MuseScore GuitarPro and MusicXML For The Blind

• Sep 6, 2019 - 11:11

Hello Folks:
I am blind and creating a computer program to read downloaded guitar and ukulele tableture for the blind.
My plan is to download tab music files, load them into MuseScore, open the file then save it as a music xml file and use that as input to my computer program to format into a blind friendly user interface (not braille).
I downloaded a couple of free GuitarPro files (.gp3 and .gp4) from Ultimate Guitar.
When I saved them it looks like they might have the midi xml but no guitar tab music xml in the exported MusicXml file but I am new at this MuseScore and MusicXML so may have missed something.
I emailed Ultimate Guitar about this and they just told me I could download GuitarPro files for free - the dude seemed to have no clue what I was talking about.
Has anyone opened a .gp3 or .gp4 file in MuseScore and extracted or seen the actual guitar tab?
I am wondering if the tab file info is not being downloaded in the .gp3 and .gp4from the free files I downloaded from Ultimate Guitars site in the GuitarPro format or if I am doing something wrong in MuseScore trying to find the MusicXML for the tablature.
The song files I downloaded are:
Dylan, Bob - Girl From The North Country.gp4
Eric Clapton - Before You Accuse Me.gp3
Kenny Dorham - Blue Bossa (ver 5).gp3
Thanks for any help or pointers:
Note: I am a 71 year old retired Computer Programmer/Analyst so know how to handle most technical and design problems but need to get a handle on the available tab files for inputs while getting up to speed with MuseScore and MusicXml for initial testing and analysis.
I have downloaded and started going through the W3C documentation on MusicXml.
Rick USA



I'm not sure I understand the issue you are facing - are you saying you have loaded a Guitar Pro file into MuseScore, but are having trouble figuring how to export it as a MusicXML file? If so, it's simple, File / Export, there is a dropdown menu there to set the format, choose MusicXML (probably you will want the uncompressed option). MIDI is indeed one of the other choices, but there is no such thing as a "MIDI XML".

I am curious to learn more about the program you are developing. But you might also want to know we are working hard to improve the accessibility of MuseScore itself. It works quite well as a score browser already (well, it does if you compile it with at least Qt 5.12.4). But it does not read the string/fret information from tablature currently. Depending on your goals here, it might work better to put your programming skills to use helping us make the necessary improvements to MuseScore - it's open source, after all. Getting tablature to read the string and fret i probably a two-line change and could be a great opportunity to learn your way around And we're always happy to help, to the point of telling you right to find the spot where those two lines should go :-).

You wrote:
I downloaded a couple of free GuitarPro files (.gp3 and .gp4) from Ultimate Guitar.
When I saved them it looks like they might have the midi xml but no guitar tab music xml in the exported MusicXml file...

The TAB feature in MuseScore was added only a few years ago. MusicXML import/export was available before that time, which leads me to believe that MusicXML conveys Western musical notation information in order to share sheet music files among different music notation apps (each having their own native file formats).
So, there may not be a "guitar tab music xml", but rather that the TAB is created by the notation application which does the (musicxml) import/export. Some apps are better at it than others. One test is to export a native file as musicxml and then import it back into the same app and check for any lost info.

You also wrote:
I have downloaded and started going through the W3C documentation on MusicXml.
I recall someone discussing TAB and screen readers:…
with MusicXML recommended for its text rather than graphical (e.g.scanned) nature:…
There may be more threads, and I don't know how far his TAB code progressed.

Also, there are different types of Tablature. The most primitive - the ASCII kind - was produced on a typewriter and required familiarity with the tune to be useful. These may be acceptable for screen readers, and are unplayable (no meter, no durations) by software.
Newer TAB styles contain note durations and so are 'playable' when entered into modern notation software.

So, would you want MuseScore for playback purposes, with your program 'speaking' to the user regarding the tablature information?


In reply to by Jm6stringer

One test is to export a native file as musicxml and then import it back into the same app and check for any lost info.

Using version 3.2.3 I entered
Original tab.PNG

After export to musicxml and import I get
imported tab.PNG

FYI, the string data is the same in both scores.

There are obviously problems, but as Marc said, they are probably not too bad to fix if you know the code. I'm not sure if the problem is in the export or import or even both.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

MuseScore definitely exports tablature staves. I see the info there, the note info is exported normally (pitch etc) and then there is a "notations" element listing the string and fret. I have no idea if that's the best way to do it. I know when we go to import the result, we seem to ignore the notation info, meaning the string/fret is recreated on the fly using the normal guessing rules - so you don't get back the same string/fret combinations you started with. See #287131: MusicXML import ignores string/fret.

