Guidelines for submitting digital scores (MusicXML, MEI) and notation program formats?

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Jim DeLaHunt
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Guidelines for submitting digital scores (MusicXML, MEI) and notation program formats?

Postby Jim DeLaHunt » Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:44 am

Hello,

I'm embarked on a project of transcribing public-domain music scores into digital formats which are revisable, usable, and shareable — and then giving them away freely, with CC0 or CC-BY licensing. The project starts with IMSLP51456-PMLP01607-Beethoven_9.Symphonie_Breitkopf_Reinecke.pdf, and then eventually covers everything else in IMSLP. (Very eventually. :) )

Of course, IMSLP is one place we would like to place the resulting digital scores for distribution. I expect that our initial target formats will be open interchange formats like MusicXML and MEI, but if those formats aren't expressive enough, we may also need to distribute scores in notation program file formats as well.

Does IMSLP welcome scores that are not scanned images of books, and not human-readable typeset output in PDF form? Is IMSLP a multi-format repository? If I have a digital score which is a close approximation of a scanned image file already in IMSLP, should I reflect that similarity in how I upload it? Or is it a completely independent edition as far as IMSLP is concerned? What do I do if I, say, want to upload both a MusicXML and an MEI format of the same score?

I read the IMSLP:Score submission guide, IMSLP:File formats, and IMSLP:Typeset Music formats. I don't see clear guidance, but I get an implication that any non-PDF format is OK as long as it's packaged in a ZIP file. The IMSLP:Quick Guide to Score Submission says, "Please be sure all submissions are … in PDF format", which isn't very welcoming. The IMSLP:Typesetting Guidelines are great for us as we prepare the digital scores (proofreading! yes!) but don't have much to say about file formats.

What would be really helpful is an expansion of the Score submission guide that talks about IMSLP policy on revisable-form scores, in contrast to the final-form scores that are most common here. In the step by step instructions, some examples of revisable-form formats would be illuminating. And, if there is a work page which shows off good coexistence between scanned, retypset, and revisable-form files, that would be good to highlight.

Thanks in advance for the clarification.

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Re: Guidelines for submitting digital scores (MusicXML, MEI) and notation program formats?

Postby cypressdome » Tue Nov 24, 2015 1:41 am

Perhaps the best way to answer would be to look at a page that incorporates the scanned original editions and newly typeset editions. Stransky's 2 Andantes (perhaps not the same musical quality as a Brahms' symphony) contains PDFs of the original editions of the piano scores (no parts were ever issued) as well as typeset scores and parts. The engraving files (MuseScore together with MusicXML files exported from MuseScore) have been included in zipped files. Also, synthesized audio versions have been uploaded. The new typesets are nothing more than duplicates of the original editions but are treated as editions separate from the originals with the typesetter identified as the editor. The typeset editions must be licensed under a CC license. There is no limitation as to the file formats of the engraving files but they must be uploaded as part of a zip archive file. Finally, while IMSLP has plenty of new editions posted with no accompanying engraving files the reverse is not allowed--a PDF of the score/part must be uploaded. A couple of instances of editions with engraving files only may have slipped through over the years but IMSLP's policy is that a PDF of the edition must be uploaded. The PDF is what most of IMSLP's end users are seeking. Anecdotal evidence suggests that for every 100 downloads the PDF of a score gets the engraving files get downloaded only 10 to 20 times.

I hope this information proves helpful.

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Re: Guidelines for submitting digital scores (MusicXML, MEI) and notation program formats?

Postby Jim DeLaHunt » Tue Nov 24, 2015 7:24 am

Thanks, this is a very helpful clarification.

I would like to help the next person by being sure I understand the rules, then by modifying the instructions to add these points. Should I just "be bold", as they say in Wikipedia, and edit the instructions to include these clarifications? Or should I consult with others first?

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Re: Guidelines for submitting digital scores (MusicXML, MEI) and notation program formats?

Postby coulonnus » Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:34 am

There are 4 results with "Only engraving files" in http://imslp.org/wiki/IMSLP:Sheet_Music_Projects
Perhaps either meets your needs? http://openmusicscore.org/ is MusicXML oriented.

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Re: Guidelines for submitting digital scores (MusicXML, MEI) and notation program formats?

Postby coulonnus » Sat Nov 28, 2015 11:24 am

cypressdome wrote:[...] but IMSLP's policy is that a PDF of the edition must be uploaded.

