importing files from NtEd to Musescore?

• Mar 21, 2013 - 17:44


I am a musescore* newbie and would like to use files from nted** with musescore. However:

1) nted can export to MIDI, and these files are played correctly with players such as timidity (Linux-Ubuntu) or Media Player (Windows 8), including the drum parts. Yet musescore replaces the drums with other instruments, both in sound and in display.

2) nted can export to lilypond but these files (*.ly) cannot be imported to musescore. I have searched this forums and found posts, 2 to 3 years old, pointing to this problem.

Are there any new developments, regarding MIDI or lilypond files and musescore ?

Thank you,

*:MuseScore versions: 1.2 (Ubuntu), 1.3 (Windows 8)
**: NtEd version 1.10.18, Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise)


- No software can read lilypond syntax but Lilypond. There is no development for a lilypond importer in MuseScore. A lilypond exporter is present in MuseScore 1.3 but it's currently phase out in the current development version because nobody wants to maintain it.
- Midi does not contain all the information to recreate a score. The drum part should sound like a drum though. So it's probably a bug in MuseScore.

Can Nted export to MusicXML? If not, it's probably a good idea to make a feature request to Nted. MusicXML is the de facto standard to exchange sheet music between music notation software and it's supported by more than 150 software. MuseScore can import and export MusicXML.

In reply to by [DELETED] 5

Thank you, lasonic. NtEd cannot export to MusicXML though it has been requested in the nted mailing list. But the author posts "Because the author has not enougth time, NtEd is unfortunately unsupported."

However, I have read somwhere that Lilypond can export to MusicXML. Am I wrong? If not, this might be a valid detour, but, anyhow, I am totally unfamiliar with this non-GUI Lilipond; I was not even able to figure out how to load a Lilipond file (.ly) to Lilipond :-(

In reply to by [DELETED] 5

Hi lasconic, you posted:

>Midi does not contain all the information to recreate a score. The drum part should sound like a drum though (in
>musescore, i.e.). So it's probably a bug in MuseScore.

Just found out that NtEd can import a midi file and recreate from it also the drum parts, both visually and in sound.

Yet musescore converts drum parts to ordinary notes and makes them sound like it.

Seems to be a bug in musescore, then?


Ok, this is just a snippet, Drums.mid. And this is how NtEd re-imports it, NtEdImportMidi.jpg; sounds like drums. And this is how MuseScore imports/opens it, MuseScoreImportMidi.jpg; definitely does not sound like drums.
Could you attach a short MIDI drum part from another program, too. Thank you

Attachment Size
Drums.mid 589 bytes
NtEdImportMidi.jpg 17.36 KB
MuseScoreImportMidi.jpg 24.57 KB

Just used MuseScore to create a short drum piece (don't laugh if you listen, I am not a musician): MuseScoreDrumTest.mscz. Then saved it as MIDI: MuseScoreDrumTest.mid, using MuseScore. Now listen how this sounds if opened with MuseScore! Definitely strange. However, if I import this MuseScoreDrumTest.mid into NtEd, it sounds correct, or very good to my (unmusical) ears.

Does this mean MueScore cannot read its own MIDI files? NtEd can, even MuseScore#s MIDI files.

Attachment Size
MusescoreDrumTest.mscz 2.09 KB
MusescoreDrumTest.mid 220 bytes

I just "composed" a short drum piece, using MuseScore: MusescoreDrumTest.mscz (don't blame me, I am not a musician). Then saved it as: MusescoreDrumTest.mid. If I load this MuseScore MIDID file back into MuseScore, it definitely does not look and sound like the original!
But ist sounds correctly if played with timidity.

However, if I import MusescoreDrumTest.mid into NtEd, it looks and sounds pretty much the same as the original MusescoreDrumTest.mscz (at least to my ears).

Does this mean that MuseScore cannot show and play its own MIDI files correctly?

Edit: sorry for this double post. My previous one did show up only AFTER I had posted this one!

