TPAC/2014/session/Music Notation Markup

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Music Notation Markup

  • Proposer: Joe Berkovitz
  • Speakers: Michael Good, Joe Berkovitz

The Web Audio API is now opening the Web Platform up to many musical applications. At the same time, the proposed Web MIDI API connects the Web to an important pre-existing protocol describing real-time music performances, namely MIDI.

In our session we'll look at music notation in particular, and the potential for the Web to address this important part of our culture. We will begin with a brief tour of some illustrative applications, followed by a short presentation on an existing open-source standard markup language, MusicXML developed by Michael Good which, like MIDI, is heavily used today in the music software industry. We're also interested in bringing contributors and experts on other markup languages into the discussion, notably MEI. After that we'd like to have an open discussion of the potential for a W3C spec describing the semantics and visual organization of music notation. While the domain of notated music may not merit the effort of built-in browser implementations, next-generation notation markup designed with the Web ecosystem in mind could be good for both music application vendors and the overall community.

There may also be opportunities to connect with work being done by the Digital Publishing IG that is looking at other domain-specific markup languages such as MathML.

Links to Presentations

File:MusicMarkup.pdf (Joe Berkovitz: Music Markup for the Web Ecosystem)

File:MusicXML W3C Plenary 2014.pdf (Michael Good: Music Notation, MusicXML and the W3C)

Discussion Minutes

List of Comments

- Does MusicXML community exist and do they want this?
- Something about enabling "business to consumers"...?
- Lots of attributes per note, couldn't they be grouped and then called as a group?
- MusicXML uses "english" terms ("c", not "do")
- 3 companies don't use it: Does moving to W3C help?
  ... No. They aren't concerned about notation and scores very much
- What is problem with WG making a TR? 
  ... Membership cost is a problem. Overhead (travel/time) is expensive.
- What about over time?
  ... Unknown.
- What are tech reasons for previous standards organization failures?
  ... too complicated
- Only useful for Common Western Music Notation?
  ... could be expanded, maybe.
  ... but music systems do vary a lot
- Use Case: Music and Text interleaving
- W3C process: start with community group, then see what happens
- How does MusicXML compare to other formats?
  Joe: Would like to improve interactivity in styling choices
       Would like to improve how musical time is represented.
  
  MG: Designed as archival format, backwards compatible.
      Would like to add features not change features.
      MEI is a format for scholars, but there could be some sharing.

- What is timeline for industry to implement a change, or an add?
  ... Not all apps implement all features
  ... Larger tier developers should respond within a year

- Annotation: Current W3C standard should also work for Music

- Accessibility: Is there a way to print in Braille? (Yes)

- We have XML formats that disciplines use (MathML) but browsers do not support them?
  ... Browsers are not going to implement natively, so need libraries

- MG: MakeMusic probably can't do anything with IP for six months or more
  ... Can we start user group now, and would it make sense?
  ... Can we just accept MusicXML without changes?
  ... Or do we do it so that the group can propose new solutions?

- Next steps: Joe and Michael to discuss how to move forward

- MG: Would be nice of Steinberg would also transfer SMuFL