After MusicXML Import: Clefs and Time signatures Repeated Every Bar


After importing a MusicXML file to Dorico, Clef and Time Signature is repeated at every bar. Finale imported the file without any such repetitions. Is there a way to avoid it in Dorico?

Any hints or insights on this issue would be most welcome.

All the best,

Welcome to the forum, António. For now I suggest you do Select All, then Edit > Filter > Clefs and hit Delete, and likewise do Select All, Edit > Filter > Time Signatures, then Ctrl+click the first time signature to exclude it from the selection, then hit Delete.

Which application are you using to generate your MusicXML files?

You might also want to go to edit > reset appearance and position in case anything else wonky is going on.

Hello Daniel,

First of all, congratulations to you and your team for Dorico.

Thank you for the tip. The file is from OpenMusic 6.15.

All the best,

Thanks, António. I believe the MusicXML files exported by OpenMusic do indeed include explicit restatements of the clef and time signature in the attributes element for every measure element. Dorico imports the MusicXML file literally, since it has to take what the file says at face value. I’ve had some success making recommendations to the developers of OpenMusic about some aspects of its MusicXML export, so you might try mentioning this to them.

Hi again Daniel,

You’re right about OpenMusic’s MusicXML export, the XML file does indeed restate clef, mode, key, beats and beat-type in every measure. However, Finale cuts through the redundancy, it would be cool if Dorico did that too. This said, your tip from before does make it workable for me and eases my workflow significantly.

I’ll give it a shot at the OpenMusic forum. We’ll see.

Thank you.

All the best,

The guy who started MusicXML is employed by MakeMusic, so it’s not surprising Finale can put the resources into fixing up all the problems caused by every other app generating poor (or even incorrect) MusicXML.

IMO the basic cause of the problem was the historically the MusicXML spec wasn’t very clearly defined, so every software developer interpreted it in different ways and then ended up working round everybody else’s interpretations when importing files. That’s not how “standards” are supposed to work!

If you have Finale, you could try importing and exporting the XML. That might clean up the clefs and time signatures.

If you have a score with lots of time signature and clef changes you might want to display a “cautionary” time signature or clef somewhere. Since MusicXML defines a graphical representation of the score, not its semantics, if it says “draw a clef here” then the program that imports the file should do what it says IMO. If the program that exported the file didn’t want a clef, it shouldn’t have written the instruction to draw one.

Sure Rob, I agree that OpenMusic’s MusicXML encoding is clumsy to put it mildly, no doubt about that. Still, breaking up redundancy isn’t all that complicated, there’s no need for high-level formal semantics parsing for that, it’s purely syntactical. However, your point about cautionary clefs, time signatures, etc., is well taken.