Introducing OpenScore

OpenScore banner.png

It’s an exciting time for MuseScore at the moment, with massive changes underway both in the code and on the website, helping to ensure that musicians have the tools they need to create and share amazing content! However, there is one more thing that every budding composer needs: inspiration!

It is my great privilege to announce OpenScore, the successor project to Open Goldberg and Open Well Tempered Clavier. The goal with those projects was to liberate specific works by Bach. The goal with OpenScore is much more ambitious; we want to liberate all public domain music!

The aim is to digitise and liberate the works of Mozart, Beethoven and other famous classical composers by making their scores freely available in MuseScore’s MSCZ format. This enables convenient sharing, adaptation and playback across a range of devices, including computers, phones and tablets. The scores will also be available in various other formats, including PDF, MIDI and MusicXML, as well as accessible formats like Braille and Modified Stave Notation for blind and partially sighted musicians.

Best of all, the scores will be released under a Creative Commons license, meaning there are no copyright restrictions, so everyone will be free to use them for any purpose! This will be of huge benefit to orchestras, choirs and individuals looking for materials from which to practise music. It will also facilitate a number of uses in research, academia, and education, and help to inspire composers and arrangers in producing new content.

To make it happen, MuseScore is joining forces with IMSLP and a number of partners across the music and tech industries. However, for OpenScore to be a success we also need the help of the community. MuseScore and IMSLP represent the two largest online communities actively creating and sharing sheet music. We want to harness this potential to create the largest, and most accurate, digital collection of public domain scores available anywhere. We need your help to make this happen.

In the coming months we will be running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to fund the liberation effort. We will be very grateful if those of you who are able to could donate to the crowdfunding campaign, and help spread the word among friends and family, and via social media, etc. Once the campaign is live, it’s very important that we get the word out as quickly as possible to build momentum. (The campaign isn’t live at the moment, so don’t start sharing just yet!)

There are other ways you can get involved too, such as by helping to produce the transcriptions of public domain works in MuseScore format. There will even be rewards available, in the form of PRO accounts on MuseScore.com, for users who complete transcriptions that make it into the OpenScore collection. If you’ve always fancied having a PRO account, but didn’t have the money to buy one, then now you will have the chance to earn one!

Finally, we’re looking for talented people within the community to come forward to help us ensure that OpenScore has the greatest possible impact. If you have some experience with online marketing, communication or graphic design and are willing to help out then please get in touch via my contact form.

P.S. Look out for us at FOSDEM 2017 where we will be announcing OpenScore to the world!

Previous Section Next
GSoC 2016 - Project Demo Videos - Semi-Realtime MIDI shoogle's blog OpenScore: Join the transcription effort!

Comments

I'm very happy to know this good news about launching open score project. I myself is a blind musician, and need lots of classical music to read in braille. I'm also launching an Open Braille Music project, and it does with both public domain and non-pd works, because they are in BRAILLE. I'm very interested in the musescore project, because I always spend lots of money to engage Sibelius engraving for my project. I transcribe braille music in a very fast speed, perhaps 3-4 days for a 100-page orchestral work. If your project can have many works engraved, e.g., symphonies by Beethoven, Schumann, Mahler, Rachmaninoff etc, and other piano and chamber music too, I will be very happy to read them. If you need me to make braille transcription, I'll be very happy to attend this project. I can use transcription tool like Braillemuse very skillful than any sighted people.
Thank you in advance for making such a great project, and sincerely look forward to its launch!

Regards
Haipeng

I'm glad to hear you are interested, and thanks for the offer of help! At the moment we are looking at ways of converting the MuseScore files into Braille rather than having to type them up in Braille separately. We would certainly appreciate it if some Braille readers would check the Braille scores and provide feedback. I'll let you know when we have some sample Braille scores ready.

Dear Shoogle,
How can you convert Musescore files into braille? As I know, the current softwares, Goodfeel, Braillemuse, BME etc, all have lots of limitations, and I'm thinking about a new xml to braille software BrailleOrch. Since I'm not a programmer, I wrote a very comprehensive framework and hosted it on Github last February, waiting for people to help me. If you can manage Musescore to output braille, or produce an alternative way, I'll be very happy to help you instead of making another software which will not know when to come out. I ever read the braille file of the Open Goldberg, and found there are lots of things missing, mainly ornaments. The braille score must contain detailed music information and braief pagination information as much as possible. Anyway, I'll be happy to test any of such accessible fields, including Musescore's navigation.

Regards
Haipeng

Hi hhpmusic, thank you for stepping up and offering your help and expertise. We will definitely need this. We are strongly considering to use the open source MusicXML to Braille translator available in the Music21 toolkit. We have set it as a requirement to use open source software for this task, so that rules out any of the proprietary solutions, which may be excellent but do not benefit the goal of this project.

