why does MIDI export export shorter notes?

• Aug 26, 2020 - 03:58

Exactly this question, it's something I don't understand because the point of midi export is that you can use midi from your score which should be exactly the same and a copy from your score. Musescore ouputs midi in which every note is a little shorter then the actual written note in the score. since musescore is a notation program and midi is also a form of music notation; why does musescore export incorrect midi? I hope in future musescore is able to export quantized/sequencer midi...

Attachment Size
testmusescore.mid 112 bytes
testmusescore.mscz 2.67 KB


In reply to by Philip Bergwerf

Check MuseScore's Piano Roll Editor, there you'd see that slight shortening too.
This BTW depends on which instrument is used

Edit: actually in this case there is no such shortening, not after the MIDI import, not in the mscz either. Where to you see it?
There is if you change instrument to e.g. Flute

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

The musescore piano-roll is different from the exported midi. When I open the attached midi file in an extern editor like MidiEditor or ableton or any other it displays little rests. when opening the midi in musescore it is quantizing the midi so it displays everything well. I found out that the output changes when adding a slur.

I think the aim of the midifile is to emulate a real performance as good as possible but then it's strange the musescore-midi-editor shows everything quantized right?

Edit: The right question is: How is the midi export supposed to behave? What is the goal of midi export?

Attachment Size
Mscore noslur.mid 102 bytes
Mscore slur.mid 102 bytes

In reply to by Philip Bergwerf

Midi export is designated to let an instrument accepting midi input to "play" your score.
But certainly not as a notation or an exact copy of the score itself.
If your goal is to save your scores in a MuseScore independent format to have a secured copy in case MuseScore doesn't exist anymore or you want to use another piece of software in the future, then the choice to do is musicxml, not midi.

"since musescore is a notation program and midi is also a form of music notation"

Just a small clarification: MIDI is not a form of music notation. It is a form of playback information. There are many many notation elements which simply don't exist in MIDI (for example a staccato marking, or the different harmonic spellings of a pitch)

In reply to by jeetee

sheet music is also a form of playback information; for you to read it, so midi is also a form of notation. Notation doesn't have to contain every element to be music notation. I agree that many people do not look to a midi file as notation but it is certainly a form of Notation/can be used to create alternative notation. Didn't say it contains every element. To call something notation it isn't even needed to be legible in a direct way. It can be abstract or absolute. It can contain every element of traditional notation or in the case if midi only pitch, rhythm and velocity which are usable for music science. Midi files are commonly used in programs that try to understand/learn/scan/recognize music.

In reply to by Philip Bergwerf

"MIDI (/ˈmɪdi/; an acronym for Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a technical standard that describes a communications protocol, digital interface, and electrical connectors"

While MIDI can be transcribed into music notation it is in itself not defined as such. Definitions are not a matter of opinion. Assuming MIDI is a music notation format (and not a performance format) however leads to questions about unexpected things from a music notation format point of view, such a s the question from the OP here.

In reply to by jeetee

I am talking about midi files which is different from midi. A midi file describes pitch, rhythm, tempo and velocity and can for example contain the complete moonlight sonata. I grew up in a generation where a many people are reading midi files in stead of sheet music. That is why I call it music notation. I know that the file itself is not human readable but it contains abbstract musical data. Even musescore managed to create a pianoroll for the young people:)

But I got that musescore wants to output a emulation of a real musician in de midi export. Why? It already does this in the playback of the piece.

In reply to by Philip Bergwerf

"It already does this in the playback of the piece."

What is being played back by MuseScore's internal synth is that MIDI. I don't know how much clearer you want this spelled out: MIDI files are playback data of a score, not notation.

That means that if you want integration with other instruments/programs such as DAW this is the exact data you need for correct interpretation of the score, where dynamics and articulations have been processed.
As you might recall, interaction between instruments/programs is one of those things MIDI was conceived for...

[EDIT] And furthermore, as you so often refer to a Piano Roll. Have a look at the Piano Roll Editor in MuseScore and you'll see it shows exactly the same information as in that MIDI export. The exact same lengths. The exact same representation of playback data.

In reply to by Philip Bergwerf

Additionally: Some software (those that view Midi-file as a score) use a certain amount of tolerance for note lengths and note locations to do this properly. (Suitable for beat positions from 20 to 100 milliseconds depending on tempo. Can be used up to 20% of the total length for note length).
The reason some software that processes the Midi-file (to display Midi-file as a score) enforce this type of tolerance is because it reflects performance, not the actual display of the midi file.

In reply to by jeetee

"And furthermore, as you so often refer to a Piano Roll. Have a look at the Piano Roll Editor in MuseScore and you'll see it shows exactly the same information as in that MIDI export. The exact same lengths. The exact same representation of playback data."

Look at this picture, the piano-roll editor shows the exact score. If exported as midi the midi is different from the piano-roll and score. not exactly the same lengths but a little shorter. Doesn't matter the question is indeed answered.

why does MIDI export export shorter notes? Because musescore exports not the score but the playback of the score.

But you were saying that the piano roll of musescore is displaying the playback? thats not what I see...

Attachment Size
pianoroll editor is same as notation.png 396.33 KB

In reply to by Philip Bergwerf

Look at this picture, the piano-roll editor shows the exact score.

Now close the PRE and press the rewind button or simply play back the score.
Re-open the PRE.
It has now been updated with the actual playback information.

That it doesn't show this correctly directly after opening it is a bug.

In reply to by Philip Bergwerf

The point here is that while it does contain musical information, it lacks much of the information that we associate with the term "music notation". For example, a key feature of Western music notation is that C# and Db are different notes, notated differently because they have different implications even if the sounding pitch is the same. MIDI lacks that. Along with tons of other things - like no differentiation between a staccato sixteenth note versus a sixteenth note, no indication of many other details that are fundamental to standard music notation.

So, it is indeed a form of music notation, but it isn't at all equivalent to standard music notation. In this way, it's kind of like calling a recording of human voice a form of language notation. It is in a sense, but it lacks certain basic information like spelling that we traditionally associate with written language.

So, whether to call MIDI a form of music notation or not depends pon the context. If it's the same sort of context in which calling a recording of the human voice constitutes language notation, then great. If it's a sort of context where that distinction matters, then no.

I find it important to make this distinction because many people are simply unaware of how much fundamental information is missing from MIDI files, expecting it to preserve information - akin to spelling - that it simply cannot.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you for pointing that out! I fully agree with this. Many elements are not present in midi that we are used to use in standard music notation. The only instrument which is key-sig-independent is piano, organ, keyboard, etc so for them midi can kind of work as music notation. Due to the popularity of learning music from synthesia like view it should be better if the export can also export a score version of the playback(meaning a quantized midi).

Is it possible to make the playback quantized to the written notes? I noticed that slurs do this but any other hacks to get this done are welcome:)

Midi is really flexible. I've seen midi files who contain key signature, time signature and even slur beginning and ending messages but they where called 'sequencer specific messages' so they only work in one program :). But I get the point.

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