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Separating content and display

Moderator: Michael Good

Separating content and display

Postby Christopher Corbell » Thu Aug 29, 2002 9:55 am

Has anyone tried to use MusicXML in a way that would separate the musical content of a composition from its display formatting?

I'm working on an application and have been considering adopting MusicXML as the native format, but this requirement looks somewhat difficult to implement.

Ideally I'd like the musical content of the piece to be represented independently of the format, so that multiple formats could be stored. E.g., you might want a stem direction for a note to be different in a single instrument score than in the orchestral score or the piano reduction, but in all cases it's the same note.

I suppose I could store a barebones MusicXML document for the music content and then have separate documents which
"translate" this to other documents, e.g. the orchestral score, individual part documents, reductions or lead sheets, etc. However this seems less optimal than having a document format that could store all of the above in a single document, with one container for the musical content (parts, pitches, times, logical dynamics) and a list of display formats that could be applied to parts (score order, stem direction, placement and graphical attributes of text and markings, all the extra printing or display stuff).

Any ideas? Does this requirment seem incompatible with the way MusicXML organizes data, or is there an approach I'm overlooking?

Thanks, Chris
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RE: Separating content and display

Postby Michael Good » Thu Aug 29, 2002 1:06 pm

Hello Chris,

Perhaps you could store a full MusicXML document for a canonical document type, and then store XSLT transformations for differences between the canonical and current document?

The alternative would seem to be to work with MusicXML fragments to mix and match different notation elements.

MusicXML does tend to view things like stem direction as content rather than formatting. But XML is very flexible, so there are many ways to work with documents to adapt them to your needs.

Best regards, Michael
Michael Good
VP of MusicXML Technologies
MakeMusic, Inc.
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