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Tech: convert ABC to MusicXML?

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Geoff the Duck 15 Jul 09 - 08:22 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 15 Jul 09 - 08:56 AM
Jack Campin 15 Jul 09 - 09:03 AM
Geoff the Duck 15 Jul 09 - 09:41 AM
GUEST,Ed 15 Jul 09 - 10:20 AM
Geoff the Duck 15 Jul 09 - 10:27 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 15 Jul 09 - 12:26 PM
Geoff the Duck 16 Jul 09 - 04:00 AM
GUEST,Mr Red 16 Jul 09 - 04:34 AM
Geoff the Duck 17 Jul 09 - 04:38 AM
DMcG 17 Jul 09 - 04:41 AM
Geoff the Duck 17 Jul 09 - 04:43 AM
Geoff the Duck 17 Jul 09 - 05:12 AM
DMcG 17 Jul 09 - 05:20 AM
TheSnail 17 Jul 09 - 05:33 AM
Tootler 17 Jul 09 - 05:19 PM
GUEST,Grishka 10 Apr 11 - 06:42 AM
GUEST,Grishka 10 Apr 11 - 06:46 AM
The Fooles Troupe 10 Apr 11 - 08:20 AM
GUEST,Jon 10 Apr 11 - 08:17 PM
GUEST,Grishka 11 Apr 11 - 04:12 AM
GUEST,Jon 11 Apr 11 - 06:01 AM
DMcG 11 Apr 11 - 07:02 AM
IvanB 12 Apr 11 - 12:16 AM
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Subject: RE: BBC Radio 4 features abc
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 08:22 AM

Just a slight technical sidetrack.
One of the biggest advantages of ABC is that it can be fairly easily looked at and the content understood following a relatively small learning curve.
That said, I have just started playing with a couple of free score editing programmes, which give greater flexibility of layout than the ABC converting tools at concertina.net. The two programmes are Muse Score, which is cross-platform, and NoteEdit which is a Linux programme, although I discovered that I could run it when in Windows by installing it via Portable_Ubuntu_for_Windows.
NoteEdit will EXPORT files in ABC format, but will not import ABC (this may possibly change in future versions, but perhaps not). On the other hand, both NoteEdit and Muse Score (and other commercial programmes) import and export MusicXML which, as previously noted, althouh very versatile, is NOT easy to look at and "visualise" what the music would sound like. It is however more portable between different programmes than ABC.
Does anyone know of any method to convert ABC to MusicXML? Both are text based, but I cannot see any sensible way that I could convert sections of text from simple ABC to long lists of MusicXML. I could do it long-hand e.g. making an HTML table with sets of MusicXML note descriptions displayed alongside the ABC equivalent, and then copy and paste the appropriate choice into a notepad style document, but something like that would probably be more effort than visiting concertina.net and converting the ABC to a PDF of the dots, and then manually re-writing the notes into the score programme.
I would do it myself, but I am not a computer programmer and haven't really had much dealings with the idea since Sinclair Basic on my ZX81 and Spectrum. I don't understand the terminology, or how modern programming is organised, so wouldn't know where to start, and couldn't ask a programmer because I do not have the technical vocabulary to understand a reply in "Geekspeak".
Any thoughts folks?
Quack!
GtD.
    Thread split per request from Geoff the Duck. Quack!
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BBC Radio 4 features abc
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 08:56 AM

Jack - I have seen the Cage book. I will not be converting most of them to abc! On beautiful but non-standard scores, I always liked one page from Peter Maxwell Davies' Eight Songs For A Mad King (IIRC) where the score is artfully turned into something like a bird cage. (Interestingly, although many of the composers in Cage's book have written for the classical guitar - Takemitsu in particular wrote a lot of guitar music - they tended to stay nearer standard scores; extreme dynamics, unusual rhythms and note lengths, some randomness, but largely what most people would recognise as a score).

Geoff - there are/were converters to music xml - abc2xml and xml2abc -but but the home page they were on no longer has them. However, you might have a look here though: Sonata - abc2xml, which is part of the Sonata project and uses these converters. This link takes you to directorues for Windows and Linux (download the exe and dll file for Windows: usage: abc2xml abcfile.abc >xmlfile.xml. (If you can't get on with that, I still have all this stuff on my machine; I have a lot of abc software, though abcm2ps is pretty much all I use regularly).

There is another way to get music xml: Use abcm2ps to generate a postscript file and convert that to pdf (using GSView or similar). Then you can get Recordare's pdfToMusicPro, which will convert the pdf to XML. (I used something like this on the Yorkshire Garland tunes - starting with a pdf generated by Sibelius, I converted them to musicXML using this program, and then used a modified version of the xslt file xml2abc.xsl to convert the musicXML to abc). When I got the copy of pdfToMusicPro it was free, but it looks as if you have to pay for it now, though you can download a trial copy.