Music21 is software writting in Python and available on Github at https://github.com/cuthbertLab/music21 The Braille translator in particular can be found in music21/braille. To discuss about Music21, please join this Google Group and feel free to refer to this post.

Dear Thomas,
Thank you for your comments. In fact:
1. I know Music21, but the braille side is quite limited. First, its functionality is basic; and second, it's not a GUI program, and I'm not a pythonist. This is also not a flexible software, providing the things like unicode braille to readable ASCII conversion, and no braille formatting options are provided in my opinion. Different country has its unique braille format, at least the one used in France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland is different from the other used in UK, US, Japan, Korea and China. Piano score is not the same format as chamber and orchestral scores. So there must be a very comprehensive option page, which must be done in GUI instead of command line which will block common users away.
2. My own project is completely open source, but I'm not a programmer, so I asked an American to host it on Github. He's a braille transcriber and Pythonist, but not so advanced for such a complicated tool, at least it's not feasible for just one people to do it. If there are anyone interested in it, and can write it using any kind of language, not limited to Python, I'll be very happy to work with him. The project address is at:
https://github.com/barichd/brailleorch
And you can find the comprehensive Borframework text there.

Regards
Haipeng

AttachmentSize
borframework.txt 58.93 KB

Hi Haipeng, thank you for putting our attention to your project. We'll check it out.

While music21 might be limited in the Braille support right now, it does have the advantage of being an actively developed project with an increasing user base. So improvements are definitely possible. And once the support is there, tools can be written with music21 to provide GUI or other user interfaces to allow the ordinary non-programming user to take advantage of

So anyhow, I would not rule out music21. I suspect it probably will turn out to be the best solution long term. But I'm certainly interested in continuing to learn here.

So there are two probable ways:
1. Develop a tool working with Musescore and output braille from it; or make Music21 more sophisticated.
2. to help me on my BrailleOrch project. Recently, a professor of a province in China contacted me, trying to clarify what I am doing. He's also developing a tool like BrailleMuse, and I'd like to make an independent tool offline instead of online. His work is under the sponsorship of Chinese association for the blind, and he will meet me this February when he returns to China. We'll talking about our next steps, and I hope we can get the support from government. Therefore we can develop BrailleOrch without any problem. It will remain free, because I said any previous commercial softwares are dead or stopping due to the contrast of low-amount of customer and high development cost. If our software can come out, we can not only work with musescore, but also standard music publishers who use Sibelius and Finale. Then we can produce any kinds of braille music scores as long as there are source files for the music. I designed a perfect copyright protecting strategy, so music by living composers can also be transcribed into braille without any problem, and braille music is out of copyright law.

Haipeng

The music21 lead developer assured us that it produces satisfactory output for everything except piano scores (which many converts struggle with due to the complexity of piano music and the lack of a standardised Braille representation). Having said that, he did warn us that music21's Braille output is more verbose than that produced by a human Braillist, because it doesn't yet support all of the special abbreviations and repeat markings used in Braille. Nevertheless, the Braille is semantically correct.

The goal of OpenScore is not to provide perfect Braille, but to provide some form of Braille score where previously nothing was available. Hopefully this will increase interest and demand for Braille music, and drive development of Braille conversion tools.

I'm also a blind musician (lost vision in 2012) but I'm using the ABC-Notation for reading scores. It would be grateful if you could offer them as well. Otherwise I have to convert the MSCZ-Files over MusicXML with EasyABC to ABC manually. Or just add a possibility for users to add ABC-Files to the existing scores as well because after converting MusicXML-Files to ABC you have to edit them with a source code editor (e.g. with Notepad++) too, to make them better readable. By the way I'm going to give a talk about the ABC-Notation on the SightCity-forum 2017 on May 2017 in Frankfurt/Main.

Thanks for your comment. We don't currently have plans to offer ABC files, but this is something we might consider doing if there is sufficient interest and it is feasible. I would be very grateful if you would send me a link to your presentation slides, video, or other materials, so I can learn more about ABC notation and understand the use cases.

Just so you know, the OpenScore scores will be hosted on MuseScore.com, so you will have all the usual options and formats available for downloading, including MusicXML, so you would only need to do one conversion yourself (MusicXML to ABC) rather than two (MSCZ to MusicXML, and then MusicXML to ABC).

In fact, if you can use Lilypond, you can convert musicxml into Lilypond. As I know, EasyABC has limitations on musicxml conversion, so you just use musicxml2ly to get better output. By the way, if we improve the accessibility of Musescore itself, you can use NVDA to read score in it without exporting any formats, unless you can read braille and have a braille device.

This is really interesting! I can't support on monetary means, but I think I might be able to hand out some scores!

