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Full Version: rendering musicXML, + transposing
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An idea for "next gen" MobileSheets-
The ability to transpose a chart live, real-time on the tablet would be huge.  MusicXML files would be logical foundation for this in my own very-limited view.

I have 2 other app's which kinda-sorta do this (MuseScore Songbook, PhonicScore Like+).  But there are various issues with these.  The major one for my use is that the page rendering is very primitive and offers almost no user control.  Even a simple thing like rendering using the linebreaks (<print new-system="yes"> in MusicXML) is not there.  And beyond that, I'd rather not have my score spread out across more than 1 app and MobileSheets appears the most mature, best support, etc.

I don't know how hard it is to "render" a MusicXML file into a PDF, or straight onto the screen, but if it's more expedient to "get there" by pushing the MusicXML into PDF first, so be it.

Thanks for a great app + for considering it.
I rather suspect this is more than a little way off (if ever) as it means a whole new way of storing the data, PDF is not the right format at all. In the meantime, you might find iReal more to your requirements.
Graeme, thanks for coming back on it. I understand it means rendering the screen from a different source, musicXML, mscz MuseScore file, or other, but certainly not PDF or image, so yeah I'm pretty sure you're right - "non-trivial" as I've heard it described in other situations.

I use iReal all the time for backing / rhythm support. What I'm looking for is the ability to transpose a lead sheet - the melody. The need arises in pickup bands or jam sessions where a song is called in a different key, or when we're playing with a singer who needs to go up or down X steps to keep the highs / lows within her range. I'd love to be able to transpose a song I'm familiar with, on the fly + in my head, but I'm not there (yet??) for more than a few songs that I know quite well, and for a few "obvious" intervals ... a whole step or a fifth or something. "working on it" as the saying goes ...

Still I thought I'd throw this in the ring. Mike's clearly done a great job on this so far, and seeing these other couple other app's show up, and larger tablet hardware start to show up, it would appear that this area of functionality is accumulating "validation" as something that people need and will pay something for- there's a real market here. I'll offer the view that in my experience / interpretation software functionality "consolidates" over time (years) - what starts as a company becomes a product within a larger company, and that product becomes a module or feature in a larger product or suite. Looking forward, and it may be years, I wouldn't be too surprised to see some of these current apps come together in some way, who knows. I'll be pleased if MobileSheets becomes the consolidator because it seems well run and I'm personally pretty invested in it.

Thanks again for coming back on it,
Waiting for MuseScore to develop their Android app might be the best you can do. I’m sure they will add other features, function and rendering.

Implementing musicXML has not been done very well in the different musicXML apps I have seen. Just to get notation on the stave, ties, beaming and spacing reasonably correctly (quickly readable) seemed to be a problem from memory, not to mention, lyrics (especially multiple verses), slurs, cross-beaming, chords (jazz ones especially), enharmonics etc. It is quite complicated making a render engine that can deal with all this from a generic file format and as you would know, music notation can be difficult to layout for a human (many considerations) even within a specialized software package.

Instead of musicXML (at least for now), a dedicated app for tablets from those same music notation software companies would (you would think) be better … like Sibelius or Finale. They then would just be rendering their own file structures and would be able to interpret all the necessary internal information to create the chart as they already do on computer. (No compromises in translating it to the generic musicXML, not to mention constructing it at the other end.) Unfortunately this has not happened.
Sibelius’s Scorch for iPad was released a few years ago and is probably forgotten—no updates for a long time, buggy, inadequate and crashes, although I use it when I have to (in circumstances similar to yours). Finale’s Songbook for iPad was released but had a short life and has been discontinued.

As far as I know, MuseScore is the best contender being able to directly translate their own files on Android although not there yet for your purposes, unless you have the chart loaded directly onto their website from your tablet (if you have a connection at your gig) and transposing (does that work? I have never tried it).

Hopefully there will be further development in this area. There is clearly a need for it.
[Aside: Sibelius has recently announced supporting MS Surface in a new version).

I have had to use a few different apps on gigs, but like you would like it all integrated into one Smile
I think there are many other features to be added into MS and the port to Windows hopefully later in the year. Good to ask though. I would welcome it.

