Implement byzantine notation in musescore

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Implement byzantine notation in musescore

sraduvictor
Hi,
  My name is Radu-Victor Sarmasag and I'm a software engineer at Facebook.
I've recently started using your software to write our church music. While doing this,
I've become interested in also finding a software that I can use to write our chants
written in byzantine notation (http://stanthonysmonastery.org/music/Intro.htm), but could not find any.

So I'm wondering, how much work would it be to introduce byzantine notations to musescore and have them also work on playback (note byzantine chants also have different scales that have no equivalent to the regular ones), and if I were interested in doing this, could someone guide me?

Thanks,
Radu
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Re: Implement byzantine notation in musescore

lasconic
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Hi Radu,

I quickly read through the intro you linked to, in particular http://stanthonysmonastery.org/music/NotationB.htm
As far as I understand Common Western Notation (CWN) and Byzantine notation are very different. So I'm not sure how much MuseScore would bring to the table for a byzantine notation editor.

Conceptually, 
* MuseScore is built around measures, and byzantine music doesn't have this concept.
* Byzantine music uses a completely different set of symbols and MuseScore doesn't support any of them.
* MuseScore is mainly using absolute pitches, even if they are some possibilities of movable do through plugins, they are mainly hacks. Byzantine music uses relative pitches.

And so on and so forth. In fact MuseScore is built for CWN, the further a new system is from CWN, the harder it will be to implement. Tablature notation was close enough and after much effort we now support guitar/bass/ukulele tablatures, even lute tablature. But several individuals wanted to implement the Chinese Jianpu https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numbered_musical_notation, which seems closer than Byzantine notation, without success so far.

You also mention playback. Even if CWN is quite rigid, MuseScore doesn't play all the symbols. Byzantine notation seems to be a lot less deterministic ("Byzantine notation is descriptive, it grants an experienced chanter the freedom to add to a melody the embellishments he has learned through oral tradition."), so playback would definitively be even less satisfying than CWN/MuseScore.

So if you really want to follow this road, you can find me on IRC #musescore on freenode.net and I can try to guide you. But I'm afraid that implementing Byzantine notation in MuseScore might be more complex than implementing it from scratch.

Regards,
lasconic

2016-02-19 4:42 GMT+04:00 sraduvictor <[hidden email]>:
Hi,
  My name is Radu-Victor Sarmasag and I'm a software engineer at Facebook.
I've recently started using your software to write our church music. While
doing this,
I've become interested in also finding a software that I can use to write
our chants
written in byzantine notation
(http://stanthonysmonastery.org/music/Intro.htm), but could not find any.

So I'm wondering, how much work would it be to introduce byzantine notations
to musescore and have them also work on playback (note byzantine chants also
have different scales that have no equivalent to the regular ones), and if I
were interested in doing this, could someone guide me?

Thanks,
Radu



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Re: Implement byzantine notation in musescore

sraduvictor
Hi lasconic,
  Byzantine music is more freeform than linear notation, but there are certain
rules which can be used to convert it to linear notation. If you check the site
I mentioned you'll see that they have converted a great deal of chants : http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/music/Vespers1.htm

  The biggest issue with this is that the pitches do not match precisely the ones
from regular scales. I saw there were some autotune plugins that can alter pitches.
Do these change playback, and can they change the pitch to whatever value, or can it
only change it to another existing note?

Thanks,
Radu
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Re: Implement byzantine notation in musescore

lasconic
Administrator
These are the hacks I was talking about ;) MuseScore knows nothing about other temperaments, most accidentals (except the CWN ones) are just graphical but you can artificially change the tuning of any note. Select the note, open the inspector (View > Inspector) and change the "Tuning" property.
The tuning property is in cents (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cent_(music)) and you can change from -200 to 200. This tuning property is accessible via plugins indeed.

lasconic

2016-02-19 17:27 GMT+04:00 sraduvictor <[hidden email]>:
Hi lasconic,
  Byzantine music is more freeform than linear notation, but there are
certain
rules which can be used to convert it to linear notation. If you check the
site
I mentioned you'll see that they have converted a great deal of chants :
http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org/music/Vespers1.htm

  The biggest issue with this is that the pitches do not match precisely the
ones
from regular scales. I saw there were some autotune plugins that can alter
pitches.
Do these change playback, and can they change the pitch to whatever value,
or can it
only change it to another existing note?

Thanks,
Radu



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Re: Implement byzantine notation in musescore

sraduvictor
I guess, I'd like to start by adding the temperaments for byzantine notation, and after this look into how to write it.
Can you give me some pointers on how to add them and make them work on playback?
btw I also pinged you on irc.

Thanks,
Radu
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Re: Implement byzantine notation in musescore

lasconic
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About IRC, I guess we are in different time zones. Here is a list of frequent IRC nicknames and their timezone http://lasconic.github.io/musescore-timezone/

About adding temperaments, it's rather vast topic. As I said, MuseScore doesn't have any support for temperament. What the former scale plugin was doing is merely to go through the score, check the actual degree of a note and then tune it according to a temperament map. There is a standard for temperament maps btw, called Scala http://huygens-fokker.org/scala/scl_format.html. There are many SCL files online and it's very likely SCL files for byzantine modes are available. 

So a first step could be to make a Edit > Tools entry to be able to load a SCL file and tune the current loaded score by adjusting the tuning variable. That should be pretty easy, in particular with the existing plugin for MuseScore 1.3 https://musescore.org/en/project/scales which provide the same feature. Unfortunately, this is limited, since if one moves a note or transpose the score, the tuning will not be adjusted...

One more step would be to associate a scala file with a key signature, or with a style, and so to make tuning dynamic.

In any case, you will need a good understanding of MuseScore data structure. This should help https://musescore.org/en/developers-handbook/references/musescore-internal-score-representation

lasconic

2016-02-19 18:42 GMT+04:00 sraduvictor <[hidden email]>:
I guess, I'd like to start by adding the temperaments for byzantine notation,
and after this look into how to write it.
Can you give me some pointers on how to add them and make them work on
playback?
btw I also pinged you on irc.

Thanks,
Radu



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Re: Implement byzantine notation in musescore

sraduvictor
After chatting with you on IRC I made a pull request : https://github.com/musescore/MuseScore/pull/2404
If you or anyone else from the community could give me a review, it would be great.

Thanks,
Radu
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