As soon as the OpenScore project kicks in, I'm surely going to provide some high quality scores transcriptions regarding piano music. How can I know when, where and how I can begin contributing?

By now, I give you three advices:

  1. the internet community is multilingual, so in some way the title of each score should be available in many languages, or many search engines could possibly ignore OpenScore making it virtually unavailable/unknown in some Countries;

  2. contributors should have an easy and reliable way to see if the score they want to spend their time on is or is not already available in OpenScore archives; such a service should work in spite of the language used to type the title and in spite of minimal differences in spelling;

  3. a service could be provided to inform about the public domain/copyrighted status of a specific author/composition according to the law system of each Country, so that contributors can know in advance if typing a specific composition is or is not worth doing and if by publishing it they risk or don't risk to be sued.

All this may sound pedantic, but I think it is not (particularly #3).

Which Creative Commons licence? They have several unfree ones, and even for the free ones, stating there to be “no copyright restrictions” is plain wrong…

Hi mirabilos, the answer is: cc-by or Creative Commons Attribution. With an attribution to the MuseScore community.

As far as the details of the engraving, what is the goal to shoot for?
Similar to an ur-text? If so, should typos or other mistakes be corrected?
Or, is it user-friendliness, with modern engraving practices?
Or are some other criteria to be used?

Good question.

Saw the project idea today the first time.

I can imagine to support a kickstarter campaign (please offer paypal support). But I can also imagine to contribute the project with some transcriptions. But without having a pro account, which would be a good place to upload them? And where would be an overview (without the search tool of musescore.com) which transcriptions are already available an which one are needed (categories like componists, time era and so on)?

Unfortunately I have'nt time to participate to FOSDEM.

I would like to be a transcriber. Do I just submit? How many of my transcriptions have to make it in order for me to have a pro account? Is it judged by accuracy, does it have to look like the original score should we be in possession of it? Are we allowed to "Modernize" the score looks a little bit?

I would love to contribute! I already have a nice Mozart Symphony 40 full transcription at musescore.com: https://musescore.com/user/126642/sets/1898111 that I'd like to be a part of this project.

How about working with cpdl.org? There is already a lot of (good) stuff there. For me it is more useful than IMSLP

CPDL’s preferred (and self-named) licence is not nice. It’s a bad copyediting from the GNU GPLv2, and it’s not been formally reviewed and accepted by the relevant bodies (OSI, OKFN, Free Cultural Works, etc). Furthermore, the FSF may have a copyright in the text of the GPL itself and does not allow alterations.

So, in short, any new project should avoid that and make a list of acceptable licences comprising of CC-BY-SA (if copyleft is desired), CC-BY and one of the more permissive ones such as MirOS, because CC-BY can also be read as weak copyleft, and the CC licences have long legal texts and difficult implications (even CC themselves say so) often ignored.

Full disclosure: I authored the MirOS Licence… but for this exact purpose: something close to the MIT licence (current gold-standard permissive software licence), with a disclaimer that works slightly better for EU citizens (but not really worse for others), and (important here) targetting any work under copyright protection, not just software, or just music, or just texts, or just whatever. (Back then, nobody considered neighbouring rights; I’d extend explicitly if I’d do it again, but for now, implicit must suffice.)

I am more curious about MuseScore 3, after trying out Dorico for a month.
Having spent hundreds of hours on an edition of Bach transcriptions by Gustav Leonhardt. With MuseScore almost everything is possible but really many things go wrong without manually tweaking! Collisions, slurs, ties, staff spacing, beam angles (!) etc.
So many hours, when a Programme does it al right, the cost is earned back quite soon.
At the other hand, of course when a musician just needs a workable score/part, MuseScore is perfect. Easy to use and you can tweak almost vereything!

yes, Musescore is free but powerful. The only disadvantage is the musicxml output which makes line break frustrating on Windows notepad, and causes problem when translating braille using Braillemuse, generating missing bar numbers (braille needs bar numbers no matter they are available in print). Still, many more special symbols should be added in Musicxml output, especially those in SMUFL font like Bruvra, which are added in the coming Musicxml 3.1. I hope the new Musescore 3.0 can be much more accessible, and the musicxml output can contain symbols as much as in Musicxml DTD or XSD list.

Regards
Haipeng

In the current version of MuseScore, you can turn off the option to include line breaks when exporting to MusicXML in Preferences > Export.

Thank you for the hint. In fact, I mean that the line break is a bit different. It exports an xml file with Unix like line break, not Windows. Therefore, Notepad will not recognize such breaks, and spread all in one line until 1024 bytes, then a wrap to the next long line of 1024 etc. Musicxml from Finale, Sibelius, Encore etc all gives correct line breaks, thus a ctrl-m and a ctrl-j, so-called crlf pair.

