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Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies

Joe Offer 21 Apr 24 - 03:52 AM
DaveRo 21 Apr 24 - 05:01 AM
DaveRo 21 Apr 24 - 09:06 AM
DaveRo 21 Apr 24 - 01:01 PM
Jack Campin 21 Apr 24 - 03:55 PM
Joe_F 21 Apr 24 - 05:29 PM
Doug Chadwick 21 Apr 24 - 11:14 PM
Joe Offer 21 Apr 24 - 11:49 PM
Jack Campin 22 Apr 24 - 12:16 AM
DaveRo 22 Apr 24 - 03:18 AM
DaveRo 22 Apr 24 - 09:58 AM
leeneia 23 Apr 24 - 03:33 PM
GUEST 23 Apr 24 - 04:33 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 23 Apr 24 - 04:53 PM
NightWing 23 Apr 24 - 08:07 PM
Pappy Fiddle 24 Apr 24 - 12:11 AM
DaveRo 24 Apr 24 - 02:09 AM
DaveRo 24 Apr 24 - 02:51 AM
DaveRo 24 Apr 24 - 04:41 PM
Joe_F 24 Apr 24 - 09:26 PM
NightWing 25 Apr 24 - 01:04 AM
NightWing 25 Apr 24 - 01:33 AM
DaveRo 25 Apr 24 - 01:47 AM
Jack Campin 25 Apr 24 - 03:55 AM
DaveRo 25 Apr 24 - 12:38 PM
Jack Campin 25 Apr 24 - 01:06 PM
DaveRo 25 Apr 24 - 01:23 PM
leeneia 25 Apr 24 - 05:55 PM
Nigel Parsons 25 Apr 24 - 07:24 PM
Joe Offer 25 Apr 24 - 09:25 PM
DaveRo 26 Apr 24 - 01:47 AM
GUEST 26 Apr 24 - 06:50 AM
Long Firm Freddie 26 Apr 24 - 07:08 AM
Jack Campin 26 Apr 24 - 08:31 AM
GUEST,Grishka 26 Apr 24 - 02:47 PM
Joe_F 26 Apr 24 - 06:21 PM
GUEST 27 Apr 24 - 03:10 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 27 Apr 24 - 07:03 AM
GUEST 27 Apr 24 - 08:14 AM
GUEST,Grishka 27 Apr 24 - 01:54 PM
DaveRo 27 Apr 24 - 03:11 PM
GUEST 27 Apr 24 - 04:20 PM
Jack Campin 28 Apr 24 - 06:19 AM
GUEST 28 Apr 24 - 01:09 PM
GUEST 28 Apr 24 - 01:27 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 29 Apr 24 - 05:15 AM
Robert B. Waltz 29 Apr 24 - 07:17 AM
Jack Campin 29 Apr 24 - 08:37 AM
Robert B. Waltz 29 Apr 24 - 12:10 PM
GUEST,Howard Jones 29 Apr 24 - 01:31 PM
Robert B. Waltz 29 Apr 24 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,Grishka 29 Apr 24 - 05:11 PM
Joe_F 30 Apr 24 - 05:28 PM
GUEST,Michael Eskin 04 May 24 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,Michael Eskin 04 May 24 - 11:00 AM
GUEST,Michael Eskin 04 May 24 - 11:10 AM
GUEST,Michael Eskin 04 May 24 - 11:21 AM
GUEST,Michael Eskin 04 May 24 - 11:31 AM
GUEST,Michael Eskin 04 May 24 - 05:25 PM
DMcG 04 May 24 - 06:50 PM
DaveRo 19 May 24 - 03:21 AM
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Subject: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Apr 24 - 03:52 AM

I tried posting a MIDI to my Microsoft OneDrive today. I posted a "share" link in a thread on Mudcat, and I couldn't get it to work. Any suggestions for an easy way to post melodies? We've had this problem for 25 years.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: DaveRo
Date: 21 Apr 24 - 05:01 AM

Post it as ABC
X:1
T:Frere Jacques
M:4/4
L:1/4
K:C
 c d e c| c d e c| e f g2| e f g2| g/2a/2 g/2f/2 e c| g/2a/2 g/2f/2 e c|\
 c G c2| c G c2|


That can be played in numerous apps which many musicians will already be familiar with, and which also display the score. It can be played in web-based tools such as Paul Rosen's simple abcjs player, and Michael Eskin's complex one:

https://editor.drawthedots.com/
https://michaeleskin.com/abctools/abctools.html

Michael's web tool allows you to post the ABC in a link so it can be played:
Frère Jacques

No links to rot. No external players. All browser-based.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: DaveRo
Date: 21 Apr 24 - 09:06 AM

Joe Offer wrote: Any suggestions for an easy way to post melodies?
I suppose the answer must also depend on what you start with - a sound file, a score, a wax cylinder, or whatever.

