Wanted: ability to track MP3's in notation application

• Jan 12, 2020 - 19:17

I'd like the desktop notation application to do what the site won't do because of copyright hassles: I'd like to be able to tell the application to follow the score while making sound from an arbitrary MP3 claimed to be synchronous. This would allow me to debug mixed-source MP3's before going through the pains to ship them up to YouTube.


Comments

In reply to by xavierjazz

The latter (you are totally misunderstanding). The musescore desktop application does not know or care about copyright. I'm not talking about the web site. The copyright issues involve the web site. There is no reason why I should not be able to play for myself (not PUBLISH) a score I made along with an MP3 I made, no matter what the content. I suppose I could do it by starting them at the exact same time on 2 computers.

In reply to by xavierjazz

As I said, it would facilitate the debugging of MP3's recording in whole or in part other sources than MuseScore (e.g., virtual pipe organs, DAW-connected synthesizers), and nothing more, and not affect what is on the site or what can be on the site in any way.

In reply to by BSG

The problem is that a computer can only play sound from one aplication at a time. Your Mac might be different, but I doubt it. To test it, play an mp3 then start to play a score in MuseScore.
Still not clear on what youare trying to do. Are you trying to check an mp3 you already made?

If I'm understanding correctly, the more general use case for this would be, including an "instrument" that is a pre-recorded soundtrack. That's a pretty common request and at one time many years ago there was work towards supporting that.

In reply to by BSG

As the mp3 plays, and the cursor moves how can you determine if there is a wrong note?
I may be missing something here, but if you have an mp3 of Ravel's piano reduction of 'Pictures at an Exhibition' why not let MuseScore play it to hear whether the notes are correct?
If you play the orchestral version as mp3 the notes will not be correct for the piano. So why mp3 at all?

Another use for this -- I have created a score that I don't want to post online for whatever reasons, but want to share with some other individuals, MuseScore app users, and I have also created a quality MP3 for it that I want to share with those individuals, too, and I'd like them to be able to see/hear them in sync without involving the site.

It is certainly possible to do this in a browser in Javascript (been done; MS.com is an existence proof); it should be a lot easier inside of MS.

In reply to by BSG

OOPS!
Did not see this post... and I could be mistaken.... but...
My 2¢:
Any individual that requires a studio quality mp3 to follow a score (as opposed listening to the native MuseScore playback) most likely has a job in the music "industry".
Yes?

In reply to by BSG

"I have also created a quality MP3 for it"
What is a quality mp3?
Seems to me that if these people are unable to follow a score along with your mp3 then I'm not sure what good a moving cursor will do. Send them a pdf and an mp3 and let them deal wit it.
OTOTH, I would love to be able to share mp3's sans score to show off some of the things MuseScore can do. A score can be a hindrance.

In reply to by bobjp

A quality MP3 is one made in part or in whole by something more sophisticated and powerful than MuseScore's synthesizer, including live performance (let alone the manual-sync that the site offers for now).

I am a licensee (owner of a licensed copies) of Hauptwerk, the expensive, state-of-the-art virtual pipe organ system. MuseScore cannot "do" organs. The difference between a Hauptwerk recording and the old MuseScore General Midi "one organ sound fits all!" sound font is gigantic. Listen to my latest score, or anything in my "Hauptwerk" set, and by selecting audio sources, experience the difference. My discerning friends are interested in both hearing my recordings and following the scores. If this experience doesn't mean so much, then the entire MuseScore.com YouTube-backing facility is worthless. The motivations are exactly the same. Maybe you should ask me "why can't you (or someone else) just post it?" There are many obvious answers. If following a score as you hear it isn't so important, then MuseScore.com is worthless, too; following a score as you hear it is the prime product.

In reply to by BSG

What I would say is that in MuseScore, the primary purpose is editing your score, so hearing so some other audio file played instead isn't a "primary" feature in the same way it is for the website or for YouTubne, which are all about playback, not editing. So to me, a feature where you hear an audio file instead of your score within MuseScore is more a curiosity, useful only to a small select group of people.

On the other hand, a feature in which you hear the audio file in addition to the synthesized playback would be a great benefit to many people and of course, you could always mute your staves if you'd prefer to hear the audio instead of the synthesized playback. So it meets the needs of the few (or the one) as well as the needs of the many.