If you find a better solution than what you have, let us know!
All this is very well, but has anyone considered where and how the source material is going to be acquired? Seems to me this is the major hurdle that has to be jumped.

iReal (and similar software) is limited to chord progressions only, since most top lines are subject to copyright in one way or another. I'm not sure how MuseScore get away with this - at best, I suspect they are walking very close to the edge.
@BBee, thanks for adding your thoughts + perspectives - as you talk thru it, you surely illustrate the size + complexity of the challenge. NOT a no-brainer by any means. Tranposing a step or 2 raises the intriguing thought of whether it's possible to simply "nudge" a previous rendering somehow. But once you get into transposing bigger steps, 5ths, octaves, you're gonna have to go thru a complete re-rendering.

@Graeme- source material / legality is also a very real concern. I recall Wikifonia being around for a while, til they shut themselves down. My own situation is somewhat unique in that I enjoy the oldest jazz (trad jazz, Dixieland, etc) and folk so there's a great repetoire in the public domain. I've put lots of these into MuseScore mcsz / xml files already, but there is a BIG time investment to do that, + there's no good way to share it which necessarily involves keeping the public domain stuff separate from copyrighted stuff that receives legal challenges. I know MuseScore are storing/offering shared scores on their server, and I agree with you that that appears close to the edge of what's legal or business strategy workable - even if you can beat back a challenge, you can go bankrupt paying to do so.

Thx again for perspectives - we'll watch + see how it develops.
(04-29-2015, 06:12 PM)GraemeJ Wrote: [ -> ]All this is very well, but has anyone considered where and how the source material is going to be acquired?  Seems to me this is the major hurdle that has to be jumped.

For myself, I have my own charts in Sibelius, but yes Graeme, I agree, there is not much available where there could be.

Just an additional comment on Finale Songbook and Sibelius's Scorch demises—the user base is large for both; many would have their own files and music publishers (and engravers) use either application for layout (before printing to paper) so there would be vast numbers of files in existence and yet the apps have failed (at least so far). Perhaps the new version of Sibelius will arrive with an update of Scorch for iPad … and a release for Android.
Orchestral (etc.) music does not even need to be transposed (usually) so its even more simpler to display the notation without any problems. A dedicated app supported by publishers (perhaps incorporating time-limited PDFs for leasing show music etc. where necessary), suitably bookmarked for orchestral works should work I would have thought. I suppose what many are waiting for is Hal Leonard and Sher Music to put out their own apps with their real book versions as in-app purchases. Why this has not been done already you have to wonder. They could either have a transpose function if they use notation files or just transpose into all 12 keys as an option—all saved as vector PDF so the file size is not huge. Doing the latter, they can manually tidy up the enharmonics, accommodate lyrics (as an option) and format specifically for tablets (no cropping needed with small margins, appropriate size and page turns) and where you could purchase individual songs in whatever key or purchase complete sets. As far as I know, this is not possible yet, although Sher Music has their New Real Book vol 1 as a PDF (for C, Bb and Eb instruments) but not transposable to any key.

Any musicXML app would have a much smaller user base than either Finale and Sibelius and at the very cheap prices typically expected for device apps, I am not sure they have the income for developing them. Looking at some of the musicXML apps, some have not been updated for a year or two and still lack many features. So if the big companies cannot sustain it, it is not surprising the smaller development companies struggle, if that is what is happening. 

MuseScore is increasing substantially in user numbers and their enthusiasm and dedication (both users and developers) make it more likely (let's hope) their app will fill the void.

Well at least we all have MobileSheets, thank you Mike for your time, effort and dedication.
(04-30-2015, 05:44 PM)bumblebee Wrote: [ -> ]Well at least we all have MobileSheets, thank you Mike for your time, effort and dedication.

