MusicXML import/export fairly broken (3.0a2, also some 2.3.2 issues)

• Nov 1, 2018 - 18:59

Hi. I'm a Wikipedia editor, but also a MuseScore user for several years. I tested the MusicXML import/export in 3.0a2 after writing my Community Wishlist Survey proposal for allowing MuseScore or MusicXML uploads and rendering in MediaWiki (…). (Basically a team of Wikimedia Foundation staff developers annually take a few software requests, selected by popular vote from a pool of proposals.)

I made a score in 2.3.2, opened it in 3.0a2, saved it, closed it, reopened it, exported it to .mxl, and then opened the new file.

There are at least several issues; some of these are regressions from 2.3.2 and some of these are not. I'm not that familiar with the bug tracker which is why I'm putting this on the forum. It's not clear to me if all of them are MuseScore issues, but regardless I think at least some of them are fairly serious.
* I originally made the score in 2.3.2. After saving in 3.0a2, closing and reopening, there are six extra clefs. (This is not an issue with the export.)
* After exporting, all staves become single-line, but notes are still positioned as if they are on multi-line staves. All 13 of the clefs are gone, too. (Doesn't happen in 2.3.2.)
* The title is right-aligned and bottom-aligned. (Doesn't happen in 2.3.2.) When I deselected "Automatic placement" on that element, some of the other elements moved; for example, the notes were placed onto the lines of the single-line staves. (Not applicable to 2.3.2.)
* The pizzicato and tremolo channel changes are gone. (Also happens in 2.3.2. According to the LilyPond/MediaWiki developer who commented on the proposal, MusicXML should support MIDI instructions.)
* The fretboard diagram is gone.
* One of the custom noteheads is gone.
* The "don't break" element is gone. (Not applicable to 2.3.2.)
* The setting to hide the Hand Clap stave is gone. (Also happens in 2.3.2.)

Attachment Size
Test 3.0.mscz 16.26 KB
Test 3.0.mxl 3.71 KB


(Also, how are bulleted lists made in this forum software? I can't figure it out. The Markdown documentation told me to use the HTML tags but the software just strips them out.)

In reply to by jc86035

Looking at the page source in Chrome, you added more than one space between the asterisk and the text you want as a bulleted list. You should only use one space after the asterisk, i.e.:

  • correct
  • also correct
  • incorrect


EDIT: seems I am wrong. Sorry for that. All I can then say, is that sometimes another regular forum user's (Marc Sabatella's) comments which should be italicised because it is between asterisks, displays for me in Chrome both on a Windows 7 x86 machine and an Android phone as asterisks. So there seems to be a problem rendering the markdown which only affects some people's comments. Don't ask me why. Maybe you would like to open an issue about this.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I also see them in italics on Chrome, Windows 7 in this specific comment, but it is an intermittent thing. Sometimes I see your posts correctly displayed, sometimes I see normal, unitalicised text between asterisks in your posts. I also don't think you are the only one whose posts are sometimes displayed incorrectly, it is just frequently your posts.


The main reason I tested this was because of the channel change issue, which showed up in 2.3.2 and would have been fairly irritating for the wishlist proposal. Am I doing something wrong? I searched the forums and couldn't find anyone that had found that issue.

Responding to the actual problem reports:

  • I am not following you. I started 3.0 alpha 2, opened your MXL file, saved as MSCZ, then loaded the resulting file. I then also exported that as MusicXML and imported the result. Nothing seemed out of place anywhere along the way. What do you mean extra clefs? Where should I be looking? Or can you give me better steps to follow?

  • The only staff I see with a single line is the final hand clap staff, whether loading the MXL file, the resulting MSCZ file, or the MusicXML file I exported myself. Again, if you are seeing something else, can you give precise steps to reproduce?

  • Title is indeed positioned interestingly in 3.0, but it doesn't display at all in 2.3.2. Looks to me like it is positioned very strangely, as per the XML (default-x="595.44" default-y="1626.67"). I assume you created the MXL by exporting from the MSCZ you provided? This much does seem an actual bug.

  • Not preserving playback-specific stuff like MIDI channel change messages doesn't surprise me. MusicXML might technically be able to represent MIDI somehow, but there is no guarantee any given program will turn that into the appropriate instructions on import. Eg, how would a "pitch bend" instruction be represented?
    Might be nice someday, but more of a feature request.

  • No big surprise on the freboard diagram either, that's stretching the limits of MusicXML as well.

  • Ditto on custom noteheads.

  • "Don't break" is almost certainly not something that MusicXML has any concept of.

  • I have no trouble hiding the Hand Clap staff via Edit / Instruments. Were you expecting to find that somewhere else?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

More detailed reply:
* I opened the Master Palette exactly once (by pressing on the grey "???" button in the Dynamics panel), which may have caused some issues, or it may not have. I have taken a screenshot of the file as it appears by loading it immediately after opening MuseScore 3.0a2. On the first page, extra clefs appear after the time signatures in staves 2–7. On the second page, the spacing is a bit off. The third page looks normal.
* As noted in the bug, this only occurs after opening the Master Palette.
* I haven't read the MusicXML specification so I'll leave that for now.
* I was expecting the Hand Clap staff to stay hidden in the MusicXML file.

Attachment Size
Test 3.0 screenshot.png 182.72 KB

In reply to by jc86035

The MusicXML file you attached does not call for the staff to be hidden as far as I can tell. At least, it isn't hidden when importing into 2.3.2 either. So I don't see a regression here. If you had it hidden in the MSCZ file at the moment you exported this, then this suggests a deficiency in the export process. Not sure how well MusicXMl supports this either, but I assume there probably is a way to do it. Not sure they'd support all the different variations we have as far as hiding empty staves etc.

Anyhow, it's worth filing separate issues with explicit step by step instructions to reproduce each. Most of what you describe aren't really bugs, just limitations in either MusicXML itself or our support for it in ays that haven't changed since 2.3.2. So saying "fairly broken" seems off, except for the weird glitch where the master palette somehow clobbers staff properties. That's obviously serious. The mispositioning of the title isn't good either.

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