So to me, bottom line: a feature where audio is played instead of the score is not really something I could see being implemented, but a feature where it is played in addition seems like a natural thing to expect to see someday.

In reply to by BSG

I assume it's "possible", just might be "hard". But to me putting a bunch of work into a feature of limited usefulness would be a mistake, it would divert resources from other playback features with a greater demand (including the ability to play audio in addition to the synthesizer). And just be inviting constant criticism as people tried out the new feature only to find it doesn't do what most people would expect.

DAW software manages to play multiple streams at once, I don't see why it should be inherently impossible. I could imagine it might require replacing FluidSynth at worst (a big project no doubt).

In reply to by BSG

To be clear: ability to play audio in addition to the synthesizer is "in demand", by many. Ability to play audio instead of the synthesizer is "in demand" by, so far, only you to my recollection. But there are plenty of other playback-related features that are also "in demand" by many (e.g., VTSi support, slur playback, re-use of mixer channels on instrument changes).

So what I am saying is, I personally would not recommend fellow developers spend their time on playback features that are in demand by only one or few users, but would rather see effort spent on playback features that are in demand by many. Thus, a "play audio in addition to synthesizer" feature would make sense to me for someone to work on. But if it's not viable short term, I'd still rather see them work on one of the other playback features that in demand by many, rather than settle for working on the "audio instead of synthesizer" feature.

In reply to by BSG

Did I imagine it, or did i see a post here recently that suggests that in principle it is possible to use an mp3 as a single note in a sound font and then if a stave is added to a score that consists just of that one note held for however many bars are required, the mp3 will play along with anything else that is in the score? It seems a nice idea in principle as one can even get it to start playing somewhere other than at the start, but I guess that creating a soundfont from a high quality ( = huge) mp3 may have its own challenges.

In reply to by SteveBlower

I just tried the MP3-to-SoundFont hack with a three-minute piece, and it actually works — except that you always have to start playback from the very beginning of the piece, because MuseScore isn't able to resume playback in the middle of a note. Bummer.

I also spent a few minutes to see if I could get MuseScore to trigger synchronized media playback in Cantabile via a loopback MIDI port, but I couldn't get it working because MuseScore doesn't appear to output any MIDI clock or transport messages.

How about "I want to test, see and hear, what it's going to look like on the site with YouTube backing without involving the site or YouTube"? Surely, that's a legitimate need ...

In reply to by BSG

@BSG

Actually, I get it. I'm a lifelong musician, but a composing hobbyist. I spend a lot of time doing things to scores the make MuseScore playback more like I want. All kinds of things that I would never hand to a real musician. Sometimes I work with two scores. I think I have a .com account but I've never used it because It's too limiting in the respect you are talking about. In composing forums I'm involved with, I upload to files. One is a pdf of the score and the other is a sound file of the piece. Folks open both and follow along.

In reply to by bobjp

Sure, you can do that when you're finished, but the recipient won't like it as much as a scrolling score.  What's more, I'm more interested in the case when I'm trying to get the sound and the notes right at the same time (i.e., refine the quality, which never ends), not the finished product.

In reply to by BSG

I can see the value in this except for the need of a scrolling score. Which seems to be very important to you. I don't know how the .com site works, but I'm sure there is some file manipulation. You could do this in video software without much difficulty.

In reply to by bobjp

Years before there was MuseScore, I could put an LP record on the phonograph, and put a published score in my hands and sit on the couch and follow it, and that worked well. Or even bring one to a concert venue. But it should be easier than printing out a score or writing new software if I'm trying to debug it. Never mind. Maybe writing new software (in a web browser) isn't such a bad idea ... You really should visit musescore.com to discuss this from an informed position. Never mind. If no one else understands the value, I myself must be misunderstanding.

In reply to by BSG

Following music in a paper score is easy and fun. Following music in a digital score if it is not done for you by the software is a royal pain; getting to the right place on a page, not missing a beat or measure and doing it in time, getting back to repeats, etc., It just doesn't work. If I didn't need the scrolling, I wouldn't need the help of musescore at all. I could just play the sound file. I guess this need is just too narrow in audience for further discussion. Just ignore, sorry for the noise.

In reply to by Ziya Mete Demircan

This is all not understanding. I'm not interested in a finished product, but in debugging the progress of an integration. No, making an intermediate movie is not a solution. If nobody else understands, my perceived need is wrong, and that's all there is to it. I've been wrong beforee.