BBee good thoughts + insights --
-- and +1 (and more if one can) to this in regard to Mike & MobileSheets.
I would agree that writing your own XML-, MuseScore- or whatever rendering would be far too complicated and it would be really hard to keep up with the developing file-formats.
On the other hand: Would it be possible, to give MobileSheets a kind of a 'plug-in' structure, so when opening e.g. a MuseScore-file the MuseScore-renderer (MuseScore Songbook) is used?
I know that  this will only work if the MuseScore programmer (or Sibelius or whatever) are willing to publish their rendering so that MobileSheets can directly use it, but maybe they could be convinced since they then wouldn't have to take care of all that library-stuff themself too much.
Am I making any sence here?
I would appreciate being able to use transposable scores from MSP. IMHO MuseScore is the way to go, it is open source and has a big active and growing community. An Android app for MuseScore already exists, so integrating that could be of help.
Calling an external app out of an MSP setlist is not that difficult, the tricky part is getting back from there into the setlist.
Anyway: a new feature with loads of use cases, but also a big challenge. Please keep it on the list and think about it in V 2.x or 3.x.
Apps cannot embed the functionality of other apps. About the best that can be done would be to have MobileSheetsPro launch MuseScore and pass the file to load. MuseScore is open source, but it's GPL licensed, which means I can't use the source code for commercial purposes. You could in theory use MuseScore to view the song, then hit the back button to exit and return to MS Pro.
Thanks for your comments on this!
Opening an external viewer and after exiting that returning back to MS Pro doesn't sound to me like being too difficult to implement. It also sound a little bit unpredictable though, since one would not know what else the external viewer might be doing, like opening other programms, and also opening might be slow since the viewer would have to be re-opened for every sheet. Still I find that idea intriguing and would volunteer as a tester!

With a 'plug-in' I would have something else in mind: If we define the interface-specification for an external renderer well enough, people like the guys from MuseScore might be willing to support the effort. MS Pro could then call the external renderer instead of the internal pdf-renderer, get back the rendered sheet and therebye still have all the great overlay-features that MobileSheets already has available. I have a lot more and more detailed ideas in my head regarding this, but this should be put into another topic, I think.

Regarding GPL license: I really don't know nothing about that legal stuff. But if you would find that idea worth to be investigated a little bit more, I would try to make 'first contact' with MuseScore to see if they find that as well.

But maybe this is technically impossible or at least too time-consuming.

Let me know.

(06-19-2015, 06:41 AM)Zuberman Wrote: [ -> ]Apps cannot embed the functionality of other apps. About the best that can be done would be to have MobileSheetsPro launch MuseScore and pass the file to load.  MuseScore is open source, but it's GPL licensed, which means I can't use the source code for commercial purposes.  You could in theory use MuseScore to view the song, then hit the back button to exit and return to MS Pro.
Simply this:
[ passing the file + viewing with MuseScore ] 
- just this is a terrific addition.  
In the fast world of a gig or a jam when somebody calls a song in a different key, this makes MobileSheetsPro (MSP) the one single lookup point for everything indexed INCLUDING songs stored as mscz's + rendered by MuseScore. 

Right now, if I don't have the song in the key in MSP, I manually switch over from MSP to MuseScore, and look it up again in MuseScore. 

With this, the MSP search shows if an mscz is in the MSP db, and if yes, then 1 tap on that mscz entry + you're there. It's a winner.

FWIW - altho MuseScore is GPL, I don't think MuseScore Songbook (the transposing Android app) is GPL - it's $2 on PlayStore. But I'd hope that MuseScore would be open to consider some arrangement. 

Just thinking aloud ... Maybe this 'pass-thru' is an in-app purchase in MSP, and there's some revenue split between MSP and MuseScore ???  
Speaking just for myself, I'd pay $10 for this right now without a moment's hesitation or second thought and be very glad indeed to have it.
It's already there, here's an example:
- copy both files from the attachment into the same folder
- rename the .MSCZ.TXT file to .MSCZ (it's a limitation of the forum that it doesn't allow .MSCZ attachments)
- import the PDF into MSP
- open the PDF in MSP and click on the icon top left
If Musescore is available on your device the song will open in MuseScore (on Win10) or in MuseScore Songbook (on Android)

To create those kind of links:
Yeah, we bugged Mike a while for this functionality and finally it's here. :-)

Also, if you don't want to create "hardlinks" in the PDF (it's a bit complicated and has to be done with Perl), there's the new smartbutton feature of MSP you can open MSCZ, iRealPro files and so on from within MSP. That's a bit easier to use.

Also I hope Mike will add ABC support which opens all kinds of possibilities including displaying MusicXML files with transpose possibilities within MSP. I won't elaborate in this thread much, but maybe you're interested to look into it (and maybe I'll make another thread about it if I find the time like itsme suggested somewhere else).
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