Why don't you convert your musicXML file into a score with https://musescore.com/, the free engraving application recommended by http://openmusicscore.org/? :-)

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Re: Guidelines for submitting digital scores (MusicXML, MEI) and notation program formats?

Postby Jim DeLaHunt » Sun Nov 29, 2015 4:46 am

coulonnus wrote:There are 4 results with "Only engraving files"... Perhaps either meets your needs? http://openmusicscore.org/ is MusicXML oriented.


Sorry, I didn't mean to say I was opposed to making a PDF rendition of the scores we prepare. Of course we'll save as PDF. I take coulonnus' point that maybe 90% of visitors will prefer a final-form score in PDF, rather than a digital score which they can edit.

But there are things one can do with digital scores that one can't do with a final-form PDF document. Music reading apps on tablets can re-layout the score to fit the screen size, and let performers pinch-zoom as needed. Musicians can enter cuts, corrections, and annotations for their performance. Search engines can search for musical themes. And so on. I suspect that at some point, scores will become editable digital documents, just as text moved from printed pages to word processor and marked-up text files.

I love it that "The ultimate goal of the IMSLP is to gather all public domain music scores". Nothing in that goal says, "... but we only want to gather final-form PDF scores that only humans can read". On the other hand, nor does it say, "as music scores move into the digital realm, IMSLP aims to be at the forefront."

Getting back to my other question, should I "be bold" and edit the submission guidelines to reflect this thread, or is there some other consultation I should do first?

Thanks for your help,

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Jim DeLaHunt, Executive Director & Founder • jdlh (at) KeyboardPhilharmonic.org • m +1-604-376-8953
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We organise music lovers to transcribe music scores of public domain opera and classical music into revisable, shareable, reusable digital files — and to give them away freely. Subscribe to our low-volume announcement email list, it's the best way to follow what we're up to!

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Re: Guidelines for submitting digital scores (MusicXML, MEI) and notation program formats?

Postby cypressdome » Tue Dec 01, 2015 3:58 am

The IMSLP:Quick Guide to Score Submission does state at the top:
Please be sure all submissions are public domain, or your own work, and in PDF format. (ZIP files are not allowed unless, specifically, they (a) are uploaded along with a PDF, and (b) contain the source files for the typeset in that PDF.)
So, I think that page is clear about the type of files allowed. The IMSLP:File formats page does state:
IMSLP allows users to upload the source files (.sib, .mus, .ly, etc.) of their own typesets. All of the relevant files should be archived in a single ZIP. Each source file must also be uploaded separately in PDF format.
and in the area addressing deprecated formats it clearly states that Sibelius and Finale engraving files must be uploaded within a zip archive file. The one page that does seem to fall short is the IMSLP:Score submission guide which makes no mention of zip files or engraving files. If you can work in the type of wording found in the Quick Guide to Score Submission please feel free to do so.

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Re: Guidelines for submitting digital scores (MusicXML, MEI) and notation program formats?

Postby Carolus » Mon Dec 14, 2015 3:36 am

Just to join in this discussion late…

@Jim: Yes we're very interested ultimately in having all public domain works available in an interchangeable format like MusicXML or MEI. As long as you provide the PDFs made of your typesets, zips of files in these formats are welcome. Around 50% of this archive consists of things made available under one or another of the CC licenses. You will find an existing trove of such files here already - often for arrangements and editions of public domain originals. Under most of the CC licenses you would be legally free to convert any source files or even the PDFs into MusicXML or MEIs, make a zip and add to the existing file (like an arrangement or edition prepared by one of the many WIMA editors and arrangers). I think the polite thing to do would be to ask the editor if it's OK with them if you do this, but generally I see no problem as long as the files you're adding are exactly what you say they are.

Another advantage of making use of IMSLP would be to create a new edition of the original using source files for an existing arrangement. For example, early in the site's history there was a young fellow by the name of Gory with much energy and a copy of Finale who was making scores and parts of Beethoven String Quartets, Mozart Piano Concertos and Symphonies, etc. He didn't provide any source files and he didn't understand anything about concepts like page-turns, which have lead to no end of complaints about the free parts. There are 133 titles you could get to work on right away. As I recall, all of Gory's things are released under the plain-vanilla cc-by license, which means you are legally free to convert the PDFs to XML and MEI. Since we already have PDFs, all you would need to do is add a single zip for the score and another for the parts - though it would probably be a good idea of you provided a single PDF of a score and one of the complete parts to accompany the zips.

