An alternative to Band In A Box

• Dec 6, 2009 - 19:18

I use "Band In A Box" on a regular basis for practicing and working out improvisation arrangements. But I use MuseScore for notational editing and generation of MusicXML files for sharing and publication.

I am interested to know if anyone know of any software which is a replacement for or competitor to "Band In A Box"? In particular, it would be really great to find an alternative which can import MusicXML files so that I can take advantage of my growing library of MuseScore and MusicXML files.


Lowell, MA, US


In reply to by Thomas

Unfortunatly Impro-visor does not import MusicXML (yet). It does export it (I'm the one to blame for this export feature)
Importing should be possible for simple "leadsheets", but it has to be coded.

In reply to by frfancha

I've installed Impro-Visor, but I don't have much experiences with that application.

A long time ago (isn't it the beginning of some fairy tales ;), ...

...I tested short the application "Ludwig". It isn't open source, but in my memories there seems to be available a free version with limited rhythm styles. Not sure, if it's an equivalent to Band-in-a-Box and about the quality of the results. For me it was fascinating at the time, that the application is using similar structures like a chess engine:

In reply to by Guillaume Hue

Why wouldn't it? It should. I just couldn't test it since I don't own one.

Please test and let me know... Actually any OS where you can install Python should be OK, so I see no problem for you.

What part of my description made you think it wouldn't work? So I can rephrase it.

Have a nice day.

In reply to by berteh


I have just attempted the install using your GitHub install instructions.

However, when I attempt to use the plugin in MuseScore 3, I get the following error:

MMA accompaniment is ready for you, but we could not generate the MIDI file from it.
Please fix the following error:

The generated MMA file is nevertheless available at "C:/Users/Alvin/AppData/Local/Temp/Snare 16th Warm-up &"

This is also reported on your GitHub "Issues" page.

How can I correct this problem?

Thank you so much!

In reply to by bluegrassbandit

I just tried this and am having the same problem but on a Mac instead.

"MMA accompaniment is ready for you, but we could not generate the MIDI file from it.
Please fix the following error:

The generated MMA file is nevertheless available at "/var/folders/wm/sk2hdgs522xb4yd9q_rn8kzr0000gn/T/"

Any help is greatly appreciated.

  • Mike.

In reply to by wmkennerley

I've just started using BandInMuseScore, and was able to get it installed on Windows and working in MS. I ran into an issue that I use a variety of chord symbols such as Ct, F-, E07, etc, that MMA doesn't seem to recognize. I got around this by inserting the following code into the plugin, which seemed to work ok for the charts I've done so far.

        console.log('buffering Harmony '+elt.text+" at " + currentTick);
        // fix non-MMA chord symbols
        var symbol = elt.text;
        symbol = symbol.replace('-', 'm');
        symbol = symbol.replace('t7', 'M7');
        symbol = symbol.replace('t', 'M7');
        symbol = symbol.replace('07', 'm7b5');
        symbol = symbol.replace('o', 'dim');
        symbol = symbol.replace('(', '');
        symbol = symbol.replace(')', '');
        measureChords.push({ txt : symbol, tick: currentTick })

I'm curious if there's an expectation that the generated harmony would be merged back into the original MS file, so that the melody and harmony would play at the same time. Maybe I'm missing something, it seems like this would be useful.

Better late than never...

JJazzLab is a new free alternative to Band In a Box. MusicXML import is planned for the next release (in the coming weeks).

In reply to by jjazzboss

Very cool, looking forward to checking this out! I see from the site it's "built on an open source base", I gather maybe that means, the libraries handling the generation of the accompaniment themselves are open source, but perhaps the UI is not? As one of the MuseScore developers and a jazz musician myself, I am very interested in hearing more about this, and maybe seeing about ways of integrating. FWIW, I currently have an intern (!) working on an integration with iReal Pro, but if you plan to have MusicXML import working soon, that could be a great option for MuseScore users too!

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Sorry for my late reply Marc, I discover your answer only now, I did not get notified by email of your comment...

Regarding open-source it's actually the opposite, the infrastructure (JJazzLab-X) is fully open-sourced (which is 95% of the JJazzLab application) except the Yamaha-style-based music generation engine itself. The idea is to host additional music generation engines (see below).