Attachment Size
MusescoreDrumTest.mscz 2.09 KB
MusescoreDrumTest.mid 220 bytes

In reply to by musecub

I don't know the details of how MIDI files are represented in terms of percussion. This may well be a bug. However, in general, it is simply not reasonable to expect a MIDI file to retain all information about a score. I just wasn't designed for that. Expecting a notation program to be able to reconsctruct a score from a MIDI file with all information intact would be roughly like expecting a word processing program to be able to reproduce a document with all spelling, formatting, and other information intact from an audio recording of someone reciting the text. It's just not going to happen. It doesn't really matter if the MIDi file was created by MuseScore or some other program - MIDI files just do not have enough information on them to recreate scores well. They are for recording performance information, not the details of the notation that might have led to that performance.

>expecting a word processing program to be able to reproduce a document with all spelling...

I understand they are working on it. Well, not ALL, but at least I expect the program to produce something close to the original and not something totally different.

In reply to by musecub

Iit's actually not very different at alll. Te only thing MuseDcore didn't pick up on is that this was meant to be a drum track. Not sure what was recorded in the MIDI file to reprsent that, but all you have to is change the instrument on the imported file to drumset and it instantly looks and sounds a lot closer to what you started with.

But again, long term, this is a losing game. Do you seriously think any word processor is going to be able to listen to an audio recording of a speech and figure out things likewhere paragraphs breaks shoukd go, what page size was, what the margins looked liked, where words were put in italics, what kind of fonts were used for headings, etc? That,s the sort of information lost when you read a piece of text. It should be *obvious* there is no way to get it back. And there is al that *and much more* that is lost when you take a score and reduce it down to nothing more tha MIDI file. In the very simolest, msot trivial of cases, it might be possible to reconstruct something that could pass for the original. But it is just not the right approach for real music, and you wprun into limitation after limitation after limitation if you continue to pin your hopes on this working well. It is just not techi cally possible in any but very simpe cases to get usable results this way. Whereas MusicXML actually *is* a oretty viabke way of sharing scores, because it was designed specifically to do that. MIDI was not, so lacks even very basic information like whether a note should be spelled F# or Gb.

Ok, before you get annoyed by my nagging questions:
what is the use, then, in MuseScore, of "File > Open > MIDI Files"? If MuseScore cannot even PLAY such a file correctly, let alone display it? "Lacking even very basic information like whether a note should be spelled F# or Gb", as you say.

> Do you seriously think any word processor is going to be able to listen to an audio recording of a speech and figure out things...

I think seriously that any future word processor that is able to read an audio recording, should at least be able to replay the audio part correctly if I listen to it using this word processor

>...MIDI was not, so lacks even very basic information like whether a note should be spelled F# or Gb...

You make me curious, I will check this with NtEd

P.P.S. Please note, this is nothing personal against MuseScore, it is just that I want to become a little more knowledgeable about things I know next to nothing about.

Edit: in MuseSore, I just saved your "Reunion" as MIDI file; opened this MIDI file in MuseScore, and I cannot see any difference to the original, even the "#"s and "b"s semm to be correctly placed. But this is in contradiction to your "Lacking even very basic information like whether a note should be spelled F# or Gb". Now I am confused! Please help me out. Thank you.

In reply to by musecub

MIDI was invented back in the late 70's/early 80's and was at that time an innovation but really it is just an updated version of the pianoroll that was invented about 100 years earlier. It tells an instrument (channel) to turn on a pitch and then off again and contains some information on how loud to play that note etc. It can effectively "play" instruments that are MIDI-enabled but it has significant limitations as a file format for the transfer of information regarding printed scores.

The problem here is that it looks as though we're stuck using MIDI as a common intermediary for that file transfer so, regarding the original problem, I have in the past experimented with various music notation software - MusE, Canorus, Lilypond, Denemo, NotEd and even Nted but gave them up when I discovered MuseScore. Today I resurrected them and played about. I did the following - for a SIMPLE piece - so can't guarantee it will work for what is wanted here but worth a try:

Create a piece in Nted and Export it as a MIDI file.
Use Rosegarden to open the MIDI file and save it as MusicXML
Open the MusicXML file in MuseScore.

I did this in xubuntu 12.04 with the same MuseScore and Nted versions as the OP and version 11.11.42 of Rosegarden.