I see this is the post you referred to. It doesn't play for me on Android - midi files rarely do, even without the complication of OneDrive. It occurred to me you might have played it on a midi keyboard: you can generate ABC from a midi device - I've done it with EasyABC and I expect other programs can do it too.

You can create ABC by scanning sheet music - I've done that too. There was a thread on that few months back on c.net comparing different apps (the good ones are expensive).


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: DaveRo
Date: 21 Apr 24 - 01:01 PM

That Microsoft OneDrive link to The Longest Song doesn't play within the OneDrive website in Firefox on Linux either. Perhaps it's Windows-only.

I can download it and play it in my midi player - tiMIDIty. Interestingly it displays the words, syllable by syllable, as it plays: I've not seen it do that before. I see that the midi file was created by Noteworthy Composer.

I opened it in EasyABC which converts it to ABC. With a bit of editing to reduce the length (including removing the word fragments) it looks like this:
X: 1
T:Longest Name Song
% midi created by Noteworthy Composers converted to ABC by EasyABC
%%barsperstaff 6
M: 3/4
L: 1/8
Q:1/4=140
K:C 
V:1
z4 G3/2z/2| E3/2z/2 D3/2z/2 C3/2z/2| c3/2z/2 c3/2z/2 c3/2z/2| 
d3/2z/2 c3/2z/2 B3/2z/2|c3-c/2z/2 d3/2z/2| e3/2z/2 d3/2z/2 c3/2z/2| 
c3/2z/2 B3/2z/2 A3/2z/2| G3/2z/2 A3/2z/2 F3/2z/2|G3-G/2z/2 G3/2z/2| 
E3/2z/2 D3/2z/2 C3/2z/2| c3/2z/2 c3/2z/2 c3/2z/2| d3/2z/2 c3/2z/2 B3/2z/2|
c3-c/2z/2 c3/2z/2| e3/2z/2 d3/2z/2 c3/2z/2| c3/2z/2 c3/2z/2 A3/2z/2| 
G3/2z/2 A3/2z/2 B3/2z/2|c4- c3/2z/2| G3/2z/2 G3/2z/2 E3/2z/2| 
G3-G/2z/2 c3/2z/2| G3-G/2z/2 E3/2z/2|D3-D/2z/2 C3/2z/2| 
D3/2z/2 D3/2z/2 E3/2z/2| F3-F/2z/2 D3/2z/2| A3-A/2z/2 F3/2z/2|
G3-G/2z/2 E3/2z/2| G3/2z/2 G3/2z/2 E3/2z/2| G3-G/2z/2 E3/2z/2| 
F3-F/2z/2 F3/2z/2|A4- A3/2z/2| G3-G/2z/2 G3/2z/2| B3-B/2z/2 B3/2z/2| 
d3/2z/2 c3/2z/2 A3/2z/2|G3-G/2z/2 G3/2z/2| G3-G/2z/2 E3/2z/2| 
G3-G/2z/2 E3/2z/2| F3-F/2z/2 F3/2z/2|F4- F3/2z/2| D3/2z/2 D3/2z/2 E3/2z/2| 
F3/2z/2 F3/2z/2 G3/2z/2| A3-A/2z/2 G3/2z/2|G4- G3/2z/2| G3-G/2z/2 E3/2z/2| 
G3-G/2z/2 E3/2z/2| F3/2z/2 F3/2z/2 F3/2z/2|A4- A3/2z/2| 
G3/2z/2 G3/2z/2 G3/2z/2| B3-B/2z/2 A3/2z/2| G3-G/2z/2 G3/2z/2|c4- c3/2


Here it is in Michael Eskin's ABC tool: Longest Name Tune

I don't know whether all those rests are necessary.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Apr 24 - 03:55 PM

MIDI fails on most platforms. It's always a bad choice for a public forum. Use ABC instead.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Joe_F
Date: 21 Apr 24 - 05:29 PM

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Use solfa. It is already working in the brain of any musically literate person.

d.r.m.d.d.r.m.d.
m.f.s...m.f.s...
slsfm.d.slsfm.d.
d.S.d...d.S.d...


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 21 Apr 24 - 11:14 PM

Use solfa. It is already working in the brain of any musically literate person.


I am musically literate but, while 'do re mi' and ' 'la ti' are obvious, when it comes to 'fa' and 'so', if I am searching for a random note in my head, I often have to start at 'do' again or refer to Julie Andrews. I am much happier with 'c d e ...'

Why is it 'solfa' when 'fa' comes before 'so'?

DC


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Apr 24 - 11:49 PM

Somebody, can you give us a short summary of solfa notation? I get the general idea, but I'm wondering about the length of notes and the upper case/lower case stuff.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Apr 24 - 12:16 AM

Curwen's book on sol-fa is free on the web.

