ornaments. I generally approach ornaments in the same way as Pianotehead, which is to ignore them until I have the basic notes under control. Since I prepare my own MIDI files, sometimes I will prepare a file without ornaments for Synthesia. Then I play from sheet music with the ornaments notated and just take the scoring hit as I add the ornaments in. Seeing the ornaments in the falling note display doesn't seem that helpful to me. It is pretty much an "oh, there's something that isn't going to happen exactly like that" moment.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.VirtualOrgan.com/

Nicholas
Posts: 12023

Post by Nicholas » 02-07-17 5:48 pm

I can't see Synthesia ever being able to glean the existence of a grace note from a MIDI file, but MusicXML lists them nice and explicitly.

Whether grace notes (or glissandos, etc.) make it into Synthesia 11 remains to be seen. There is a lot of ground to cover and some of the holes (say, triplets and 32nd notes) are larger than others. While we're not stopping until "tremendously improved" is undisputed, the goal isn't and can never really be "100% of all things".

For example, Synthesia is never going to attempt to get something like this correct:
terrain.png
terrain.png (12.92 KiB) Viewed 3507 times
(And the app is probably better off for it.)

The short answer is that grace notes are straddling the cut-off for what makes it into 11. Hopefully they'll make it! :D

Pianotehead
Posts: 319

Post by Pianotehead » 02-07-17 6:09 pm

Thanks for replies. So we'll see if grace notes make it into 11, if not then maybe 12! Jimhenry, I also prepare my own MIDI files.

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jimhenry
Posts: 1757
Location: Southern California

Post by jimhenry » 02-07-17 6:39 pm

Nicholas wrote:For example, Synthesia is never going to attempt to get something like this correct:
Do you mean in the sheet music display based on a MIDI file? Or from an XML file?

If you mean sheet music from a MIDI file, I agree that such a thing would be close to impossible to reverse engineer from a MIDI file.

But doesn't an XML file hand the sheet music notation for such things to you on a silver platter?

In any event, what I am wishing for is Synthesia to in some way recognize that certain notes are ornamental and not to be as exacting in the expectations for performance as notated. These might be notes that are of very short duration and close proximity to the adjacent note.

For example, a 1/32 Eb followed by a 7/32 E is probably a quarter note E with an Eb grace note at the start. In "lenient" mode the Eb would be optional and either the Eb or the E needs to be played on the beat. In "strict" mode, the Eb is required and needs to be played on the beat. The timing of the E following the Eb should have a greater than normal timing tolerance.

But that is just one, simple example. There are a lot of ornaments and just trying to catalog the appropriate way to perform them would be no small feat. Some start when the ornamented note would otherwise start. But some ornaments steal time from the preceding note and the ornamented note starts on the beat as notated.

Maybe you could look at using some or all of the ornaments provided by MuseScore as a set of ornaments that Synthesia supports according to the way MuseScore notates them in a MIDI file. Again, this is for how Synthesia evaluates the performance of ornaments. Not for creating sheet music from MIDI files.
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.VirtualOrgan.com/

Nicholas
Posts: 12023

Post by Nicholas » 02-07-17 11:33 pm

"Silver platter" might be a little strong. The finally-released Dorico (new competitor to Sibelius and Finale) that Steinberg has been working on for years now even discards the positioning information in MusicXML outright, choosing instead to use their own placement engine. For things like ties and slurs, all MusicXML tells you is that they exist. It's up to you to decide which direction they swoop, where they fall, how to avoid other notes that might be in the way, etc.

Until the 2nd-to-last dev preview when I really get to dig into the meat of reading all the bits and bobs from those files, I won't know how much or how little is actually provided. Maybe the majority of the weird stuff in that image above would be trivial. We'll see. :D

Regarding more leniency for ornaments, I agree. I've had a wishlist item for years to try to detect trills and give the user free reign over how to play them. Those are probably the most frustrating to do right now with the pedantic scoring. You essentially have to slow down to half (or lower) speed in melody practice just so you know your notes will fall inside the window Synthesia is expecting. The idea is that the app should adjust to help you play; not that you should adjust to help the app watch you play. :lol:

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jimhenry
Posts: 1757
Location: Southern California

Post by jimhenry » 02-08-17 12:17 am

So MusicXML gives you the notation in a brown paper bag?
Jim Henry
Author of the Miditzer, a free virtual theatre pipe organ
http://www.VirtualOrgan.com/

Pianotehead
Posts: 319

Post by Pianotehead » 02-08-17 9:57 am

From the little I've dabbled in programming, I know that everything having to do with sheet music displays, and MIDI, is far from easy to code. So I for one, understand it takes time, and even small steps can take a lot of work. It would be great to able to incorporate improvisation, as we've touched on here, and every step in that direction helps. Although, of course, one can still improvise through Synthesia, in rhythm mode at least.

The software is very good as it is, maybe too good, because even though I tell myself to use paper sheets all the time, I keep coming back to it. :D I'm thankful you're still improving this application, free of charge to those of us who have once bought it.

That is not always so, when it comes to commercial software. Notation is always trying to get me to buy their latest version, and the upgrade cost is the same or almost the same as a new Composer. I've said No way, Jose. :D Not formally, but by not buying it. Don't think I need it, the old version still works fine.

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