Thanks Folks:
If I distill the comments, MuseScore may not be extracting fret / string information from the GuitarPro files.
Thus when I opened and subsequently exported the Music XML file that information was lost and did not appear in the generated xml output.
Is this correct?
As for programming, I was a IBM Mainframe programmer until I went blind and retired but now work in .net managed code these days using in the Visual Studio environment.
I hate curly braces or might work in c#.
I havent worked with native c++ in about 40 yearsish and never with the other software mentioned on your developers page, except some javascript, so would have a large learning curve when including a development platform and, or, ide to work in qt and native c++ considering the necessary screen reader accessibility of all involved software.
That is allot of lead time just to add 2 lines of code to the project, if Mark has analyzed the requirement correctly.
(Note that allot of development software is not totally accessible to blind folks and thus I end up hitting brick walls often when looking at new third party development platforms and software and have elected to stick with Visual Studio where everything is pretty much accessible)
I usually dont work with open source, never pulled a request and even have avoided forums in favor of e-mail lists so everything about this process will be new to me - again a major learning curve just to add 2 lines of code me thinks but it is what it is I guess.
I like folks who put effort into life - indeed and tend to bypass those projects where it looks like the founding fathers and, or, their heirs may let the project die of old age unmaintained without at least a general 5 or, better yet, 10 year life cycle plan.
All that said, I will get in touch with the Developers on the e-list to see what they say.
Later Folks and, again, thanks:
Rick USA

In reply to by Rick USA

Hi Rick,

without looking at the files you used it is hard to give a precise answer. I opened three random GP4 files contained in MuseScore's sources (in the test/guitarpro directory). From each of those string and fret information is extracted. All display as two-staff parts (one conventional, one TAB) and export to MusicXML as such (including all required TAB information as per the MusicXML spec).

Regards, Leon.

In reply to by Rick USA

I'm familiar with the awkwardness of working with screenreaders and how syntax choices like curly braces can play a role in the ease of use of the language. And I certainly understand the difficulty in dealing with new technologies and new processes. So, I agree, actually getting involved directly in coding on MuseScore is probably not in the cards for you. Our loss, I'm sure.

I'm happy to make that particular two-line change myself. I'm still interested to hear more about what your own project entails, though. If there are things your application would be doing that would make sense to integrate into MuseScore as well, we can look into that.

Hi Again:
Looked at developers list and see the postings have gone down from 40 or 50 to 1 or 2 since the Russian buyout of MuseScore via Ultimate Guitar - at least it looks like that from first readings.
I did not know Ultimate Guitar was a Russian website.
I just cant get involved in anything to do with Russia since it looks to me like the politics, spying and other even more things which would be illegal here in the US are believed to have been propagated through Russian sites and likely the Russian Government or mobs either in-house or through connections with their private companies with tendrals into the U.S.
I just dont trust the Russians, not private companies, their government nor their mobs since the latter 2 have been reported to have connections into some of the former.
Thanks for the original efforts by the folks who built MuseScore but I think I need to find something else a little more local and which I trust.
There may be nothing wrong with dealing with the Russians but I would just prefer not to at this time in history.
Rick [USA]

In reply to by Rick USA

Actually, we moved away from the old developer list and from IRC for unrelated reasons (e.g., spam problems), the discussion is now more active than ever, on the Telegram chat app.

As for Ultimate Guitar, I would ask that you not penalize the ordinary citizens of Russia just for the actions of their government (if that attitude were common, no one would want to do business with US citizens either, which would be a shame). Also, while Ultimate Guitar may be based in Russia, most of the developers continue to be volunteers from around the world. It remains a very open effort.

In the end though, it's not the Russian government who suffers by anyone backing away from MuseScore, but all users of MuseScore, including, potentially, the blind users you'd be in a unique position to help. Even if not by actually coding, by helping with accessibility testing, making suggestions, etc. We really could use people like you involved with MuseScore.

So you know, I am sighted educator based in the US, I have a blind student in my theory class right now. I have been working diligently to improve the accessibility of MuseScore over the years ever since I had my first blind student back in 2011. I have been making a special push over these last few months as it seems we may be able to make the upcoming 3.3 release be the first we can claim to be "fully" accessible. I would love for you to be a part of that effort, even if just helping us test 3.3 and reporting on what you find.