It's also worth knowing jianpu, which is the same thing but using numbers rather than syllables.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: DaveRo
Date: 22 Apr 24 - 03:18 AM

Joe asked about 'the easiest way to post'. But I think there are three questions:
  1. Should the tune be stored in Mudcat itself - which means text. Or can it be a link to an outside server e.g, that Joe controls? That's the most important question IMO.
  2. What's the easiest way to post?
    • Who? Joe or a member without privileges?
    • What might they start from? Sheet music? A youtube video?
  3. What's easiest - or even usable - for the reader?
    • Must it be usable by folk with little musical background?
    • Should it be usable on mobile browsers - e.g. iPads
    • Must they be able to hear it played?
    • Could a javascript web player - e.g. for solfa - be but on the mudcat server so it could be played without external software?

ABC wins IMO if you want the tune to be within Mudcat - i.e. text. If it can be on a separate server then probably mp3 is easiest.

solfa is an interesting suggestion - especially if the poster can just write it with the tune in their head - tricky for complicated tunes I would have thought. Personally I'd find a score easier.

Anything that doesn't work on an iPad is useless IMO. (I don't use one, but a lot of musicians do and it's the most restrictive device.)


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: DaveRo
Date: 22 Apr 24 - 09:58 AM

DaveRo wrote: Michael's web tool allows you to post the ABC in a link so it can be played
So does Paul Rosen's simple player:

X:1
T:Frère Jacques
M:4/4
L:1/4
K:C
c d e c| c d e c| e f g2| e f g2|
g/2a/2 g/2f/2 e c| g/2a/2 g/2f/2 e c| c G c2| c G c2|


Frère Jacques

(You add ?t=xxxxx to the URL where xxxxx is the URL-encoded ABC code. There are online URL-encoders.)

Michael's web tool will generate the URL for you after you paste the ABC into it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: leeneia
Date: 23 Apr 24 - 03:33 PM

It seems to me that ABC notation would work as long as there are good people out there who offer conversion sites. I can take an ABC and turn it to sticks & dots easily. I use the converter at mandolintab.net

I used to use a different converter site, and then one day a notice appeared that the site had been bombarded by so many vandals (my language), that the operator was giving up and taking it down. I hope this kind of thing doesn't keep happening.

As for a solfa system, I am very musical, but I have never been able to listen to an interval and say whether it's a third, a fifth, or even an octave. That's the same as not being able to say whether it's do, mi or so. I've never figured out what you're supposed to do with those.

Joe, I salute you for wanting to post melodies, and I hope you are able to do it with little effort.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Apr 24 - 04:33 PM

The converter at mandolintab.net has not worked for months. The two by "good people" that DaveRo gave links to work and between them fill most simple and complex needs.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 23 Apr 24 - 04:53 PM

JOE - I thought this was settled a decade ago.

For simple, folk melodies, ABC is the way to go, on Mudcat.

It is good this type of question, returns.


Sincerely,
Gargoyle

For simple harmony ... I suggest, "Sibelius"


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: NightWing
Date: 23 Apr 24 - 08:07 PM

If MIDI is a problem (and it has been so here for a long time), then the ONLY other choice is ABC. Until solfa or jianpu has reliable webpages or applications to play it, they are just "not ready for prime time". (I dearly hope that jianpu never does: it's AWFUL!!!)

I would like to see something like the pages at The Session. Here is . The Longest Name isn't on the site.

The real question is why MIDI doesn't work. MIDI players are built-in to Windows, Mac, and Android (yes, Android!). I don't know about iPhone and I would assume they are NOT built-in to Unix/Linux, but there are certain to be dozens of players available for download. Most web browsers know how to deal with MIDI natively.

'For the fun of it', try going to BitMIDI. Select a song and click its link or click the Random MIDI button at upper right. Try ...
1) Click the link to download the song (below the button at the right). Once it completes the download, simply double-click the file. Does it play?
2) Click the link (below the button at the left) to play the song online. Does it play?

For me, BOTH methods worked in Windows, using Firefox (version 125.0.1) and using Google Chrome (version 124.0.63761.61), and on my Android, using the built-in "Samsung Internet" (version 242.0.7.1). And no, I've never explicitly installed any kind of MIDI player; it is built-in to Windows and the browsers can normally play them without any problem.

BB,
NightWing


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Pappy Fiddle
Date: 24 Apr 24 - 12:11 AM

I use integer notation a lot. My scale is 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 '0. To avoid double digits, X and H are used instead of 10 and 11. X is easy to remember, roman numeral 10. H looks like 11. So here's Mary Had a Little Lamb:

4 2 0 2 4 4 4 2 2 2 4 7 7
4 2 0 2 4 4 4 4 2 2 4 2 0
'0 7 7 9 7 H '0

It's easy to write down a quick tune I find in my head.

For a lower octave I use a comma, like ,7 and an apostrophe for a higher octave, like '5

Double quotes do fine for an even higher octave "2
I don't find any good symbol for an even lower one, I use ; until somethin' better comes along.

