Using MusicXML and MIDI for Sharing Notation Files

Using MusicXML and MIDI for Sharing Notation Files

David Brian Williams
coach4Technology.net
Illinois State University

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Notation Software

Level:

All Levels

Class:

Music Technology

Equipment:

A computer with Finale 2007-2008 (or PrintMusic) or Sibelius 4 or 5 installed

Duration:

45+ Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Basic computer skills and previous beginning experience with Sibelius or Finale

NAfME Standards of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME Standards of 1994: Composing and Arranging Music within specified guidelines.
NAfME Standards of 1994: Reading and notating music.

NAfME 2014: Creating 

Materials:

*Sibelius 4 or 5 (with or without Recordare’s Dolet Plug-in) OR Finale 2007 or 2008 OR PrintMusic 2008
*Recordare Dolet MusicXML plug-in for Sibelius (necessary to be able to write MusicXML from Sibelius)
*Copy of the TI:ME newsletter article on MusicXML (attached)
*Sample MIDI and MusicXML files (attached)
*URL to the Recordare website on MusicXML: http://www.recordare.com
*Student Worksheet for the activities below (attached)

For the complete set of attachments, download the ZIP file provided

Objectives:

At the conclusion of this lesson, the students will have
–an understanding of the difference in coding music for performance (MIDI) and coding music for display (SIB, MUS, and MusicXML)
–an understanding of using MusicXML and MIDI for sharing notation between Sibelius, Finale or PrintMusic
–skill in opening and saving MIDI and MusicXML scores in a notation program
–the ability to transfer notation files between music applications
–some knowledge of the other applications for MusicXML

Procedures:

To prepare for this lesson, the teacher may download and copy the handouts and sample files for the activity. The teacher should also prepare by checking the computers to ensure that the selected music notation software is in working order (see below), and that the teacher computer and projector are ready for demonstration. If available, install the Recordare Dolet plug-in for Sibelius.

Note:
Finale 2007 and 2008 will import and export MusicXML 1.1; the demo version will import MusicXML.
Sibelius 4 and 5 will import MusicXML 1.1 and export MusicXML 1.1 with the Dolet Plug-in from Recordare; the demo version will also import MusicXML.
For a demo version or lower-cost option that fully imports and exports MusicXML, PrintMusic 2008 is a good solution.

Intro: Teacher with student interaction (30 Minutes)
Using the article and the Recordare website information on MusicXML the teacher provides an overview of MusicXML and MIDI files and engages t! he class in a discussion of the differences in coding music for performance (MIDI) and for notation and display (MusicXML and the native file types for Sibelius, SIB, and Finale, MUS). What other music programs do the students use that read and write MIDI files? What type of files does the class notation software use?

Using the demonstration files for “Lady Sweet and Kind,” illustrate the distinctions between MIDI and MusicXML by importing the MIDI version of a composition and a MusicXML version (see demo files included in the lesson package) and have the class observing the difference in the results. How do the different version look compared to the original? How do they sound? What file extensions are used for the different file formats (i.e., XML, MID, MUS, and SIB).

Class Exploration: Students work on their own or in pairs at the computer (Choose as many tasks as will fit within the class time available)

Lab with Finale or Print Music as the! primary notation software. Finale can import (open) and export (save ) MusicXML 1.1 and MIDI files without needing the Dolet Plug-in from Recordare. Adding the plug-in will provide MusicXML 2.0 and other advanced features.

Each student is assigned to a computer to work through the following tasks (or pair the students to work together at a workstation):

1. Locate where the Finale program provides an Open or Import option for MIDI and MusicXML; then locate where the Finale program provides a Save or Export option for MIDI and MusicXML.

2. Import into Finale, the original Finale MUS file for “Lady Sweet and Kind.” View and play this file to use as a point of comparison. Then import the MusicXML and MIDI demo files created in Sibelius and provided for this lesson. Study the differences in the display of the music notation. Identify three key differences in how the MIDI file import looks over the MusicXML file. How good does the Sibelius MusicXML file look to the original Finale version? How does the MIDI file sound c! ompared to the original? The MusicXML file sound?

3. Open any of the demo music files that came with Finale (“Sample Files”) or a student composition created with Finale and save them (export them) as MusicXML and MIDI. A piano, choral, or small ensemble demo file would work best for a first attempt. The Bach or the Latin Percussion “Sample Files” with Finale make interesting tests of MusicXML and MIDI file conversion. Now import them back into Finale. Again, study the differences in how well the translation works in terms of the display of music notation for a MIDI and a MusicXML version. How do they look? How do they sound?

4. Search the Web for a product called “MusicRAIN.” How is MusicXML used with this product? How might the students use MusicRAIN with their music compositions? Search the Web for software called “FreeDots.” How does it use MusicXML and how could you put it to good use? Can you find one more software product that uses MusicXML?
!
Lab with Sibelius as the primary notation software. Sibelius can import (open) MIDI and MusicXML; Sibelius can export MIDI; Sibelius can export MusicXML with the Recordare Dolet Plug-in.

1. Locate where the Sibelius program provides an Open or Import option for MIDI and MusicXML; then locate where the Sibelius program provides a Save or Export option for MIDI and MusicXML (if Dolet Plug-in available).

2. Import into Sibelius, the original Finale SIB demo file for “Lady Sweet and Kind.” View and play this file to use as a point of comparison. Import into Sibelius, the MusicXML and MIDI demo files created in Finale and provided for this lesson. Study the differences in the display of the music notation. Identify three key differences in how the MIDI file import looks over the MusicXML file. How good does the Finale MusicXML file look in Sibelius? How does the MIDI file sound compared to the original? The MusicXML file sound?

3. Open any of the demo music files that came with Sibelius (“Example Files”) or a st! udent composition created with Sibelius and save them (export them) as MIDI and MusicXML (if the Dolet plug-in is available). A piano, choral, or small ensemble demo file would work best for a first attempt (e.g., “Boogie Mechanico” in the Playback folder or “Bebop” in the Jazz folder) import them back into Sibelius. Again, study the differences in how well the translation works in terms of the display of music notation. If a copy of Finale is not available, then try importing the scores back into Sibelius. Identify three key points where notation information was lost in the translation.

4. Search the Web for a product called “MusicRAIN.” How is MusicXML used with this product? How might the students use MusicRAIN with their music compositions? Search the Web for software called “FreeDots.” How does it use MusicXML and how could you put it to good use? Can you find one more software product that uses MusicXML?

Evaluation:

Students will turn-in the complete worksheet and a printed copy of a score they converted into both MusicXML and MIDI (Not the “Lady Sweet and Kind” file provided for the demo). On the printed score they should identify at least three significant differences in the accuracy of the translation of the score from the original to MIDI, and from the original to MusicXML.

Follow Up:

Use Steps from the lesson procedures above that are not covered in the initial presentation. Encourage students to save MIDI and MusicXML versions of their compositions to share.

Items to Purchase:

For best success, full-working versions of the most recent Finale or PrintMusic, or Sibelius. With Sibelius, the Recordare Dolet plug-in is needed to write or export MusicXML. However, the demo version of PrintMusic could possibly be used for importing and exporting MusicXML for the project if no other notation software available. Check the MakeMusic! website however, for the current limitations on the demo version.

When budget should be submitted:

Budget should be submitted according to applicable school policies.

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