Basic Notation features (e.g. accents)

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scriabiner's picture
scriabiner
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Basic Notation features (e.g. accents)

tl;dr: Let us place some accents and "dolce"s inside Synfire which will then be exported to both XML and LilyPond.
If you also need this, please support the thread with your comments and opinions.

 

basic_notation.jpg

In the sketch picture, two symbols with accent and staccato markings

 

Notation is IMHO very important for a software that wants to be a music prototyping software. Synfire's (and other composition programs') goal is not, obviously, to create beautiful scores, because they already have so many other things to do; therefore advanced notation things (and certainly style and pagination) should be done externally with programs like MuseScore or Dorico.

This however means that exporting should be complete and functional (hopefully we're getting there?) and that it should also include some basic notation indications like e.g. accents, in order to make the process of notation less tedious. Not only it's tedious to e.g. put all the accents in a very long piece, but if you were to change anything in Synfire and re-export, you would have to do all that work again.

Therefore, the feature that I ask for is very simple, and I think not technically hard to do at all: let us apply some basic notation markings to segments and/or symbols.
If needed, in order to avoid GUI cluttering for those that won't need this feature, simply make it off by default and let the user activate it via Preferences.

 

Pro:

  • Extreme improvement in the workflow for those who care about notation.

Cons:

  • None

 

A list of the most useful features that come to mind:

  • Before anything else: comments; just text for the composer; could be exported e.g. as a <words> element, maybe with some color for easier individuation. A first version could be just this and nothing else.
  • Accents, staccatos, trills and tenutos applied to symbols
  • Tempo indications (that the user can simply manually type, e.g. rallentando); just text!
  • Expressive markings (that the user can simply manually type, e.g. crescendo, rubato, or dolce); no need for hairpins

For missing features, one can simply type comments and then apply the actual thing via one's favorite notation software program.

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andre's picture
andre
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The idea to add additional tags is fine. At least for tuplets that would make sense. Automatic detection of tuplets is really hard (ambiguity). 

The notation export was originally intended for songwriters to export a lead sheet with chords and lyrics. Over time it got more extensive.

scriabiner's picture
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This idea was actually more for accents and similar things. For tuplets it would be very much preferable to have a different feature dedicated to that, well integrated into Synfire, and it would probably require a bit more work than what I was proposing here. And it would probably have to work with groups of notes instead of single notes.

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scriabiner
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OP and thread title updated

Discarded the old idea of exporting just "comments" and simply asking for basic notation support, which is practically the exact same thing from a technical point of view.

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scriabiner
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Do you think there's any chance of implementing comments/text only, any soon? Because I've got the hang of MuseScore's plugins development, so if you implement exporting comments to notation in Synfire (either as a StaffText element or whichever), which I suppose is very easy to do, then with QML I could do everything else that I need.

There would still be the tuplets issues, but even those can be worked around with this feature: add to a segment the text "7:5", and then I can, either manually or via plugins, adjust that measure.

If you do this, then you can basically forget about notation for quite a while (except the MIDI resolution increase thingy for tuplets, that's very much needed), so it sounds like a good deal. :)

By the way, there's not even the need for the visualization right now, even just a super simple asterisk near the segment (or something like that) to indicate that there is a comment there, would be enough for now; I just need this functionality very badly. And it will always be needed even if Synfire later gets crazy internal notation support anyway, because there will always be something that you can only do via notation editors.

It will also be useful for users who do not program, because plugins for the various notation editors could be shared by the community.

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andre
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Attaching text to a segment is not a problem.

It's not clear how to export this information to MusicXML. How to express which notes are included, to which voices it applies. Extending MusicXML is beyond our capacity. Maybe you know a particular tag that could be used.

Rhythmic information becomes meaningless once you move or stretch a segment. Attaching anything that depends on absolute position and other context violates a core principle of Synfire: Everything is movable, transformable and reusable. There must be a very strong and popular use case to break with that rule.

For the same reason it is not possible to edit MIDI output in Synfire. Or edit the pixels of a rendered scene in Blender.

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scriabiner
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Last seen 46 min 57 sec ago

Yep.

You know, I liked the idea of doing everything with a single software, but it's not going to happen. I'm going to give up with that vision and use Synfire in its intended way to generate some brief musical ideas, and subsequently, for my particular user case, I need to move the idea as soon as possible to Dorico; which can recently do both notation and playback in a way that can be released as a final product without too much hassle. This was not possible just a few years ago (at least if one has high standards in both of these areas).

I've still reported some actual issues and gave some ideas for Synfire that you thankfully implemented, so it's already more usable for me than when I started.

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