For chords, I just write 047 = tonic major. 037 = Tonic minor. 7H2 = dominant. 590 = subdom.

This can be quickly converted to ABC with a substitution table.

By the way, in ABC, I find this is cool:
L:1/1
Then a quarter note becomes c/4. An eighth note, c/8. So easy to understand quickly. Why struggle with TWO layers of complexity? based on a crazy system anyway, invented by (celibate) monks 700 years ago?

BTW-BTW, Colin Hume runs a pretty good online abc translator.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: DaveRo
Date: 24 Apr 24 - 02:09 AM

NightWing wrote: Click the link (below the button at the left) to play the song online. Does it play?
This is a Samsung Android tablet.

Android recognises that file as an audio file and offers to play it in one on the three music apps I have:
- Spotify - I installed it, won't play it - says it doesn't have the song
- VLC - I installed it, won't play it (no codec - there isn't one for Android I think)
- YouTube Music - I didn't install it - plays fine

I could set Android to play 'files of that type' in YouTube Music automatically in future - though I don't. Most people would.

[All of that happens with Joe's 'longestsong.mid' file too. It's theplaying within Microsoft Onedrive that appears to work but doesn't. It presumably recognises it's music but lacks a codec.]

Midi support is not 'built into' Android but opening correctly-described files in an app is, and a music player is often installed by default. So it might work, and might not.

[Linux is similar, except its file-type detection is more sophisticated. Android uses file-extensions like Windows, Linux mime-types.]

Opening .abc files in Android in a text editor can be a problem, btw, because they are not recocnised as text files.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: DaveRo
Date: 24 Apr 24 - 02:51 AM

All that was for the downloaded midi file.

The website itself plays the midi file too. Mudcat could build in a midi player too ;)


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: DaveRo
Date: 24 Apr 24 - 04:41 PM

I wondered what the bitMidi site uses to play midi in the browser. The author explains it here About bitMidi

So he's built a javascript library based on tiMIDIty - which is the default player in Linux. It's free and opensource: timidity


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Joe_F
Date: 24 Apr 24 - 09:26 PM

I thought everybody could sing a major scale: do re mi fa sol la ti do. It seems not.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: NightWing
Date: 25 Apr 24 - 01:04 AM

Joe F:

I expect that probably everyone can. But that doesn't necessarily make it a good choice to document tunes on a web site. For example, leeneia indicated that she can sing (so it's likely in the extreme that she can sing the scale). She said that she can't find any OTHER intervals than the scale degrees, in order.

Joe Offer asked how you can use it to indicate rhythm, upper octave, and lower octave. I can imagine several possibilities. But there is no standard way of doing so.

I want to know how you indicate accidentals. I seem to recall that you add -a or -i to the first letter to make sharps or flats, but I don't remember which. Again, there's not really a standard way of doing so.

Finally, much of Europe uses a "fixed do". That is, "do" literally means "C". Meanwhile, the States (and the UK?) uses a "relative do". IOW, "do" means the root of whichever key the song is in. Which way should MudCat use?

No, "do re me" simply has not even a vague hint of a standard. Without one, it is not a suitable method for indicating the tune on a site that is consulted by people around the world.

ABC is a recognized standard. If you can read Western music notation, you can learn to read ABC very quickly. I've been using it long enough that I can read it as quickly and easily as I read music. I literally make notes on tunes in ABC live, faster than I can write dots. For those who cannot read notation, there are plenty of online or downloadable tools to play ABC melodies and/or to display ABC in notation. ABC even has the capacity for harmony built into it.

For details, see https://abcnotation.com.

BB,
NightWing


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: NightWing
Date: 25 Apr 24 - 01:33 AM

Well, that's strange: When I downloaded Joe's MIDI file the other day, it wouldn't play. Today it does.

*shrug*

BB,
NightWing


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: DaveRo
Date: 25 Apr 24 - 01:47 AM

Here's another midi file to test whether you can play it:
https://revad.github.io/shared/frere-jacques.mid


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Apr 24 - 03:55 AM

On my iPhone - I get a prompt saying do I want to download it.

Suppose I do. Then what?


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: DaveRo
Date: 25 Apr 24 - 12:38 PM

I would expect it to go into the 'downloads' folder of your browser. That's what happens in Firefox for iOS. It might then offer to open it in an app you have, or offer to find an app in the App Store which is capable of opening a .mid file.

You can also use Apple's 'Files' app to list the files in the browser's download folder. Tapping the .mid file should do something similar.

Like all things in iOS it varies between dead easy and bafflingly complicated.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Apr 24 - 01:06 PM

As far as I know I don't have an app on my phone that can play MIDI. It doesn't seem to be built in to iOS.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: DaveRo
Date: 25 Apr 24 - 01:23 PM

I didn't know that I had an app on my Android device - YouTube Music - which is capable of playing midi. I was quite surprised.