> As one of the MuseScore developers and a jazz musician myself, I am very interested in
> hearing more about this, and maybe seeing about ways of integrating.
Well we already have these points in common ! :-) Let's talk about this, on this forum or by email or whatever...

By the way MusicXML import is implemented now in the last version released yesterday -though not heavily tested.


In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Yes, I updated my setting and was notified.

Actually I'm testing now the MusicXML import feature on the 6000 files of the wikifonia archive copy I found here. Almost all of the files pass, I just need to work a little bit more on improving robustness.

Could you share more info about the integration with iReal ?

In reply to by jeromelelasse

That ended up fizzling as school went online and the internship program went on hold. The project isn't necessarily dead, but not being worked on actively at the moment.

Other things have changed since March, though, the biggest being the announcement of plans for MuseScore 4 and some new integration possibilities. So do check out if you haven't already and see if it sparks any thoughts!

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you for the link.

A few thoughts:
- Musescore and JJazzLab don't have the same objectives: first is mainly for notation/composition, second is mainly for practicing its instrument. But they might be bridges...
- Is there a kind of "real book" mode in MuseScore ? I mean simple score with chord symbols and a single melody line.
- I assume Musescore main use cases are composing and transcribing. If users compose in this "real book" mode, JJazzLab could help them have a "preview" of the rendering for a given style. Today it's possible via an export/import in MusicXML. We could imagine a tighter integration, but I'm not sure this is a realistic use case. I mean I imagine that if I use Musescore, a notation software, it's because I want to control the full score/each instrument...
- In your link there is a prototyping image which show the possibility to have non free plugins. How do you plan to manage this with the current Musescore GPL license ?

In reply to by jeromelelasse

MuseScore doesn't have or need a special "mode" to create lead sheets. You can create them as ordinary scores that just happen to have only one staff (maybe splitting into two occasionally to notate a bass line or lother accompaniment or harmony part) and happen to contain chord symbols. Generally, the most RB-like results would be obtained by starting from the Jazz Lead Sheet template, since this sets up a number of appropriate style settings - to use a handwritten-type font, to make certain lines thicker, add "wings" to repeats, etc. But these are all things you can do on any score without needing to have used the template.

There are many, many, many use cases for MuseScore. Composing for sure, also arranging, and also transcribing. Also creating educational materials, also simply recopying existing music.

If the link you mean is the preview of what MuseScore 4 might look like at some point months down the road, the answer to any question about details is pretty much, we don't know yet, we're still busy inventing it :-). But I would note absolutely nothing about being open source prevents one from charging for something. And plugins are by definition not part of the source.

I Think I May Have Been In The Wrong Group

Have been Experimenting With MMA
Plectrum.. Tuning... Finger Picking... Strum...
and so on with my compositions
That I Send To Musecore To Access The Soundfont AND
To Make Alterations To The Composition That I Then Make Changes In To
And I Think Its Great

I really Appreciate Both The Work Done By Musescore Team AND What The People From MMA Have Done... Its Quite Remarkable.. Thank You.

In reply to by Robl715

MMA Used in Conjunction With Musecore Is Very Good...
And I'm Really Looking To Find A Group That Explores It With Musescore..

AS An Example : I Composed This Using MMA With A Mix Of
* Plectrum finger pick
, Strum Center ... End... Start
* Solo
* Arpeggiate
* Riffs

Feedback Appreciated Would Be From Those That Use MMA As Source Of Contacts On Things Like
* Setting PAN
* Setting Musescore Instrument Number
* Setting TITLE

In reply to by Robl715

Hi @Robl715,

Thanks for the feedback, sorry for not spotting it earlier.

Did you create your MMA file manually, or use the BandInMuseScore plugin as source ?

I'm the developer of that plugin and would welcome any suggestion you may have to make a better integration between MS and MMA, either to make the current features more user friendly (, or to improve the integration MS > MMA > MS (

Would you mind sharing your source MMA for your TestArpeggiatePLUS ? I have no experience with the plectrum and welcome any good idea.

Have a nice day,

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