In reply to by BSG

Some questions come to mind.
In your organ works, do you write the whole piece first, then put it into your organ software? Or write it in sections. Or some other procedure altogether? I have been told to write what I know to be the sound I want, and not what my software tells me. I don't always agree with this, but I see the point. You say you want to be able to check your work as you go along. I take it that means the notes sound right with the stops you have chosen? Works for me.
But as soon as someone plays that piece on a real instrument? All bets might be off. You know as well as I do that no one combination of stops sounds the same on any two organs. Where you are in a room makes a huge difference in what you hear. As well as the room itself. And all the other things that make recording an organ difficult.
Following a digital score can be a challenge for sure. If you have the score in MuseScore you can simplify the routing. Maybe too much work.

In reply to by bobjp

These are absolutely the right questions! Yes, every single organ composition sounds different on every organ on which it is played, which is why Baroque composers do not say what stops to use (but Romantic-era, esp French, composers do, and that creates problems). I'm not trying to make scores for other organists (I'm one) that say "this is exactly what it must sound like!", but scores that can be listened to on the site and sound as I want them to sound. Here is a typical organ/MuseScore integration, a particularly good one: https://musescore.com/bsg/lauda-anima . Indeed, finding the right stops to make this sound as I got it is quite an issue. (Here is a detailed description of how I achieved it, for what it's worth: https://musescore.com/groups/3642106/discuss/3680446 ). To see if I have the "right" stops, I must hear it with the MuseScore voices. The Virtual Organ gives me a .wav (which I compress to MP3). I must hear it together with the voices of MuseScore to see how they match, and I want to see every measure as I hear it, just as I do when there is no organ involved.

Does this help?

In reply to by BSG

Perhaps you don't know (as you say you dont know musescore.com) that that site allows you to connect a YouTube to a score, and it will scroll the score as the YouTube, presumably generated from that score with non-MuseScore means, plays, exactly as I would like to do "in the lab" before releasing it to the public. This is called an "alternate audio source" on the site; I'd like exactly the same for the app, but with MP3 and not YouTube. Alternate audio sources are exactly how I and others post scores generated by outside-of-MuseScore means, and it is extremely common, not at all exotic.

In reply to by BSG

I owe you (@bobjp) another answer here. When developing such a score, I use regular MuseScore instruments (including the "one sound fits all compositions" "Pipe Organ") until I feel I have a decent composition/arrangement, and only then submit the organ part to the Virtual Organ System and work on registrations.

In reply to by BSG

@BSG,
"I'm not trying to make scores for other organists (I'm one) that say "this is exactly what it must sound like!", but scores that can be listened to on the site and sound as I want them to sound."
I think I understand this. Your goal is close but not exact?
The problem I see is that the neuances of mixture stops can vary from instrument to instrument, room to room , and recording technique to recording technique. And even more so depending on what the file is played back on. I often listen to my recordings on different systems to see if I really want them mixed a particular way. But hen I'm no doubt picking a straws here. I also have no high-end equipment or software to work with.

In reply to by bobjp

This has zero to do with differences between organs and venues, or the details of organ specification and voicing; I am making an artistic work-product, a posted score with a soundtrack that is to be listened to as the score moves, the same as any film director or video producer in any genre making a final product that looks and sounds exactly as he or she wants it to, or a recording artist, say an organist, in this case, who makes a recording, "E. Power Biggs plays Bach Organ Favorites on the Flentrop organ in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard". The recording producer, the organist, and the engineers choose exactly what sounds they want, and that's the recording, and there are no options available after that, other than buying it or not, listening to it or not, or the quality of reproduction equipment you use. While organists can and do learn from it (that 1961 album was my first organ recording, btw), it is not, other than as an example of art, a set of instructions or prescription for playing it.

Bringing this down to earth, when I (or anyone) post a score with non-MS sounds, they, or I, are posting exactly what we want you to hear. If you download the score, you're on your own: you will not get the sounds the uploader produced. That's what "alternative audio sources" is about. When you go to a concert, you do not get a chance to tell the violinst (or lead guitarist) to use an instrument you supply. My need here for MuseScore is to be able to produce the exact performance I want to hear before I upload it so that you can hear it, which I can do already, but not while following the score (as you, or I, will be able to do when I upload it, but I don't wan't to upload anything until I deem it (sufficiently) perfect).

