a MusicXML test suite by R. Kainhofer

From the latest edition (issue #18) of the Lilypond Report:

Conference sightings!

(by Valentin Villenave)

Reinhold appeared at the Linux Audio Conference in Utrecht / Netherlands, presenting two papers:

  • R. Kainhofer: A MusicXML Test Suite and a Discussion of Issues in MusicXML
  • R. Kainhofer: OrchestralLily: A Package for Professional Music Publishing with LilyPond and LaTeX

Kainhofer wrote the musicxml2ly Python script that comes bundled with Lilypond.

This morning I read the first paper:

R. Kainhofer: A MusicXML Test Suite and a Discussion of Issues in MusicXML 2.0, Proceedings of the LAC 2010 Conference, Utrecht, 2010.

It was great. Although I would really need to known MusicXML 2.0 from memory to pick up on everything, the paper discusses some tests regarding MusicXML 2.0 and discusses some of its current limitations and the effect on import/export from other notation applications. He also discusses how  some of the format's ambiguities create problems in trying to convert MusicXML to Lilypond.

Anyone who's worked with MusicXML and several GUI notation apps probably knows that there are some rendering inconsistencies across different GUI music notation apps and it was good to get a better idea of the reasons behind this.

Also of interest was, from what I can gather, the limitations that the original DTD for MusicXML has imposed on MusicXML 2.0 which using an XSD schema – as backwards compatibility with earlier incarnations of MusicXML is desired. That is to say limitations of the DTD are inherited by the XSD.

Kainhofer offers some suggestions regarding any upcoming incarnations of MusicXML to deal with some of the aformentioned rendering problems as well as programmatic difficulties that arise in the occasional cases where MusicXML isn't as explicit as it perhaps could be.

Far from a landslide of criticism however, Kainhofer concludes with this:

MusicXML is a very useful format for the extremely hard and complex task of music notation exchange. As the OSF specication has already shown, one can expect that future versions of MusicXML will clarify, solve or at least soften most of the issues we discuss here.

ps: OSF refers to the Open Score Format: http://openscoreformat.sourceforge.net/

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