I've had other Android devices over the years which had other media players. I can't remember which ones played midi, if any. I mostly used them to play mp3, aac, mp4, etc.

Also midi files vary - some are served from the webserver with the wrong file extension or mime-type. So you might be able to play some and not others.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: leeneia
Date: 25 Apr 24 - 05:55 PM

How does abcnotation.com do it? Can you click here and there on that site and get some clues?


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 25 Apr 24 - 07:24 PM

There's an introduction here: lesession
First pages give you the basics, and then builds from there.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Apr 24 - 09:25 PM

I guess I'm going to have to learn ABC notation. Throughout the history of Mudcat, it is the one format that has endured. At one point, I almost had it down, but then it seemed so much easier to transcribe tunes into Noteworthy Composer and convert them to MIDI and post them to Mudcat and then to my own Website. But FTP to Mudcat failed, and then I couldn't FTP to my own Website. So, I've been stuck for about three years, and it sucks. But ABC is still here, so I guess I'd better learn it.
Is there an app that I can use that will make it easy for me to transcribe notation to ABC?
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: DaveRo
Date: 26 Apr 24 - 01:47 AM

Joe Offer wrote: Is there an app that I can use that will make it easy for me to transcribe notation to ABC?
I use David Zemsky's Sheet Music Scanner and Reader on my Android tablet - there's an iPad version too. It cost a few pounds when I bought it.

I can photograph the dots and it will play it. It doesn't export to ABC but it exports to MusicXML and there are several apps and programs which will import MusicXML and give you ABC, including Michael Eskin's webtools and EasyABC.

Another app, Playscore 2, is better at interpreting scores but is much more expensive than my Android Music Scanner, and you need a subscription to the 'pro' version to export MusicXML.

Once you have ABC it's just text. All the issues with files and operating systems is irrelevant: people can copy and paste it. And if you put ABC in a post you can also provide a link to play it immediately, as I did earlier with Paul Rosen's ABCjs Quick Editor. That link may fail in future, but the ABC will remain.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Apr 24 - 06:50 AM

The 'ABC Cheat Sheet' on Paul Rosen's ABCjs Quick Editor https://editor.drawthedots.com/ (click the Help button) is concise and has everything (and more) needed for single melodies. Examples to help pick up the essentials of ABC are all over the web.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Long Firm Freddie
Date: 26 Apr 24 - 07:08 AM

For abc I'd recommend Michael Eskin's abc tools site: abc tools

There is a comprehensive user guide that starts with the basics: user guide for abc tools

LFF


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Jack Campin
Date: 26 Apr 24 - 08:31 AM

The problem with Eskin's stuff is that it fails on a lot of existing ABC and he has zero interest in making it compatible. Writers just have to do it his way and being dead is no excuse for not going along. The only previous ABC implementor we've had who thought like that was Jim Vint (ABC2WIN).


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 26 Apr 24 - 02:47 PM

There is a tool nwc2abc that takes NWC files to ABC. If it works for you, it may be your best choice.

Going via MIDI files with the usual tools works OK for about 90% of all folk tunes, but the spelling of accidental accidentals may go wrong, e.g. a flat instead of g sharp. Some tools are better than others, but none can be perfect.

If you are happy with either solution, there is no need to learn ABC for the current purpose. On the other hand, some virtuosos believe it to make for faster input than handling with the mouse, or drawing five lines on a sheet of toilet paper when inspiration strikes. Others (including myself) appreciate that ABC code can be read from the web page directly - after some training.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Joe_F
Date: 26 Apr 24 - 06:21 PM

I apologize for my rudeness in connection with solfa. I shouldn't have used language that appeared to suggest that solfa was a well-established system of musical notation that everyone ought to know & use. What I meant was: Solfa, suitably abbreviated, lends itself to a way of jotting down tunes that is easy to read thereafter. If I use it on the Web, I always briefly explain it on the spot: something like "(Scale is drmfsltDRMFSLT.)". As exemplified there, I eke it out with capital letters if the tune contains notes higher or lower than the octave. If it spills over in both directions (not very common), I have to define somethings special. Likewise if there are accidentals.

If I want to indicate the rhythm, I used dots to indicate extension of a note by a suitably short time. Thus, "Yankee Doodle" comes out ddrmdmr. ddrmd.TS ddrmfmrd TSLTd.d. etc.

I *am* rather surprised to learn that the names of the notes (which I gather originated in the syllables of a medieval hymn) are no longer widely known. In my youth they were even alluded to in show tunes.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Apr 24 - 03:10 AM

Mr Eskin's stuff mainly uses the same code (by Paul Rosen) as Paul Rosen's editor, thesession.org and most other recent setups that run in a browser. It works with the ABC code that has been current for years

Being dead is no justification for holding everyone else back.