Hope this helps.
Bernie

In reply to by BSG

Or maybe the thing you are unclear about is why I would want to use Hauptwerk at all, and not simply use the MuseScore "Pipe Organ". This is a very large and complex subject, and is addressed in several posts of mine on the forum https://musescore.com/groups/3642106 . For a start, any real (or Virtual) organ can produce hundreds or thousands of different kinds of sounds; the "MuseScore Pipe Organ" can only produce one. Or maybe you're asking, "Why do you want to post sounds that the person who downloads the score can't reproduce?" (which is the same question as "why does the Musescore.com YouTube-backing feature exist?") Because I consider myself an artist and composer (of whatever calibre!) producing works for people to listen to, while watching the score (exactly what the site does now), enjoy and maybe learn from, not a wholesaler in the "supply chain" of the "sheet music store"; I want it to sound as good as it can; the native MuseScore sounds are inadequate. If you like my organ compositions (or any of my compositions), you might print them out and try to play them on your own instrument, or your house of worship's instrument, if you can. It is not at all uncommon that small church instruments are not able to be used for playing the larger, later works of the literature, or even the chorale-preludes of Bach. I have played church instruments so wretched (e.g., missing many notes) that I was unable to play any literature at all!

In reply to by BSG

If it's not clear, no two pipe organs have the same stops, or the same exact sound, not to mention traditions, national schools, era, history of the instrument, etc. It is not uncommon for recording artist organists to fly across oceans and travel thousands of miles to record a particular composition or set of compositions (often from the same place and era) upon a particular instrument best suited to it. A huge benefit of Virtual Pipe Organ technology is that an increasing number of these world-classic instruments can now (not for free) be teleported into your own recording capabilities, to the degree that any recording can approach the sound of a live venue. Being an organist involves only selecting instruments and repertoires that are compatible and historically linked, but understanding the traditions of registration (choice of stops) well enough to do so for any piece suitable for a given instrument.

In reply to by BSG

Yes, I understand that you want the .com site to be able to play your score with a track of your choice. Not the track that your version of MuseScore would produce. Yes, I understand that Muse score fonts are inadequate. BTW, I used to have that Biggs recording.
To me, this seems more like a .com issue that a MuseScore notation issue. Though I have no idea if it is possible . The whole point of notation software playbackis to play the notes you have entered with the instruments you have selected, and with the sound font being used.
In the meantime, I notice that on my computer that I can play both an mp3 and the sound from within MuseScore at the same time. Something that I didn't think possible. With a little practice, I would be able to play your mp3 and have MuseScore follow along, after turning down the volume in MuseScore. Something made easier if there were a metronome countdown in the mp3. A screen record of this would put it all together. This is not the way the .com site works, I know. Nor is this the way you want to do this.

In reply to by bobjp

No, that is completely incorrect. The .com site already plays my scores with a track of my choice. I merely want the notation software to offer exactly the same thing, with a local sound file, not a YouTube. But it is so that I could learn to almost simultaneously start an Audacity playback and a Musescore playback with the sound turned off and that might be good enough, though (but it is a kludge and inaccurate). Yup, a metronome countdown would make this easier.

In reply to by BSG

Ah well, I don't use the .com site. Thanks for setting me straight. I have no idea if your Mac will work the same way Windows does. I have other software that takes complete control of the sound card and won't allow a media player to work at the same time.

In reply to by bobjp

For what it's worth, yes, the Mac can play Audacity and MuseScore at the same time (just checked). Hauptwerk takes complete soundcard control, though, but that's not at issue here. I guess "I dont use the .com site" means you didn't check out the URL's of completed productions I gave above? You really should-- all you have to do is click on them and click "play".

In reply to by BSG

What you miss in the "play it manually" way is the fact that MuseScore could be able to start the mp3 at the time "t" if you start the playback in MuseScore at time "t" as well. Especially if you have a long score and your goal is to adjust the score according to what you hear. (otherwise you would become crazy by always having to restart from beginning of score).

In reply to by BSG

Musescore will, when asked, produce an XML table correlating measure positions with real time (that's how the .com site works), and with that in a third app and a Monty Python-like love of silliness, you could position Audacity to where you are in MS....Ah - there is an easier way- if you expose the play panel (F11) and play a note, you can get an exact reading in seconds of where you are, and can position Audacity (or other player) to there.

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