In reply to by Rick USA

I also am an American who has gotten to know several Russians (not associated with developing MuseScore) and they are like you and me. They have families, they have jobs and they don't really understand us either. As for the Russian MuseScore developers, I follow the chats on telegram and have interacted with them some and I see no reason to penalize them over any opinion I might or might not have of their government. The only one you are hurting is yourself and other blind users, because people like Marc and me want to help blind people have access to music via MuseScore.

I asked MuseScore (which was already owned by Ultimate Guitar) if I could have an account dedicated to making braille music available to blind users and the said yes. This resulted in which is loosely affiliated with OpenScore. If I can do something to make your efforts easier, then by all means drop me a direct line through the contact on the openscore-braille page and I'll do everything I can to help you.

I'm also getting my feet wet into the programming portion of MuseScore and am in the infancy of making it possible to export Braille music directly from MuseScore, which was always my goal when I asked for openscore-braille to be created. I am doing this because several blind people on these forums asked for specific scores to be added to and I happily accommodated them. My goal now is to make as many musescore projects be able to export to braille as I can. This will take me quite some time since I must learn Braille, C++ and worst of all QT but I will persist and hopefully a year from now braille output will be the centerpiece of a new MuseScore release.

In reply to by Rick USA

In addition to @mike320, others who have played very significant role in the accessibility efforts include @shoogle, who has been our main liaison with RNIB in the UK for accessibility feedback, also two students Andrei and Divya who did much work for us in past years as part of the Google Summer of Code program, plus Anand who has been doing work this summer through that same program, and Dmitri (the only one mentioned here with an Ultimate Guitar connection) who has also done a lot for accessibility in the months he has been on the project.

I think you will find that we take accessibility more seriously here than any of the major notation programs do.

Hi Mike, Mark EtAl:
If I want to look into the most recent MuseScore developers communications, where would I find the archives?
Mike, same for any work with your efforts regarding MuseScore and the Braille Project.
Is there and official RNIB Project or communications Platform?
I agree not to punish individuals for their Government, or mobs, but with the hacking via supposedly legitimate websites and other sources the Russian Government was able to hack enough communications to influence the last election.I am, and I think rightly so, concerned about any company taking in millions of dollars in Russia which publishes and has access to millions of personal computers here in the U.S.
Over here if the Government wanted to force some small individuals to include some top secret code in their website and downloads a vast majority of individuals would comply and not risk the wrath of National or Homeland or FBI or CIA or Presidential retribution.
Only the big guys can stand up to pressure like that since they have deep pockets to fight for their rights.
Why would individuals in Russia with a much more command economy and government be any diferent?
My daughter was hacked by a russian owned website she visited or by a Russian hacking Google.
It did some tracking and posted fake e-mails in her name, sounds like what happened during the election.
I have heard from others that you have to be very careful donloading or installing anything that has roots in Russia because of all I have detailed above and when I found out MuseScore was owned by a very popular Russian Website it hit me as a risk I just didnt want to take.
That said, there is little and less out there helping the blind to play music so the risk / reward ratio is not as far askew as I first thought, sigh.
The GuitarPro folks in France told me they know their software is inaccessible and they have no plans to make it accessible.
Other sites were not quite so blunt but I got the same message from most of them.
It would seem legal action is the best bet but at 71 I dont need the stress.
Long story short:
I am thinking about using MuseScore and, if I can, helping out;
But, I have to think about how to ensure security on my machine and platform.
I thank you guys and the folks, including the Russian folks, for making the effort to include blind folks in your plans indeed.
I am just old, tired and sometimes just want to curl up under the covers and go to sleep.
Rick USA

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

JoJo, is Messenger accessible using NVDA or JAWS screen Reader in Windows10 PC?
I see questions about its screen reader accessibility from the past year or so and some fixes for some platforms but not for Windows10 as far as I can tell.
If accessible do you know off hand where I might find the instructions how to use it with a screen reader?
Thanks and I will continue to check it out:
Rick USA

In reply to by Rick USA

Unfortunately, as far as I can tell neither the Windows 10 desktop client nor the web interface are not accessible with NVDA anyhow. That's a bummer. But, still, it sounds like you're not likely to be involved in programming, so there isn't much of interest there. The forums are the better place for most discussions, including comments on the interface, proposals for improvements, etc.

Here's a link to a recent build I made with a bunch of my pending accessibility improvements if youd like to try it out:

Doesn't have the tab fix yet or a couple of other tweaks I made in the last few days, but it should be much better than the current 3.2.3. I plan to do another build once the previous changes are merged into the master branch.

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