Someone starting anew will do fine with it - and using software that does support superseded features may lead to habits that cause a problem down the line.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 27 Apr 24 - 07:03 AM

The specific thing with Rosen's and Eskin's code that screws things up for me: they insist that all gracenotes are implicitly slurred, and if you write them explicitly slurred, it screws up the whole display of the tune with slurs going everywhere. For my transcriptions, I write what I see in the original: people often mix slurred and unslurred gracenotes. I'm not making that decision: whoever wrote that tune down 200 years ago did. The distinction between the two ways of writing gracenotes may or may not be significant in the context - but you don't want a software implementor setting their own rules to rule out constructs that have always been acceptable in standard music notation and which you could count on an ABC implementation respecting in every platform previously.

I can't change any of the ABC I've posted to the web - not only can I not update my own site now, my ABC has been copied to many other places (including Mudcat) where I've never had way to change it.   And I'm not the only one to do this. The time I have put in to doing ABC transcriptions accurately is FAR greater than the time Eskin and Rosen have put into their implementations. Every other implementor I've been in contact with (almost all of them) has been willing to fix bugs when their system fails on something in the existing ABC corpus. This one CAN'T be hard to fix - just don't invoke the slur generating code by default when there's a gracenote in the source.

You don't get compiler implementors deciding to change operator precedence for code written before they were born. You don't get spellchecker implementors deciding to relegislate the rules of English. You accept the way the users write and the way the standards have it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Apr 24 - 08:14 AM

Sounds like you need to engage with Paul Rosen rather than Micheal Eskin then.

You can't mix slurred and non-slurred grace notes in EasyABC either. Or anything else that uses abcm2ps - as, I believe, did the mandolintab.net converter. So it's probably not and issue for most people. Choosing which is an extension to ABC supported by Paul Rosen's code.

I doubt it's an issue for a "new standard" for posting melodies here.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 27 Apr 24 - 01:54 PM

Joe Offer, please tell us whether you tried nwc2abc, and what problems arose, if any. Or have we misunderstood your wishes - writing ABC without having to learn it?

Displaying and playing ABC code is the user's part. There are many tools around for many tastes. Those of us who do not need publishable sheet music will hardly worry about too many slurs at grace notes, although I think this should be regulated in the standard document. (Who is in charge of that at the moment, de facto? Jef Moine?)

ABC notation is not the easiest such language, but the one for which most tools exist, and reasonably easy in most cases. If you want to learn it, I'm sure you'll manage.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: DaveRo
Date: 27 Apr 24 - 03:11 PM

Importing Noteworthy Composer files can be done with EasyABC. nwc2abc is included (I assume) in the installable version of EasyABC which can be got from here. (I've not used that feature.)

It would be interesting to compare the ABC of the Longest Name Song converted from NWC to the version I posted up-thread which was converted from the NWC midi file, which had all those rests.

[Slightly OT: Users of EasyABC who know how to run it using Python may be interested in my post on c.net here.]


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Apr 24 - 04:20 PM

Does EasyABC do it via nwc2xml? A note in the bin folder of the 1.3.8.7 source download (thanks for that OT info) suggests it might.

Getting a bit technical for the original question but it's one of those situations where some things that worked ten years ago and we got used to still work but a few don't.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Apr 24 - 06:19 AM

I use abcm2ps and it doesn't have a problem with writing explicit slurs on gracenotes. Rosen's code introduced that bug.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Apr 24 - 01:09 PM

But will it do mixed slurred and non-slurred in the same tune?


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Apr 24 - 01:27 PM

Properly that is, not under the beams of notes with downward pointing stems.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 29 Apr 24 - 05:15 AM

Joe_F, I am familiar with the concept of solfa, but only in the major key and I don't know how to deal with accidentals. But I'm not trained to sing in it, and I couldn't decipher a tune written out in it. In order to make sense of a tune written in solfa I would have to convert it to notation (although I don't read music well), and I would probably use ABC to do this.

ABC has become the default format for folk tunes. There are many collections of tunes on the internet, and it is used by the Traditional Tune Archive, the Morris Ring, the Village Music Project, and many others. There are plenty of online resources and free apps which will convert ABC into notation and play it back as MIDI, and it can also be imported into many score writing programmes. If you don't like the way a particular app or site deals with it there are probably others which will suit your needs.

Apart from its own merits as a format for music on the internet, for the sake of consistency with other folk music resources then ABC seems to me to be the way for Mudcat to go.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 29 Apr 24 - 07:17 AM

Howard Jones wrote: Joe_F, I am familiar with the concept of solfa, but only in the major key and I don't know how to deal with accidentals. But I'm not trained to sing in it, and I couldn't decipher a tune written out in it. In order to make sense of a tune written in solfa I would have to convert it to notation (although I don't read music well), and I would probably use ABC to do this.

But the flip side is that ABC uses absolute pitches and sol-fa uses relative pitches, and relative pitches are what generally matters in folk songs. Sol-fa, in general, is better for singing; ABC is better for instruments. Which is easier will depend on education, I think. I'm old enough that I has some elementary school music instruction, using primarily note names (do, re, mi). For someone like me, sol-fa would be easier to learn than ABC. For someone taught to play piano (say), ABC will be easier.