(I did make a start on an abc2 parser (in Prolog) and in the early stage of testing I did generate musicXML, but I dumped that long ago. I still have the parser and a test printer that converts the parse back to abc. If I go back to it I'll probably add xml as an output).

Mick


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Subject: RE: BBC Radio 4 features abc
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 09:03 AM

Maybe since Bryan's already written an ABC converter he could adapt it to output MusicXML instead of Noteworthy format?

BarFly does it the other way round - it will import MusicXML but not export it. Phil's stopped developing it so the other way isn't going to happen.


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Subject: RE: BBC Radio 4 features abc
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 09:41 AM

Mick - thanks for the info. As I say, the computing has slipped way out of my experience (ask me about fungi and I am at home). I will investigate what is out there and if I find any of it useful, I might start a thread on that topic.
It might not be soon, though.
Quack!
Geoff.


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Subject: RE: BBC Radio 4 features abc
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 10:20 AM

abc2xml for Linux is also available on this page


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Subject: RE: BBC Radio 4 features abc
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 10:27 AM

Thanks Ed - I had already found that one by using the clues Mick provided.
There seem to be more than one "work in progress" out there including one using Java (abc4j ), but as I say, programming is not my field, so I don't understand their common idioms, or how their examples relate to reality as I know it.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: BBC Radio 4 features abc
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 12:26 PM

I'd forgotten about abc4j - I have version 0.1 and have just downloaded the new 0.5 version. Unfortunately it still only supports the 1.6 version of abc, which in particular means that youit can't handle the w: command for lyrics synchronised with the melody.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BBC Radio 4 features abc
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 04:00 AM

I seem to have (not deliberately) hi-jacked this thread - although it is keeping the date of the radio broadcast active - but perhaps ABC and XML deserves its own thread?
Would any of you object to me copying comments on the technical issues (I would edit out irrelevant bits - i.e. discussions of ABC not related to XML, John Cage sheet music etc.) and put them onto a new appropriately titled thread (e.g. Tech:ABC and MusicXML - or your better suggestion?).
I will wait until tomorrow to give time for responses - Use the PM system to not clutter the thread..

Mick - That is where your technical knowledge is invaluable. I wouldn't have a clue what is suported by different revisions of ABC.

Quack!
Geoff.


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Subject: RE: BBC Radio 4 features abc
From: GUEST,Mr Red
Date: 16 Jul 09 - 04:34 AM

You don't need to understand either notation to use ABC - it depends on what you use it for.
ABC - to audio is good enough for ears. If all you want is to hear the tune, and learn to the melody. As Louis Armstrong said about his ability to read staff notation - "not so much to get in the way of the music". And isn't it extremely infra-dig to play from the dots in a session?

There are plenty of good players (see this thread) and HARMONY was written by our own 'Catter pavane


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Subject: RE: Tech: convert ABC to MusicXML?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 04:38 AM

Hi Folks.
Just to try avoid confusion. This thread has been split at my request from a different thread advertising a BBC Radio 4 programme From Dots to Downloads, about use of ABC notation by musicians for swapping tunes via the internet.
Some of the comments may refer to discussions in the original thread. If they cause confusion, I apologise, but I thought this discussion was swamping the original thread, and also thought that it being in its own thread might bring in useful technical opinions who might not have read the earlier thread.
Quack!
Geoff.


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Subject: RE: Tech: convert ABC to MusicXML?
From: DMcG
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 04:41 AM

Several of the music notation programs can read ABC and write MusicXML. Harmony Assistant is one that can.


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Subject: RE: Tech: convert ABC to MusicXML?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 04:43 AM

I forgot to link back to the Original thread BBC Radio 4 features abc.
If anyone needs their own comments moved back to the original, I am sure Joe Offer will be happy to do so. Blame me for the hassle!
Sorry!

Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: convert ABC to MusicXML?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 05:12 AM

DMcG - fair comment.
My problem is that most of the things I do on a computer are simply for fun. I don't actually NEED to do any of them.
In this case, I could, by hand, re-type individual ABC tunes into one of the two score-setting programmes which I already have on my computer. I don't actually NEED a computer programme to do it for me, although I can appreciate that a quick automatic conversion would be useful, which is why I asked the question.
A problem I have often had with commercial programmes is that they may be very clever or powerful, but I only need one small item of what they do. All the other things in their list, I can do with other programmes I already have, or are things I don't want to do in the first place. MSWord may have whistles and bells, but all I need is something which I can use to write a letter.
I am sure that Harmony Assistant is a very good programme, but I can't justify spending around £50 just to convert ABC to XML when it is something I can do long-hand.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: convert ABC to MusicXML?
From: DMcG
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 05:20 AM

I agree Geoff. It's not the 'best' solution in the sense that there are freebies around that can be set up to do the job. I simply thought it might be worth listing it as one of the options available, albeit at a cost, for those who are less comfortable setting up several sets of software, creating BAT files or whatever.