In reply to by musecub

MuseScore *does* generally play MIDi files reasonably well - just not necessarily for percussion, since percussion is handled entirely differently in MDI than regular instruments. But as I observed above, just a handful of clicks to tell MuseScore that the part is supported to be for percussion, and it *does* play back correctly - did you try it?

MuseScore provides MIDI import because it is possible to do at least a crude job of it, and as a last resort, this can occasionally be useful. It just isn't anywhere near as good a choice as MusicXML for the reasons I have been explaining. Not only can it not represent the difference between F# and Gb, it also has no way of indicating thngs like staccato marks, accents, slurs, dynamics, chord symbols, text markings, what clefs to use, etc. it's really just a very bare bones record of what pitch is played when - not any of the information that is actually needed to reproduce the appearance of an actual score.

BTW, while MIDI does not represent the difference between F# and Gb, that just means MuseScore has to guess which is meant. And it should guess right half the time, of course. I just tried it with Reunion, and that's about right. I mean, look at the very first measure - should have been spelled with flats, but after MIDI export/import, they turned into sharps. Second measure MuseScore guessed right. But third measure, again, the accidentals are all wrong. And surely you noticed how much else got lost? The result does not look anywhere near how the original looked. All of the multi-voice passages have been lost, all of the markings lost, tuplets lost, etc. It's only barely recognizable as the same piece, and is essentially unreadable.

BTW, with my word processor / audio example, I wasn't talking aout *playing* an audio file in the word processor. I was talking about turning it into text. You can get the basic gist of the worss, but no way could you possible recreate the *appearance* of the original. And you have to realize, word processors are all about the appearance of the text, just as MuseScore is all about the appearance of a score. The fact that it happens to also play back the score is merely a convenience, but the point of the portram is producing sheet music.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank vou very much, too, for your detailed explanations! You finally convinced me about the limitations of MIDI.

>But as I observed above, just a handful of clicks to tell MuseScore that the part is supported to be for percussion, and it
>*does* play back correctly - did you try it?

YesNo, MuseScore newbie that I am, I could not figure out these handful of clicks; So, this is what I did: Create > Instruments > Unpitched Percussion >Drumset 5 lines. Then I copied the wrong "drum" notes into the new empty drumset staff, and, lo and behold, the notes magically transformed into drum notation, and a "real" drum staff appeared, and after I had deleted the the wrong "drum" notes in the fake staff, the piece did sound like the original MIDI, at least to my musically untrained ears :-)
However, this is a time consuming piece of work! Could I do it more simple and faster, please?

Because I just love Jorg Anders' NtEd arrangement of Jacques Offenbach's Barcarola, especially the percussion!

Thank you,


In reply to by musecub

The way I meant to get the percussion staff to display correctly is to right click an empty spot in the staff, select Staff Properties from the right click menu, then hit Change Instrument and select one of the Drumset options. Takes just seconds. But then, the copy and paste method takes only a couple of seconds more, so you weren't that far off. Considering you only have to do this once per piece of music, those few seconds aren't that onerous.

The reason any of this is necessary is that MuseScore apparently doesn't recognize that this is supposed to be a drum part. I suspect the only thing in the MIDI file that probably conveys that information is the convention that anything on channel 10 is probably percussion - not true always, but it's a common way of working, and the "General MIDI" standard does work that way. So a lot of programs probably do just sort of assume that anything on channel 10 is percussion, and I'm guessing that's how the other program you use was able to guess correctly in this case.. I'm thinking MuseScore should at least provide the option of assuming that channel 10 = percussion too, even though it won't always be true.

There might be more to it than this, though - I'm not really an expert on MIDI.

Thank you very much for your efforts!

* 1 *
Once upon a time ;-) I had Rosegarden installed in Ubuntu. I was looking for a program just to input a few notes. I was shocked how much diskspace Rosegarden used up on my humble computer. Therefore I deinstalled it, and found Noteedit, and later NtEd. And now, MuseScore :-)

* 2 *
Marc Sabatella (see his posting of March 24, 2013 - 2:36pm) finally convinced me about the limitations of MIDI. Though, I think I can convert now drumsets from MIDI imports into MuseScore; thus avoiding the Rosegarden detour.