This is not an argument for either; it's merely an argument that one should be aware of the strengths of each. Then it's time to decide which one to prefer. :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Apr 24 - 08:37 AM

There are lots of easily accessible utilities for transposing ABC. It's instantaneous and most of them are very reliable.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 29 Apr 24 - 12:10 PM

Jack Campin wrote: There are lots of easily accessible utilities for transposing ABC. It's instantaneous and most of them are very reliable.

If this is in response to me, that's true but not the point I'm making. Can you sing "Do mi sol"? If you had even the minimal training I had, you can. Can you sing "A C# E"? I cannot, without a pitch pipe; I don't have perfect pitch. Sol-fa tells you how to sing a melody; ABC, for singing, requires either perfect pitch or translation into a scale.

Now maybe most people can't use sol-fa for that, because they weren't trained for scale singing in today's music classes. And I couldn't use sol-fa for that in, say, Lydian mode (for two reasons: first, I can't sing a Lydian scale, and second, I don't know how it would be transcribed :-). But the point I'm trying to make is that sol-fa is human-readable (relatively); ABC is less human-readable but more machine-readable.

So which is preferable? If the goal is playback, then ABC; if the goal is sing-back, then maybe sol-fa. :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST,Howard Jones
Date: 29 Apr 24 - 01:31 PM

You make a valid point, but I wonder how many Mudcat users can read fully-featured solfa, with all the dots and dashes it uses to show note durations and which would be needed to convey melodies? I didn't have even the minimal voice training you did, and I can't sing "Doh mi sol" without singing the scale first top remind me of the intervals. I learned to sing a scale from doh to doh, but nothing more.

Solfa may be human-readable, but once you start adding the dots and dashes it becomes considerably less so without a lot more training. At a glance, to me that looks no easier to read than ABC (which being text can be read without the help of a computer)

Whether solfa or ABC is chosen think most Mudcat users will rely on computer software to translate it into something they can use, whether that is notation or a MIDI playback. However ABC has become the standard for sharing folk tunes and a lot of folk musicians use it, and to me it would seem odd for Mudcat to choose something different.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Robert B. Waltz
Date: 29 Apr 24 - 03:20 PM

Howard Jones wrote: Whether solfa or ABC is chosen think most Mudcat users will rely on computer software to translate it into something they can use, whether that is notation or a MIDI playback. However ABC has become the standard for sharing folk tunes and a lot of folk musicians use it, and to me it would seem odd for Mudcat to choose something different.

Actually, I incline to agree with you. Most people can't really read either notation with any ease -- nor staff notation, for that matter. They aren't trying to read the tunes on Mudcat; they just want some sort of machine playback to hear the tune. And, for that, ABC is generally better.

Of course, MIDI is also better, and it lets the person who supplies the MIDI put in a true accompaniment and make the piece sound good. But the flip side is that no one can possibly read MIDI :-), and it doesn't translate to staff notation well.

Again, the point I'm making is not that any of these systems is superior to the others. Each has strengths and weaknesses, and each works best for a particular need. What I'm getting at is that we should not be arguing about which format is best. We should be arguing about what are the needs of Mudcat users, and choose the format that fits that.

You are probably right that that is ABC, because it is both relatively playable and relatively easy to convert to staff notation (sol-fa fails on the former, MIDI on the latter). But we should be asking the question first. The argument about the format follows that. :-)


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 29 Apr 24 - 05:11 PM

People who are trained reading sheet music will be able to read ABC code in the usual keys (up to two flats or sharps), with reasonably little learning effort. The others are likely to rely translation to MIDI anyway.

Any sol-fa system is in a sense equivalent to notation in C major or A minor, which can be done with ABC as well. As I wrote before, this system has its drawbacks and idiosyncrasies, but now it's here to stay. I learned it while reading Mudcat threads and was reasonably successful with it before I ever took a look at the documentation or tutorial.

I would like to read more tunes posted in ABC notation again on Mudcat. Composers can post their own pieces as ABC code before they study and perform them, and ask for comments and advice.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: Joe_F
Date: 30 Apr 24 - 05:28 PM

The minor scale in solfa is ltdrmfsL, with a warning necessary if one is dealing with the so-called harmonic minor, with sharped sol. I agree that that is a nuisance -- I cannot sing a minor tune in solfa without thinking (tho my mother could).


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST,Michael Eskin
Date: 04 May 24 - 10:51 AM

Hi, Michael here...

Yeah, Jack has been trash-talking my tools for a while now, and he's right about lack of compatibility with some older ABC files.

I'm at the mercy of abcjs, so while I'm sorry Jack has issues with my tool, he should take it up with Paul Rosen, the developer of abcjs.