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Subject: RE: Tech: convert ABC to MusicXML?
From: TheSnail
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 05:33 AM

Missed this on the original thread.

Jack Campin

Maybe since Bryan's already written an ABC converter he could adapt it to output MusicXML instead of Noteworthy format?

Perhaps "as well" rather than "instead". I like a challenge but I'm not sure that I can see enough use to me to motivate me.

The problem I found with writing the ABC/Noteworthy converter is that ABC is a mess. Lots of different developers went off and wrote their own programmes introducing their own ideas and idiosyncracies, often in completely incompatible ways. I wrote the original version according to the 1.6 definition and it worked fine on the test data. Then I tried it out on real world data and spent the next few months rewriting it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: convert ABC to MusicXML?
From: Tootler
Date: 17 Jul 09 - 05:19 PM

I normally import ABC to my notation processor (Noteworthy) by converting it to midi and then importing the midi. I use 5 Line Skink in Linux. It's a java program so platform independent and I find it works fine, though it is very fussy - your ABC syntax must be spot on, so you can sometimes spend a bit of time correcting syntax errors.

Mostly I get ABC files via JC's ABC tune finder and with those I simply select and download the midi directly.

I tried Note Edit and Muse Score and I wasn't keen on them, especially Muse Score. I am too used to Noteworthy so I now have Noteworthy running on Linux with Wine and it works fine.

Geoff


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Subject: RE: Tech: convert ABC to MusicXML?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 10 Apr 11 - 06:42 AM

A good ABC-to-MusicXML converter would be a great advantage. It would allow us to send our ABCs to owners of Finale or Sibelius etc. without losing their decorations.

Multiple parts (voices), lyrics, dynamics, and ordinary ornaments should be supported. These are sufficiently standardized in ABC, if only by the de-facto standard abc2pc. I would not worry about other fancy stuff.

Snail/Bryan, are you still on the project, or do you consider taking it up again, so that those "months" are not wasted?


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Subject: RE: Tech: convert ABC to MusicXML?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 10 Apr 11 - 06:46 AM

Sorry, that should be:
... de-facto standard abcm2ps ...


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Subject: RE: Tech: convert ABC to MusicXML?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 10 Apr 11 - 08:20 AM

As per 1st post, I obtained Portable_Ubuntu_for_Windows.

Win 7 .


So the AV package freaked out entirely....


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Subject: RE: Tech: convert ABC to MusicXML?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 10 Apr 11 - 08:17 PM

Re standards, while agreeing with the comments regarding abcm2ps, it is perhaps worth noting here that abc 2.0 is a standard now. So things like the w: that were stuck in a draft for ages are now "official".


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Subject: RE: Tech: convert ABC to MusicXML?
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 11 Apr 11 - 04:12 AM

The reason why I brought this thread up is that I have read the current discussion in the Yahoo group, and remembered Bryan's earlier efforts. It seems that progress is a snail (pun inevitable), and the arguments have not changed much since 2009, but from time to time new tools are being published. Thanks to all the programmers and organizers, including Jon.

Jon, as for "w:", it is not really a stroke of genius; I would have preferred a syntax putting the syllable right in front of the note (like "=Should"C). But if programmers have only waited for some standard to become official, voilà.


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Subject: RE: Tech: convert ABC to MusicXML?
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 11 Apr 11 - 06:01 AM

I didn't really mean that, griska.

When I started with folkinfo for example, the only standard was 1.6. There was the draft 1.7x. Lyrics and other bits were implemented by programs but handled differently.

One debate we had at folkinfo was whether to use abcm2ps which seemed to be the way abc was heading or whether to use abc2ps to ensure any of our postscript output would match the output used at the well known and very well established concertina.net, feeling that we as the new site would undoubtedly be thought wrong where differences such as word alignment occurred.

We opted to stick with abcm2ps and some time later, got in contact with Paul at concertina.net. He kindly switched his over to use abcm2ps so both have used the "defacto standard" for some time now.

That and a general "will our abc work properly with program x" and not having an official standard to refer to, are things I think as an attempted provider of abc conversions and text files to others are things I think one would prefer to be without.


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Subject: RE: Tech: convert ABC to MusicXML?
From: DMcG
Date: 11 Apr 11 - 07:02 AM

I haven't used it at all, but this site claims to do such conversion


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Subject: RE: Tech: convert ABC to MusicXML?
From: IvanB
Date: 12 Apr 11 - 12:16 AM

Using the site referenced above, I tried conversions of several tunes from Jack Campin's "chalumeau.abc" with little success. Since I'd trust Jack's abc transcriptions more than most anybody's, I have to suspect the converter's at fault.

Although it involves additional steps of converting an abc file into midi, opening in NWC and exporting the resulting score to nwctxt format, I've had good luck creating musicxml files with http://nwc2musicxml.appspot.com/


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