Just don't use notepad. Get yourself a decent editor, e.g. notepad++

Thank you. I just tried NPP, and when I press ctrl-end to go to the end of the file, npp hangs up and crashes. This will not cause any problem in common notepad.

You should probably report that to the Notepad++ folks.
And if you can't live without Ctrl+End, try another editor in the meantime

Notepad++ is really "the" standard, crashing it by using ctrl-end is highly unlikely.
Try it again

FWIW, I've noticed this about Notepad as well, but Wordpad works fine.

Peter, will the presentation be recorded?

The talk at fosdem will indeed be recorded.

Excellent!

Wow, this project is great! I think it's a really good idea, and I am interested in helping transcribe music, at which I have fair experience. Does anyone have any (public domain) music that they'd like me to do?

This is great news! I look forward to participating and contributing as I can, and eventually taking advantage of the results!

One other thought I had: it could be worth contacting some living composers (or representatives of recently-deceased ones) about contributing some of their works to this project. I suspect there are some who would be open to this idea if presented right. For instance, if we focus exclusively on PD works, that essentially means, very little 20th century classical music or jazz, no rock, etc. Would be nice if we could include Schoenberg, Ellington, even the Beatles, etc. I have a few tentative contacts in this area I have long had in the back of my mind.

Hi Marc,

Thanks for the suggestion. If you have any luck persuading a contemporary composer to release their work under a Creative Commons license then please let me know!

For example, a lot of Frederic Rzewski's works are released with a CC license and they could be a nice addition to the 20th Century Repertoire!

Complete presentation from FOSDEM yesterday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDw-adxtaqE

Thanks for sharing. Did you discuss on FOSDEM, when it's realistic that the kickerstarter campaign will start and which preparations are necessary before this?

I actually wasn't there in person, but plans are to launch the Kickstarter around April.

Thanks, and still remember, please support above a credit card support other possibilities.

First of all, congratulations on making the move to start such an ambitious project, I am looking forward to contributing as much as possible in the future. Following the question I asked about MEI at FOSDEM, I would like to know if there has been any discussion on somehow including MEI (www.music-encoding.org) in musescore. Apparently it was an issue some time ago in the forums (https://musescore.org/en/node/24208) but I would dare to say that in the light of the OpenScore project further work in that direction might be beneficial for the music encoding community and assist in getting everyone on board.

Hi noctuabundus, thank you for sharing your interest in OpenScore. As you may have read, I've been in personal contact with the MEI community since 2010, meeting them in Detmold (Germany) several years in a row. Only a couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by the MEI community to talk about MEI export in MuseScore. As it goes in open source world, it takes a developer who likes to scratch his own itch to make it happen. Maybe the OpenScore project may cause some itching.

Wouldn’t a generic MusicXML ↔ MEI converter help a lot more people?

Maybe developers from other MusicXML- or MEI-capable music notation software would even jump in and help.

I will gladly contribute to this. I'm already sitting on... 7, I think, Rachmaninov pieces; 5 of them currently never put on the site. Plus the 5 I already have. And the several I have currently in-progress. Plus, with the new Musescore version with proper ossias, I should be able to put some Godowsky up as well.

If I had some sheet music to work from I would really want to help transcribe music. I've always wanted a PRO Account. What would be the best way to find sheets?

This guy had a request: https://musescore.org/en/node/169401 As with the link he posted, in general, http://imslp.org/ is the place to go.

Thanks. I just ended up there. I found a sheet for all of Beethoven's Symphony 9 Op. 125. Would transcribing that be enough to get a pro account, it is 228 pages and 1:05:38

Specific details are still TBA, but I'm virtually certain that would exceed any requirements. However, perhaps not that particular score, since it's already been done: https://musescore.com/user/158781/sets/1821556

What are some of the ones that haven't been done? I'm open to transcribing anything to get a pro account.

I would encourage you to hold your horses, as this isn't going to begin until April, but if you want to get a head start, simply pick something that you can't find on MuseScore.com. Beethoven's symphonies are all covered, but I see very few Haydn symphonies, for example. (Also, those are shorter and more manageable.)

Yes, I visited the set, and found the single movements are all devided into small parts, and so does his transcription of 1812 overture. For the project, I'd like to have a whole movement in one file, which will ease reading and braille transcription. The divided parts will generate uncontinuous measure numbers in braille (braille needs measure numbering in piano and ensemble scores), and it's a frustration to deal with such scores. Can Musescore merge portions of score like Finale and Sibelius?

Haipeng

Yes, it can, provided they all have the same set of instruments: https://musescore.org/en/handbook/album

hhpmusic might wish to be aware of the fact that this adds section breaks, which by default reset measure numbering, but can be made to not do that (right-click, Properties).

If this is an inherent problem with Braille music, the converter should maybe be fixed to just ignore measure numbers and renumber them all by its own.

Syndicate content