I modified some of the pages you mentioned before to make it more obvious that formats like MusicXML and MEI are welcome as zips also, along with zips of actual source files (Finale, Sibelius, Lilypond, etc.). If you'd like to start a project doing this type of thing, by all means. With new compositions, you'll be needing the composer's permission in most cases but I fully expect the majority would welcome the addition of a zip containing MusicXML or MEI files of their works. Just remember that Creative Commons is a license and that the item is still under copyright but subject to conditions for its use - the simplest one being "attribution" (the composer, editor, arranger, etc, is duly credited for their contribution).

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Re: Guidelines for submitting digital scores (MusicXML, MEI) and notation program formats?

Postby Jim DeLaHunt » Sat Dec 19, 2015 11:01 pm

Thank you for the reply, Carolus. Your edits do make the various score submission instructions a bit more clear.

Thank you for the pointer to Gory's work. One of the difficult parts of transcription is the sheer tedium of entering all the notes. Anytime someone has done that, and has licenced their work for re-use, it's a big help to those of us who follow. I will investigate further.

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We organise music lovers to transcribe music scores of public domain opera and classical music into revisable, shareable, reusable digital files — and to give them away freely. Subscribe to our low-volume announcement email list, it's the best way to follow what we're up to!

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Re: Guidelines for submitting digital scores (MusicXML, MEI) and notation program formats?

Postby azumbrunn » Fri Jan 15, 2016 2:29 pm

This raises another question: I still have the source files for my typesets. Do you want me to upload them? They are musescore files and some elements keep walking around and need to be repositioned every time the file is opened; I was glad I could nail everything down by converting to Pdf (the problem barely exists any more in the current release). But I could do that once, export to MusicXML and post.

If you want me to do that I need instructions. I know how to upload a new typeset (or indeed any Pdf) and I know how to upload a corrected version if errors have been found. but I don't know how to manage when the upload is a supplement to an existing score. All I know is I need to compress them first.

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Re: Guidelines for submitting digital scores (MusicXML, MEI) and notation program formats?

Postby coulonnus » Fri Jan 15, 2016 4:56 pm

azumbrunn wrote:This raises another question: I still have the source files for my typesets. Do you want me to upload them? [...]

If your hard disk smokes you will be happy your source files are also somewhere else. :-)

azumbrunn wrote:If you want me to do that I need instructions. I know how to upload a new typeset (or indeed any Pdf) and I know how to upload a corrected version if errors have been found. but I don't know how to manage when the upload is a supplement to an existing score. All I know is I need to compress them first.

Treat the zip as a score and add it to the page of the present score. Edit the page.
The present score and the zip are represented by 2 sections of about 10 lines between {{ }}
Edit the lines and put the 2 sections in common. To become familiar with the language edit e.g. http://imslp.org/wiki/3_Piano_Sonatas,_Op.22_%28Woelfl,_Joseph%29 which
has a score with its engraving file.

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Re: Guidelines for submitting digital scores (MusicXML, MEI) and notation program formats?

Postby azumbrunn » Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:22 pm

Thanks, I'll try one example and if successful I will by and by add the source files everywhere I can.

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Re: Guidelines for submitting digital scores (MusicXML, MEI) and notation program formats?

Postby Carolus » Mon Jan 25, 2016 6:54 am

Coulonnus just made another very fine case for adding the source files I'd not really considered before - free backup. Having experienced a Firewire disk deciding to live up to its inner potential and go full Gotterdammerung on me complete with smoke and flames (not to mention a really nasty smell that lingered for days on end), I think it's a very fine idea.

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Re: Guidelines for submitting digital scores (MusicXML, MEI) and notation program formats?

Postby coulonnus » Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:09 am

Hope imslp has some backup strategy. Even without smoke a disk-recorded byte is not ethernal! :-)

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Re: Guidelines for submitting digital scores (MusicXML, MEI) and notation program formats?

Postby daphnis » Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:13 pm

What I have done in the past (and what I think we were recommending at one point) was to attach the source files to the PDF that was generated by them. You can look at this as an example: http://imslp.org/wiki/Violin_Sonata_No.1,_Op.12_(G%C3%A9dalge,_Andr%C3%A9)


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