MakeMusic
SmartMusic Finale Garritan MusicXML

Looks vs. Sounds

Let us look again at the example we used in the previous section – the first four bars of “Après un rêve” by Gabriel Fauré:

First four bars of Après un rêve by Fauré

Clearly our discussion of the MIDI-compatible portion of MusicXML left out many things represented in this music. Where are the tempo and dynamic markings: the Andantino, pp, dolce, crescendo and diminuendo wedges? Where are stem directions stored? The downstem on the initial G in the voice part is not what many programs would default to. How is the beaming represented, so that all the eighth notes are beamed together in the piano part, but separated into triplets in the voice part? How are the piano chords split between staves? How are accidentals indicated, including courtesy accidentals like the A-flat in the fourth bar?

A fundamental part of MusicXML is the distinction between elements that primarily represent the sound of the music versus those that represent its appearance. We discussed the sound elements in the previous section, and they are of great use to applications dealing with MIDI or other sound files. Now we discuss the elements for musical appearance, which are of great use to music notation applications.

Here is what the beginning of the voice part looks like for “Après un rêve,” up to the end of the first measure:

  <part id="P1">
    <measure number="1">
      <attributes>
        <divisions>24</divisions>
        <key>
          <fifths>-3</fifths>
          <mode>minor</mode>
        </key>
        <time>
          <beats>3</beats>
          <beat-type>4</beat-type>
        </time>
        <clef>
          <sign>G</sign>
          <line>2</line>
        </clef>
      </attributes>
      <direction directive="yes" placement="above">
        <direction-type>
          <words default-y="15" font-weight="bold">Andantino</words>
        </direction-type>
        <sound tempo="60"/>
      </direction>
      <note>
        <rest/>
        <duration>72</duration>
        <voice>1</voice>
      </note>
    </measure>

clear

And here is what the beginning of the piano part looks like for “Après un rêve,” up to the first chord in the piano part. We will discuss the appearance elements used in these two examples in the rest of this section.

  <part id="P2">
    <measure number="1">
      <attributes>
        <divisions>2</divisions>
        <key>
          <fifths>-3</fifths>
          <mode>minor</mode>
        </key>
        <time>
          <beats>3</beats>
          <beat-type>4</beat-type>
        </time>
        <staves>2</staves>
        <clef number="1">
          <sign>G</sign>
          <line>2</line>
        </clef>
        <clef number="2">
          <sign>F</sign>
          <line>4</line>
        </clef>
      </attributes>
      <direction placement="below">
        <direction-type>
          <dynamics default-x="129" default-y="-75">
            <pp/>
          </dynamics>
        </direction-type>
        <staff>1</staff>
        <sound dynamics="40"/>
      </direction>
      <note>
        <pitch>
          <step>C</step>
          <octave>4</octave>
        </pitch>
        <duration>1</duration>
        <voice>1</voice>
        <type>eighth</type>
        <stem default-y="3">up</stem>
        <staff>1</staff>
        <beam number="1">begin</beam>
      </note>
      <note>
        <chord/>
        <pitch>
          <step>E</step>
          <alter>-1</alter>
          <octave>4</octave>
        </pitch>
        <duration>1</duration>
        <voice>1</voice>
        <type>eighth</type>
        <stem>up</stem>
        <staff>1</staff>
      </note>
      <note>
        <chord/>
        <pitch>
          <step>G</step>
          <octave>4</octave>
        </pitch>
        <duration>1</duration>
        <voice>1</voice>
        <type>eighth</type>
        <stem>up</stem>
        <staff>1</staff>
      </note>

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