I have on several occasions suggested to he stick with whatever workflow he currently uses, but he seems to revel in trashing me and my tools.

I'm trying to work around the limitations in abcjs the best I can, but I'll be the first to admit, it may not be the best option for everyone. If you don't like it, don't use it.

On the flip side, thousand of people are using my tools each week, and the vast majority don't have the entitled attitude Jack expresses. Most actually find the tool to be very useful and probably the best sounding ABC player and tune training system available.


Michael


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST,Michael Eskin
Date: 04 May 24 - 11:00 AM

If you're interested in fa-so-la Solfège, my ABC tool supports injecting Solfège note names for several systems. It's even possible to have it sing the note names:

https://michaeleskin.com/abctools/userguide.html#advanced_shapenoteshapes

https://youtu.be/vwIVW55WOB4?si=PvoT7hmV9YvYbsdu


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST,Michael Eskin
Date: 04 May 24 - 11:10 AM

Also, I recently added the ability to import MIDI files directly into the tool. Your mileage may vary depending on the MIDI file creator.

You can also export MIDI from the Player in the tool along with .MP3, .WAV, as well as image export in PNG, JPG, snd SVG along with my fairly powerful PDF generator.

MusicXML import and export are also supported.

The tool is at:
https://michaeleskin.com/abc

Detailed User Guide:
https://michaeleskin.com/userguide


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST,Michael Eskin
Date: 04 May 24 - 11:21 AM

If you think ABC is just for simple melodies, think again: :-)

These are all in ABC, recorded directly from my tool:

https://youtu.be/EcjPYjH1S4w?si=3KYIFvKsa3YwOQHF

https://youtu.be/ixSHCTz_pcc?si=FyueKpfm8FcXxd-R

https://youtu.be/vc_45-WFeWo?si=7wkK6T0l_ydviAZ6


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST,Michael Eskin
Date: 04 May 24 - 11:31 AM

Sorry for all the messages, but I do want to address Jack Campin's assertion that somehow my custom annotations are going to pollute the pool of ABC tunes.

All of my custom annotations for things like reverb, swing, and ornamentation rendering settings used for playback are done using ABC comment based syntax. To every other ABC tool, they are No-ops.

There is zero chance of them interfering with other ABC tools, they will just ignore them.

Additionally, these custom features really are enhancements not addressed in the ABC standard for example, dealing with some of my custom playback reverb settings options, setting timing parameters for Irish roll rendering, or adding hyperlinks to tunes. My custom comment-based annotations were my way of dealing with this in a "do no harm" way.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: GUEST,Michael Eskin
Date: 04 May 24 - 05:25 PM

By the way, I think ABC is a great way to exchange melodies.

If you're limited to text here, there really isn't a better system I can think of at this time.

It's very easy to read.

There are existing open source databases of tens of thousands of tunes that are readily searchable. I have over 65,000 traditional Irish tunes available in my tool.

You can easily generate notation or play it with many tools, including mine.

Using tools like mine you can easily transcode it to MusicXML or MIDI or transcode MusicXML or MIDI back to ABC.

It's able to represent anything from simple one-line melodies to full orchestral scores.

You can easily generate tablature from it for many instruments

It uses a very limited set of characters and symbols, so compresses well for generation of share links that actually contain the tunes, as I create for my interactive PDF tune books.

Those are just a few reasons I find ABC to be a very concise way to share tunes.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: DMcG
Date: 04 May 24 - 06:50 PM

I am very late to this discussion, but I have used the big brother to 'Melody Assistant' for decades. Melody Assistant lasted me several years before I wanted a few extra features and upgraded.

You can use Melody Assistant free for as long as you like (with some limitations on length of tune, I think) or buy a lifetime licence for $40 once you know it suits your needs.

It can import and export in ABC and MIDI and many other things, as well as produce reasonable scores.

All of the songs which I loaded onto Jon Freeman's folkinfo site, now hosted by Joe Offer, are driven by ABC which I created from Melody/Harmony Assistant.


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Subject: RE: Tech: New standard needed for posting melodies
From: DaveRo
Date: 19 May 24 - 03:21 AM

The limitations of the free version of Melody Assistant are:
no clef or time signature change, export limited to a few seconds, watermark on printed pages.
There is currently a discussion going on in abcusers about converting a score in pdf to ABC: PDF to abc Conversion

I mentioned upthread that I use David Zemsky's Sheet Music Scanner and Reader on my Android tablet to do that - it converts from pdf, the camera, or a screenshot. It's not perfect but it's cheap. But that thread mentions Audiveris - which I'd not heard of and is free.

All these tools convert the score to musicXML whence you can import it into EasyABC, Michael Eskin's webtool, and probably several other programs.
But, as Roger says on that thread, if you you can sight-read dots and mentally convert them into letters (as opposed to buttons or frets) and if you know ABC well, then you may be better off just transcribing the tune manually.


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