But thank you again for resurrecting your old programs just to help me!

Thanks, musecub

Sorry, .your "Change Instrument" method seems to produce something worse than copy+paste. However, I have to check this more carefully since I was switching between Linux-Xubuntu and Windows 8, a little bit carelessly. One thing is for certain, though:

* Linux-Xubuntu *
----NtEd: Export "Barcarola" as MIDI, open the MIDI file again, very good;
----play the MIDI file with timidity, like the original

* Windows 8 *
----MuseScore: compose a drum piece, save as MIDI, open again as MIDI: drum staff present, but no drum sounds, just ordinary instruments
----MuseScore: open NtEd MIDI file (from Linux-Xubuntu/NtEd), drum staff present, but does not sound like drums
----play NtEd MIDI file with timidity (timw32g), sounds beatifully like the original (Linux-Xubuntu/NtEd)

I have to add that I use timidity because I have no MIDI card.

In reply to by musecub

I think you must have done something wrong. Follow the steps I described *exactly* and all should work fine - I tried it using your sample score to verify this. If you continue to have trouble, you might consider using to record a screenshot video showing what you are doing, and then maybe someone will be able to poont out what you need to do differently.

>I think you must have done something wrong. Follow the steps I described *exactly* and all should work fine - I tried it
>using your sample score to verify this...
Thanks, my Musescore's drum test is fine now when opened as MIDI and converted according to your instructions. It looks and sounds like the original.
Edit: It works now also with NtEd's MIDI score. NtEd's MIDI score looks now pretty like the original. I used a different soundfont*, i.e., 8MBGMSFX.SF2 (recommended by NtEd for timidity), and I changed the synthesizer Volume from 15 to near 0 (the music and the drums are getting louder and clearer with decreasing volume! How come?).

P.S. *: the soundfont I used before was the recommended "GeneralUser GS MuseScore v1.44.sf2", and "GeneralUser GS MuseScore v1.44README.txt" had told me to set the volume to 15.
P.P.S. Is there a detailed instruction somewhere, please, about the MuseScore synthesizer; what the settings options mean, and how to get optimum performance?

In reply to by musecub

My understanding is that the numbers for volume in the synthesizer window are actual *negative* and refer to actual relative dB levels. It's pretty much a digital audio standard that 0 is "nominal" level - which is to say, the maximum level produced normally without clipping - and that one usually operates in the negative range. Not sure why, but most audio equipment reports levels this way. So the 15 you are seeing is really -15, and 0 really is much louder. The reason some soundfonts might suggest negative levels is to avoid clipping on the loudest passages, so do be sure you don't heard distortion if you set a passage to "fff" dynamic.

Beyond that, I don't know about the other settings. They look like fairly standard reverb and chorus effects, so i assume the numbers mean whatever they might mean in a tradition digital reverb or chorus effect unit. I just leave them all at the default except for the masters, where I turn chorus to 0 (I don't understand why anyone woild want it otherwise except for special ocasions) and reverb to whatever level sounds natural to me given the speakers I am listening through, size of room, etc).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks for the explanations!

Wouldn't it be a good thing to have your after-opening-a-MIDI-file-how-to-correct-drumsets procedure into MuseScore's help menu? (If it is not already there. Is it?)

As for the synthesizer, I do hope that I can google some more explanations, e.g., alone Chorus overwhelms me with "Waveform: sine or triangle", "number", "speed" and "depth". I don't even know whether by "chorus" is meant a choir or something else :-(

In reply to by musecub

I don't know if the suggestion I gave for fixing up drumsets is necessary or useful in all cases; I could just see it worked in yours. Someone with more expertise in this could probably figure out how to best write up help. Better would be to simply fix it so channel 10 is automatically recognized as drumset - assuming that this is the problem.

As for what "chorus" is, this is a very standard audio effect like reverb, been around for decades, has nothing to do with singing. So yes, I'd expect Google & Wikipedia would be able to provide plenty of info.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Remember, it was not just my special NtEd example. It was also, when I create a drumset piece in MuseScore, save it as MIDI file, open ths MIDI file in MuseScore, same problem! To be solved only with your procedure.

Whom could I ask here to test this?

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