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Unsure if MusicXML will fit my proposed project.

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Unsure if MusicXML will fit my proposed project.

Postby LordFenty » Sun Apr 12, 2015 9:16 am

I have a project I want to begin, but before I invest much time I want to ensure I am using the correct tools / approach, to check that the whole project is viable - hence this question about MusicXML.

I am a computer programmer by trade rather than a musician, but want to create music (typically "pop" melodies, rather than orchestral "classical" music). This would be "programmed" / algorithmic music, in that I would write a script (e.g. in JavaScript, Python, etc) to design / compose the music initially (perhaps writing it to MusicXML or some other music-based scripting language or tool), and then listen, modify and tweak that in a DAW package of some kind (initially likely Audacity, but later perhaps a premium package) if I feel I need to add a personal human touch. I would like to be able to use standard freely available samples (e.g. of percussion instruments or of lead instruments such as guitar, piano, etc), or purchase a pack of samples if available.

If the project succeeds, I would presumably upgrade up to paid sample packs / more professional tools (inc. DAW packages, VST instruments and so on) as it evolves. But I want to start cheap / small, until I am sure that the project can actually work in terms of a proof-of-concept. I would prefer to work with samples / VST instruments (as I understand them) than to construct my own mathematically (which I think projects like CSound tries to do).

I do not currently read sheet music, and have no great need for notation software, unless it helps to convert from one format / layout to another.

I have read through much of the MusicXML documentation and can see that v3.0 introduces the concept of standard instruments, but am unclear if this is merely a cosmetic (e.g. notation) help, or if it changes the sounds. Also, I cannot see at preset how to tell it to use my own particular samples of instruments, to direct the sound.

So, would MusicXML fit my needs, or is it not feature rich in terms of playback options to fit my likely needs ? Many thanks for your thoughts.
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Re: Unsure if MusicXML will fit my proposed project.

Postby .mjb » Mon Apr 13, 2015 9:04 am

Since you have no need of notation software, I don't think MusicXML is required for your project. It might make more sense for you to stick with MIDI. In your case the only purpose of MusicXML will be for a program to convert it to MIDI, which then can be converted to audio. So if you use MIDI directly it would be one less specification for you to work with.
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Re: Unsure if MusicXML will fit my proposed project.

Postby Michael Good » Mon Apr 13, 2015 2:56 pm

If this is for your own personal use, I agree with Matthew that it probably makes more sense to stay with MIDI. MusicXML is giving you a lot of notation functionality that you don't need. While MusicXML's playback functionality is probably adequate for your needs, the stronger playback capabilities of MIDI seem like a better fit.

If you want to evolve this into a project where the compositions are eventually performed by human players who read music, that is where MusicXML will add value.

You might want to take a look at some of the composition programs already out there. The one that seems closest to what you are looking to do is Synfire from Cognitone, and it's simpler sibling product Music Prototyping Studio.
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